A’s day off report: Preview of the A’s series with the New York Yankees in NYC

May 25, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

New York- The A’s are in New York City beginning a 7-game road trip with the Yankees this weekend. They finish the trip with four in Cleveland starting Monday, Memorial Day.

The A’s have had their ups and downs so far this season. Overall, the A’s are 21-25 and are in fourth place in the AL West. They were 4-2 against The Red Sox and Miami Marlins in Oakland, but they do not play well on the road. The Yankees surprised all of baseball as they are in first place in the AL East with a record of 27-17. The Yankees began their climb back to the top late last season after they told Alex Rodriguez to retire and knew that Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran would not be back. Catcher Gary Sanchez hit 20 homers to get the Yanks back on track. This year, the Yankees started Aaron Judge in right field. Judge, who is six foot 7 inches tall has been the team leader in home runs and has been great defensively. The Yankees have a solid lineup with veterans Brett Gardner in left and Jacoby Ellsbury in center. Ellsbury was playing well, but he suffered a concussion when he made a catch in centerfield but collided with the wall. Ellsbury is on the 7-day Concussion DL and will not play this weekend. The Yanks left side of the infield is manned by Chase Headley at third and Didi Gregorios at short. Starlin Castro, the former Cub, is at second and former Athletic Chris Carter will be at first base. Slugger Matt Holliday is the designated hitter. The Yanks have a lot of speed on the basepaths as well as a lot of power in the lineup. The Big question is pitching, both starters and relievers. The starters include Masahiro Tanaka, who is not having a good season, C C Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Severino. The bullpen mainstays are Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard, Jonathan Holder, Chasen Shreve, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell, and Aroldis Chapman. Chapman, Greg Bird, and Ellsbury are all not available as they are on the DL. Chapman is also on the 10-day DL

The A’s at times appear to be on their way to getting over the .500 mark.  They have been maddingly inconsistent so far this year. The starting rotation has been a work in progress. Sean Manaea, Sonny Gray, Kendall Graveman, and Jesse Hahn have all been on the disabled list this year. Andre Triggs is the only starter to escape that fate. The bullpen has had its shares of woe, too. John Axford was on the DL earlier in the season, and Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle are currently on the list. The A’s have committed the most errors of any team in baseball. One of the tenets in baseball is to not beat yourself. Errors force pitchers to get extra outs, and the A’s pitchers have suffered the most unearned runs of any team.

The good news is that A’s Ace Sonny Gray appears to be regaining the form that he had in 2015. Gray had a miserable year in 2016 and ended the season on the DL. He suffered a lat injury in spring training and was on the DL until early May. In his last outing, he was brilliant as he went seven innings and allowed just 3 hits and one run. Graveman can be a winner as long as he has his sinker working and having the hitter hit the ball on the ground. Manaea has been up and down. Jesse Hahn pitched Tuesday night and had to leave the game with a strained right triceps. Hahn is 1-4 but seems to be pitching better.

The A’s offense has produced 67 homers in 46 games. They had three Tuesday night. The offense is led by Yonder Alonso, Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis, and Ryon Healy. Alonso was hit by a pitch, and it was feared that he broke his wrist. He had a bone contusion and may be able to play this weekend. The big surprise on offense has been Jed Lowrie, Lowrie had a poor 2016 season as he was hobbled with a foot problem. Lowrie had surgery in the off-season, and he has been producing for Oakland. He had four hits Wednesday including two doubles and two singles. He has six homers and fourteen doubles so far. Trevor Plouffe has started to hit and has some pop in his bat. Ryan Healy, who has played first and third as well as DH, has 7 dingers and is a threat to go deep. Versatile Mark Canha plays several different positions and has regained his power stroke. Chad Pinder who may be the second baseman of the future as Lowrie is a free agent at the end of the year hit a monster home run last week that went an estimated 480 feet. Khris Davis leads the club with 14 homers but is hitting about .235. Davis was hot in April and then went cold for three weeks, but he had four homers last week.

On the negative side, Matt Joyce and Rajai Davis have not been hitting, Joyce is still under the Mendoza line while Rajai is slightly above it. The A’s need more production from these two veterans. Catchers Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley have not hit well. Vogt, a two-time All-Star, is struggling at the plate and Phegley has not played much at all as he was also on the DL.

A’s manager Bob Melvin hopes his team can get some wins against these two teams and keep the team close to the .500 mark. The late Joaquin Andujar had this to say about baseball:”you never know.” That’s why they play the games.

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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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