Oakland A’s off day report: Preview of the rest of the three game series with the Kansas City Royals

April 11, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

AP file photo: Oakland Athletics’ Andrew Triggs works against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of an exhibition baseball game Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

by Jerry Feitelberg

Kansas City- The Oakland A’s have an off-day on Tuesday. The A’s have played eight games so far this season and had a record of four wins and four losses. The A’s won the first game of the three-game series against the Royals behind Jharel Cotton’s seven innings of no runs and giving up just two hits. Santiago Casilla and Sean Doolittle each struck out the side as they helped close out the game for the A’s.

The A’s have the day off, and that means a lot of the players will be heading over to Arthur Bryant’s legendary Kansas City BBQ.  Bryant’s has been around a long time, and with a day off, the players can go over to the restaurant for a great meal. The players have other options. They can go out for a round of golf or go to a movie.   Whatever they do, it will be a nice break from the daily grind even if it comes early in the season.

The A’s will resume play on Wednesday. Andrew Triggs will be on the hill for Oakland. Triggs, who stands six ft 4 inches tall, won his first start of the year against the Los Angels Angels last week in Oakland. He pitched five 2/3rd innings and looked sharp. He currently is the A’s fourth starter in the five-man rotation. The Royals, who won the World Series in 2015, have seen a fairly large turnover in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. Yordano Ventura, who was projected to be the Royals ace, was killed in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic in the off-season. Johnny Cueto left the Royals after 2015 to join the SF Giants. James Shields is now ith the White Sox.  Jason Hammel, who was with the A’s in 2014, came over as a free agent from the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Hammel will pitch for the Royals Wednesday night. The Royals, who were AL champs in 2014 and World Series champs in 2015, had a terrific bullpen made up of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. They were lights out in 2015. Holland, who was injured last year, moved on to the Colorado Rockies. Davis was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Herrera is the new closer for the Royals. Danny Duffy, Jason Vargas, Ian Kennedy, Nathan Karns, and Chris Young make up the new rotation.

2017 may be the last year that the Royal will be able to contend for the playoffs. Several of their big names will be free agents at the end of the year, and since the Royals are a small market team, they may not be able to retain them. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Alcides Escobar could all be wearing different uniforms next year.

The A’s have had some bright spots so far. Khris Davis, who did not hit well last year when he arrived from the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League, is hitting .345 and has four home runs and six RBIs in eight games. Yonder Alonso leads the club in OBP, and  Jed Lowrie and Stephen Vogt are off to good starts, too. Kendall Graveman appears to be the ace of the staff. Graveman has won both of his starts and shut down the hard-hitting Texas Rangers last week. Jharel Cotton had a so-so start against the Rangers but was brilliant yesterday against the Royal. Sean Manaea has started slowly and, hopefully, he will improve. Triggs pitched Wednesday. Raul Alcantara was slated to be the fifth starter in the rotation but was roughed up in Texas. The A’s are planning to move him to long relief and will give Jesse Hahn a chance to start. Hahn was effective in relief. He pitched six innings allowing just two runs and seven hits. Alcantara is out of options, and the A’s will have to make a decision on his status when Sonny Gray returns to the team. The A’s could send Alcantara down, but he could be claimed by another team. However, if he pitches poorly, he would lose value and the A’s could send him to Nashville without losing him. Alcantara could be designated for assignment when Gray returns. They would have ten days to trade him or return him to Nashville if no one claims him.

Gray, according to A’s manager Bob Melvin, will throw two sets of fifteen pitches to two hitters on Thursday in Kansas City. Gray probably will rehab at Nashville and return to the club by the end od April.

Bob Melvin’s bullpen has looked pretty good up to this point in the season. He has the luxury of mixing and matching his closers and setup men. Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla each have a save and a hold. Ryan Madson, who had over 30 saves in  2016, own two holds. John Axford is on the 10-day DL but is expected back shortly. Axford has closed in the past but appears to be the guy that pitches the 7th inning. Ryan Dull, Liam Hendriks, and Frankie Montas round out the bullpen.

One area of concern for the A’s and Melvin has been the lack of hitting from four of the regulars. Marcus Semien, Matt Joyce, Ryon Healy, and Trevor Plouffe are all hitting below the Mendoza line (under .200). Melvin said that he knows the guys will come around and that they will be productive.

Wednesday night in Kansas City will be game two of the three-game series. Andrew Triggs goes for Oakland, and Jason Hammel will toil for the Royals. Game time will be 5:05 pm.

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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