All photos by Charlie O Mallonee Sports Radio Service
by Charlie O. Mallonee
Oakland — The Athletics had lost three straight games going into their contest on Saturday night with the Texas Rangers. More importantly, the A’s were no longer in possession of a Wild Card Playoff slot.
Yes, there is slightly over two months of baseball remaining to play, but with the tight race for the Wild Card spots, no team can afford to fall very far behind. Two of the teams that have a realistic chance to grab a Wild Card slot are in the Western Division – the Angels and the Rangers.
Major start for Homer Bailey
The A’s made the trade with Kansas City for the veteran Bailey hoping that he would be able to shore up their starting pitching woes. While it true that the team added Bailey for very little cost, that did not mean the Athletics had low expectations for what he could bring to the mound.
Bailey was spectacular in his first game for Oakland as he picked up a 10-2 win over the Mariners. His second start was extremely disappointing. On July 22, he made the start against the Astros in Houston. Bailey lasted only two innings while giving up nine earned runs. At that point, the front office was not sure who they had added to their team.
On Saturday night, Bailey was in control on the hill. He worked 6.2-innings allowing three runs (all earned) while striking out seven and walking just one. The three runs he allowed came with two in the seventh inning. As manager Bob Melvin said, Bailey just could not get that one pitch over to get Danny Santana out. Santana hit a two-out two-run double to keep the inning alive.
In his postgame analysis, Melvin said that Bailey on Saturday night was is exactly who they wanted him to be when they traded for him. Bailey threw a total of 105 pitches (71 strikes). He faced 28 Texas batters. Bailey induced six hitters to groundout and four to flyout.
Bailey is now 2-1 as a member of the A’s. His overall record is 9-7 with an ERA of 5.33.
National Enquirer Story of the game
This story actually began back on June 8 in Texas when Rangers starting pitcher Adrian Sampson had a problem with Mark Canha when the A’s outfielder flipped his bat after hitting a home run. Words were exchanged and people were removed from Christmas card lists.
Flash forward to Saturday night, Canha came to the plate to face Sampson for the second time in the game, and you guessed it. The pitcher hit Canha with a pitch. Canha just trotted to first base like the man he is and was ready to play on.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Oakland center fielder Ramon Laureano hit his 21st homer of the season off Sampson. It was a “screamer” that landed halfway up the steps behind the left-field wall. Laureano did take a little time to admire his work and then began his home run trot. Sampson came off the mound and began yelling at Laureano to start running and stop looking. Words were exchanged. Again, names were crossed off the Christmas card list. The benches all stood up but nothing happened.
By the way, the Laureano home run was the fourth round-tripper Sampson had issued in the game.
Now for the rest of the story. In the bottom of the eighth inning, relief pitcher Rafael Montero was on the hill for Texas when Ramon Laureano came to bat for the Athletics with Canha on at first. Montero hit Laureano with a pitch and the benches along with the bullpens cleared.
There was lots of yelling and screaming. Some players were discussing their favorite IPA brands. It was stupid like most baseball bench-clearing situations. The umpires took charge and ejected Montero along with his manager Chris Woodward just as baseball mandates.
This time nothing bad happened, but it is only a matter of time before a situation gets out of hand. Commissioner Rob Manfred has to “suck it up” and take charge before one of these stupid situations becomes tragic.
Focus on the Athletics
- All of the Oakland runs came via the home in this game. All were solo shots except Matt Chapman’s fifth inning 2-run home run off Sampson. Sampson gave up all four home runs.
- Ramon Laureano went 2-for-3 in the game with a home run (21), a double (26) and a hit-by-pitch. He is batting .348 versus Texas.
- Marcus Semien had a 2-for-4 night at the plate that included his 16th home run and he scored two runs. Semien is batting .400 against the Rangers this season.
- Homer Bailey (9-7) was the winner. Liam Hendriks picked up his ninth save of the year.
- The A’s scored five runs on six hits and left just four runners on base.
- Adrian Sampson – who took the loss – allowed a season-high-tying four home runs in 6.0-innings pitched. He did the same thing versus the Red Sox on June 13. Sampson is 3-11 with a 5.77 ERA as a starting pitcher. He is 3-1 with a 3.15 ERA as a reliever.
- Nomar Mazara went 3-for-4 with the bat on Saturday night. He is 7-for-15 in his last four games. Yes, he is starting on Sunday.
- Elvis Andrus snapped an 0-for-11 streak at the plate by having a 2-for-4 game against the A’s on Saturday night.
The fourth and final game of this series is set to begin 1:07 PM on Sunday. The Rangers will send RHP Pedro Payano (1-0, 1.50) to the mound. It will be Payano’s third appearance in his Major League career. This makes Payano a bit of a wild card because the Oakland hitters will have to look at some pitches to figure how to hit off him. The scouting reports and videotape will be in limited supply.
The Athletics will counter with veteran RHP Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.57) who is hoping to take young Mr. Payano to school. Fiers is 7-0 with a 2.26 ERA in his last 14 starts.