OAKLAND — As he was going through warmups in the bullpen, Jesse Hahn knew he wasn’t going to have his best stuff on Thursday.
Instead of figuring it out on the mound, as he’d hoped, the Oakland Athletics starter lost control of a fastball that hit Houston Astros star and leadoff hitter George Springer, forcing him from the game.
Playing the best team in baseball without strong command and then losing the confidence to go inside proved disastarous for Hahn as the A’s went on to lose, 12-9, completing a four-game sweep at the hands of the Astros.
“I really don’t have an answer for it,” the 27-year old said outside of his locker after his worst start of the season. “Didn’t have good stuff, I think it was just one of those starts where no matter what I did, no matter how much I battled, I couldn’t find anything.”
Hahn completed just two innings, getting progressively worse as he went. In the first, he threw 25 pitches: 19 were balls, and the Astros helped him out by flying out on two 3-1 counts and one 3-0.
The game was practically over by the time both teams had returned to the dugout after the top of the second, when Houston piled on eight runs on six hits and an error.
Hahn said it was mostly mental and the drop in his velocity shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
“I don’t want to say ‘dead arm,’ but there wasn’t anything coming out,” manager Bob Melvin said.
“We’ve seen [his velocity] go back and forth, certainly we’re monitoring how he feels and he feels fine.”
Not even a six-run rally in the bottom of the eighth could help the A’s overcome their early deficit as they went on to drop four-straight to a divisional rival immediately after sweeping the New York Yankees out of town.