By Charlie O. Mallonee
SAN FRANCISCO — The Oakland Athletics (54-42) really do not know when to quit. In the major leagues, teams that are trailing as they head into the late innings (the seventh inning and beyond) are pretty much doomed to failure the majority of the time. The goal for every big league team is to score early and often because later is usually too late.
The 2018 A’s are breaking all of those rules. The A’s are tied for second in runs scored in the seventh inning or later (173). They did it again on Saturday night against the San Francisco Giants (50-47).
The A’s were trailing the Giants 3-2 as they came to bat in the top of the seventh inning. Tony Watson was the new pitcher for San Francisco. Josh Phegley led off the inning with a single to right. The pitcher’s spot was due up (National League park), so manager Bob Melvin put in Mark Canha as a pinch hitter. Canha hit a 3-2 pitch halfway up into the bleachers in left field for his 12th home run of the season and his 38th and 39th RBIs of the year.
The A’s took a 4-3 lead and never looked back. Lou Trivino worked 2.0 innings of scoreless relief for his team. All-star Blake Treinen then came on in the bottom of the ninth. Treinen struggled a bit as he walked two Giants, but he worked his way out of trouble to earn his 24th save of the season.
The win went to Yusmeiro Petit (4-2) who was pitcher of record in the top of the seventh inning. The loss goes to Tony Watson who also receives a blown save for his record.
Neither starter had a great night. Brett Anderson worked just 3.1 innings for Oakland giving up three runs (all earned) on eight hits. Jeff Samardzija made the start for the Giants and he lasted just 4.0 innings. He allowed two runs (both earned) off three hits. He walked two and struck out one batter.
Steven Duggar had another good game for the Giants, going 2-for-4 at the plate while scoring two runs and adding an RBI. Buster Posey had a 2-for-4 night hitting as well.
Samardzija Swan Song?
To say that the Giants have been disappointed with the performance of Jeff Samardzija this season — may be one of the great understatements of 2018. His performance on Saturday did nothing to help his standing with the team. His 10th start lasted just 4.0 innings and saw “the Shark” give up two runs (both earned) on three hits. He walked two and struck out just one Oakland batter. The real concern was his velocity or lack of it. Samardzija had trouble breaking into the 90’s with his pitches. The Giants would love to open his spot for a younger pitcher, but they have to figure out what to do with the 33-year old veteran who will make $18-million per season through 2020.
A little bullpen irony
In the seventh inning, the Giants’ lifted reliever Tony Watson and gave the ball to Ray Black with one out and two runners on base. The A’s had Lou Trivino warming up in their bullpen and would ultimately pitch the seventh inning for Oakland. The irony is that Trivino credits Black for his success as a pitcher. The A’s RHP said he was watching Black pitch at Class-A San Jose when he was with the Stockton Ports and he liked the way Black pitched. Trivino incorporated some of Black’s technique into his own style and now both are facing off in the major leagues.
So long Santiago and other transactions
Relief pitcher Santiago Casilla was designated for assignment (DFA) by the A’s. Casilla appeared in 26 games pitching 31.1 innings while posting a 3.16 ERA. He struck out 22 and walked 20 which lead to a WHIP of 1.213. Casilla had a poor outing on Friday night in San Francisco. If no team claims Casilla off waivers, he will have to decide if he will accept an assignment to the minors.
Ryan Dull received an airline ticket back to Nashville. Dull had a rough outing for the A’s on Friday night and has struggled to find any consistency on the mound this season. He had worked 18 innings for Oakland giving up 21 hits (3 HRs) while striking out 17 and walking five. Dull was carrying an ERA of 6.00, which will not keep you in the Major Leagues.
Franklin Barreto continues to rack up the frequent flier miles as he has returned from Nashville. His return is related to the leg contusion suffered by Jed Lowrie on Friday night. Lowrie did not play on Saturday and do not expect to see him on Sunday. Lowrie’s status for the All-Star game has not been addressed.
Good news for the starting pitching rotation
Daniel Mengden has been brought off the disabled list by the A’s. Mengden was put on the 10-day DL due to a foot sprain. The RHP is 6-6 this season in 16 starts with a 4.47 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 55 and walked just 19 batters. Mengden could well see action in the Bay Bridge Series Part 2 in Oakland next weekend.