Preview San Diego Padres-Oakland A’s: A’s at home after ten game road trip

Oakland A’s starter Sean Manaea seen pitching in his last start will start against the San Diego Padres Tue Aug 3, 2021 at Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s (60-47) have an off-day on Monday. The A’s were 4-2 on the last road trip against the San Diego Padres (61-47) and Los Angeles Angels (52-53). The A’s split the series last Tuesday and Wednesday against the Padres in San Diego.

The A’s moved up to Anaheim to play four against the Angels. The A’s won three of the four games. They would have had a sweep if they had given Cole Irvin some run support last Saturday. Irvin pitched a gem but was the losing pitching as the A’s fell to the Angels 1-0.

After the two-game set concluded last Wednesday, both teams were active before the July 30th trade deadline. The Padres were hoping to make a big splash by landing Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals. Most of the pundits had the big righty heading to San Diego.

San Diego’s hopes were dashed when the Los Angeles Dodgers snagged Scherzer and Trea Turner. Turner going to LA was unexpected. The Dodgers made quite a few headlines with the deal. The Padres did make a deal as they traded for Nats’ reliever Daniel Hudson.

The A’s acquired four players as they hope to catch the Houston Astros in the race for the AL West crown. The A’s bolstered their bullpen as they made a deal to acquire lefty Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs. Before the trade, Jake Diekman was the only lefty in the A’s bullpen.

The move helped A’s manager have more flexibility using his relievers. The next big move was the trade to get outfielder Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins. The A’s gave up Jesus Luzardo in the trade. It was sad to see Luzardo go, but the team needed improvement in the outfield.

The A’s finished the wheeling and dealing by making a trade with the Washington National. They sent prospects to the Nats in exchange for catcher Yan Gomes and the versatile Josh Harrison. All three players have contributed since coming to the A’s. Gomes homered in yesterday’s game to help the A’s beat the Angels 8-3.

So, let’s look at what happened last week in the two-game series in San Diego. San Diego beat the A’s and starter James Kaprielian 7-4 last Tuesday night. Kaprielian went four innings and took the loss. The winning pitcher was Chris Paddack. Both pitchers are now on the 10-day IL. Kaprielian has a shoulder impingement.

The A’s brought up Dulton Jefferies to take his spot in the rotation. Jefferies made his second Major League start on Sunday against the Angels and was the winning pitcher. In the 7-4 loss to the Padres Last Tuesday, the Padres’ young superstar, Fernando Tatis, Jr., homered, doubled. Veteran third baseman Manny Machado also hit a big fly in the game.

The Padres pounded A’s pitchers for 12 hits Tuesday night. The A’s turned the tables on the Padres on Wednesday. The A’s had no trouble with Pads’ starter, Blake Snell. They sent Snell to the showers at the end of the fourth inning. Snell gave up seven hits and seven runs as he absorbed his fourth loss of the year. The A’s won the game 10-4. A’s starter Sean Manaea went six innings and allowed one hit.

The A’s played four against the Angels last week. They won three of the four. The Padres split their four games series with the Colorado Rockies.

Both teams are in the second Wild Card spot in their respective leagues. If the Wild Card Games were to be played today, The Padres would travel to Dodger Stadium and face the Dodgers. The A’s would fly to Boston for the one-game playoff against the Red Sox.

The probable pitchers for the series will feature the Padres’ lefty Blake Snell going against Sean Manaea. Frankie Montas will go for Oakland Wednesday, and Joe Musgrove pitches for San Diego.

Fernando Tatis, Jr. will not be in the PAdre lineup as he suffered a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. The Padres placed him on the 10-day IL.

The Padres still have a lot of firepower on their roster. Keep your eyes on third baseman Manny Machado, Second Baseman Jake Cronenworth, Adam Frazier, and Eric Hosmer. Tommy Pham, Wil Meyers, and Trent Grisham all can win ball games for San Diego.

Marte, Harrison, and Gomes have bolstered the A’s offense. The A’s are now four and 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West. The Astros made two moves to bolster their bullpen. They traded for former A’s starter Kendall Graveman from the Seattle Mariners. The M’s converted Graveman to a closer, and he has resurrected his career. The Astros also acquired Yimi Garcia from Miami to strengthen the ‘pen.

The A’s are 60-47 for the season. They made the moves to better the team. The A’s have made the playoffs the last three seasons. They know how to win. They can do it by playing better against the Mariners, Rangers, and Astros. The A’s meet the Rangers six times in the next two weeks. The last-place Rangers have given the A’ fits this year. The Rangers traded their best player, Joey Gallo, to the Yankees. Hopefully, the A”s will turn the tables on the Rangers.

The A’s now they can beat the Padres. A’s fans will be hoping for a sweep. The Padres have other thoughts.

A’s take the first game of four-game set from LA Angels 4-0

Oakland A’s starter Frankie Montas throws to the Los Angeles Angels line up in the second inning at Angels Stadium in Anaheim on Thu Jul 29, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s behind Frankie Montas’ outstanding performance beat the Los Angeles Angel 4-0 in Anaheim Thursday night. Starling Marte, acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins, was in centerfield for the Green and Gold. Ramon Laureano moved over to right.

The A’s won the game 4-0. After 11 hits in each of the last two games against the San Diego Padres, the A’s hitters hit one double and three singles. The A’s picked up the win as the Angels beat themselves. Dylan Bundy’s wildness in the first inning allowed the A’s to score three runs.

The only hit was Ramon Laureano’s two-run double. The fourth run came across the plate due to a throwing error by Jose Quintana. The Angels had three hits and three errors in the game.

 The Angels’ starter, Dylan Bundy, did not get off to a good start. He hit A’s leadoff hitter Mark Canha with a pitch to get the game going. Bundy then walked Marte and Matt Olson to load the bases. A’s second baseman drove in Canha with the A’s first run on a ground out. Laureano doubled to drive in Marte and Olson. The A’s put three on the board with just one hit. 

Bundy settled down and did not allow the A’s another hit until the fifth inning. With one out and a man on first, Marte singled to move Mark Canh to second. Angels’ manager Joe Maddon ended Bundy’s night when he brought in lefty Jose Quintana to face Matt Olson. Quintana struck out Olson and Lowrie to end the inning.

The A’s plated a run in the top of the seventh. With a man on first and one out, Mark Canha singled, sending Elvis Andrus to third. Andrus scored when Jose Quintana’s pickoff throw to first got by Angels’ first baseman Phil Gosselin. The A’s led 4-0.

Montas went seven innings and allowed three hits and no runs. He struck out ten hitters. He threw a season-high 109 pitches and won his ninth game of the year. Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless eighth, and Lou Trivino retired the Angels 1-2-3 in the ninth to preserve the win. Oakland wins 4-0.

Game Notes and Stats: With the win, the A’s are now 58-46 for the year. They trail the Houston Astros by five and 1/2 games in the race for first place in the AL West. The Angels are 51-51.  

The Angels were without three of their best players Wednesday. Three-time AL MVP, Mike Trout, was still not available due to a leg injury. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is still on the 10-day IL with a hamstring injury. First baseman, Jared Walsh, who has hammered the A’s this year, is also on the IL. Another A’s tormenter, David Fletcher, went hitless in four trips to the plate.

The time of the game was three hours and fourteen minutes. !8,631 fans watched the Halos fall to the A’s.

The A’s will send Chris Bassitt to the hill Friday night. Lefty Patrick Sandoval will handle the pitching chores for the Angels. The game will start at 6:38 pm.

A’s win a laugher 10-4 snap a four-game losing streak in San Diego

Oakland A’s starter Sean Manaea throws against the San Diego Padres line up in the first inning would up retiring the first 16 hitters and striking out nine on Wed Jul 28, 2021’s matinee at Petco Park in San Diego (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s turned the tables on the San Diego Padres Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park in San Diego. The A’s won a laugher 10-4 behind another outstanding performance by lefty Sean Manaea. Manaea retired the first sixteen Padre hitters he faced on Wednesday.

Jurickson Profar broke up the perfect game with a walk with one out in the sixth. Eric Hosmer, pinch-hitting for pitcher Craig Stammen, singled to break up the no-hitter. Manaea retired the next two hitters to finish his work for the day. He threw 90 pitches in his six innings of work. He struck out nine and allowed just one hit. 

How did the A’s win the game? The Padres sent former Cy Young award winner, lefty Blake Snell to the mound Wednesday afternoon. Snell entered the game with a 4-3 record. He was 3-0 at Petco Park.

Snell, however, could not get into a groove Wednesday afternoon. He walked A’s leadoff hitter, Mark Canha, to start the game. He retired Ramon Laureano for the first out. Canha moved to second on the play. Canha then stole third. Olson walked to put men on at first and third with one out.

Jed Lowrie drove in Canha with the A’s first run with a sacrifice fly. Snell walked Sean Murphy. It was the third walk of the inning. A’s third baseman, Matt Chapman, smoked a Snell pitch deep into left field. The ball hit off the facade of the second deck. The ball traveled 404 feet. The A’s led 4-0 midway through the first. They tallied four runs on just one hit.

Oakland made it 5-0 in the second. Elvis Andrus led off with a single. Sean Manaea laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to send Andrus to second. Mark Canha followed with a single to drive in Andrus.

The A’s were not done tormenting Blake Snell. Padres’ manager Jayce Tingler did not want to go to the bullpen. Snell had to take one for the team. In the fourth, three straight singles by Chapman, Stephen Piscotty, and Elvis Andrus put the A’s ahead 6-0. Canha Singled to drive in Piscotty with the A’s seventh run of the game.

The A’s added three more in the seventh. Matt Olson led off the frame with a double to left. With two out, Padres’ shortstop, Fernando Tatis, Jr. fielded Matt Chapman’s ground ball. His throw to first pulled first baseman Jake Cronenworth off the bag. Olson scored on the play.

Chapman went to second on the error. Padres’ pitcher Nabil Crismatt fielded Stephen Piscotty’s dribbler in front of home plate. His throw to first base went past Cronenworth and down the line into right field. Chappie scored the ninth run of the game for Oakland. Piscotty reached second safely. Elvis Andrus singled to drive in Piscotty. The A’s led 10-0 midway through the seventh.

San Diego scored their first run of the game in their half of the seventh. J.B.Wendelken was now pitching for Oakland. Padres’ third baseman, Manny Machado, singled to start the rally. Wendelken retired the next two hitters. He walked Will Myers to put two men on with two out. The next hitter, catcher Austin Nola, doubled to drive in Machado. The A’s led 10-1 after seven.

Deolis Guerra worked a scoreless eighth inning for Oakland. Bob Melvin let Guerra come out to pitch the ninth. He gave up consecutive singles to Jake Cronenworth and Will Myers. Guerra retired Austin Nola for the first out. Former A’s second baseman, Jurickson Profar, doubled to drive in Cronenworth with San Diego’s second run.

Melvin had seen enough. He summoned lefty Andrew Chafin from the bullpen to finish the game. Chafin, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Monday, made his first appearance as an Oakland Athletic. The first hitter he faced was pinch-hitter Victor Caratini.

Caratini hit his first pitch for a single to make it 10-3. Profar went to third on the play. Chafin then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Profar to score. Chafin was able to record the last out of the game without any further damage. The A’s win 10-4.

Game Notes and stats: With the win, the A’s improve to 57-46. They remain six games behind the Houston Astros. The Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 11-4 on Wednesday. The A’s now lead the Mariners by two games in the second AL Wild Card race. The Padres are 59-45 for the year. 

Sean Manaea ‘s record improved to 8-6. It was his second straight impressive performance. He beat the Mariners 4-1 last week in Seattle. Blake Snell was the losing pitcher. 

The A’s made a trade with the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. They acquired outfielder Starlin Marte in exchange for pitcher lefty Jesus Luzardo. There was no question the A’s were not happy with the lack of production from the two players in right field.

Marte should help solve that problem. While it was difficult to give up on Luzardo, the A’s had to give something to get something. Luzardo was hampered by injuries early in the season. The A’s sent him to Las Vegas to get back on track. The front office must have felt that Luzardo was not going to fit into their pitching plans. 

The hitting stars for Oakland were Mark Canha, Matt Chapman, and Elvis Andrus. Canha reached base four times on Wednesday. He had two hits, two walks, and two RBIs. Chappie was two-for-five with a single and a three-run blast. Elvis Andrus had three hits and two RBIs.

The time of the game was three hours and twenty-nine minutes. Thirty-five thousand three hundred fans were watching the game at Petco Park.

The A’s are on their way to Anaheim to play four against the Los Angeles Angels starting Thursday night. The A’s are 9-3 against the Angels this year. Frankie Montas will go for Oakland, and the Angels’ Alex Cobb will oppose him. The game will start at 6:38 pm.

Padres take game one of two-game set from A’s 7-4

Fernando Tatis Jr fists pumps after the bat flip taking the Oakland A’s deep in the third inning for a two run homer at Petco Park in San Diego to open a brief two game series on Tue Jul 27, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s came into San Diego to play two interleague games against the Padres. The A’s were facing one of the elite teams in the National League. Would the A’s pitching be able to keep the Padres’ 22-year-old superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. in check?

Could the A’s stop Manny Machado? It was going to be a daunting task for A’s starter James Kaprielian. Kaprielian, with his father watching from the stands, entered the game with a record of 5-3 and an ERA of 2.65. The Padres’ starter Chris Paddack had not pitched well in his home park, Petco Field. His record in Petco was 2-4 and the worst home ERA (6.94) in the Majors.

The A’s plated three runs in the top of the third. Kaprielian started the rally with his first hit ever in Major League baseball. With one out in the third, Kapreielian singled to right-center-field. Singles by Mark Canha and Ramon Laureano followed with singles to load the bases.

Matt Olson drove in Kaprielian with the A’s first run with a sacrifice fly. Canha tagged and went to third on the play. Jed Lowrie singled to drive in Canha to make it 2-0. It was Lowries’ 49th RBI of the year. A’s catcher Sean Murphy blooped a double down the right-field line to drive in Laureano with the third run of the inning. The A’s led 3-0 midway through the third inning.

The Padres put two on the board in the bottom of the third. With two out, Adam Frazier, playing in his first game as a Padre, singled. The next hitter was Fernando Tatis, Jr. Kaprelian’s pitch was a hanging slider. Tatis did not miss. He hit a monster shot that went deep into the second deck in left-field. The Padres were back in the game, trailing 3-2 after three.

In the bottom of the fifth, Kaprielian ran into a wee bit of trouble. The Padres sent eight men to the plate as they scored five times. A’s manager took Kaprielian out of the game after the Padres took the lead 4-3. There were still two men on the bases when Yusmeiro Petit entered the game. The first batter he faced, Manny Machado, hit a ball into the seats in right field to put the Padres ahead 7-3.

The A’s added a run in the eighth when Sean Murphy hit his 13th home run of the year. The A’s could do no more as they fell to the Padres 7-4.

Game notes and stats- With the loss, the A’s are 56-46 for the year. They lost their fourth in a row and the nineteenth in the last 32 games. They are now six and 1/2 games behind the first-place Houston Astros. They still lead the Seattle Mariners by one game in the race for the second AL Wild Card.

The A’s line was four runs, 11 hits, and no errors. The Padres’ line was seven runs, 12 hits, and no errors. The two keys plays for San Diego were Tatis’ two-run homer and Machado’s three-run blast.

Ramon Laureano had three hits for Oakland. Jed Lowrie had a single, double, and an RBI.
James Kaprielian took the loss, and Chris Paddack was the winning pitcher for San Diego.

The time of the game was three hours and eight minutes. 40,162 fans watched the game.

The teams meet Wednesday afternoon again at 1:10 pm in San Diego. It will be a battle of two left-handed pitchers. Sean Manaea will go for Oakland, and Blake Snell pitches for the Padres.

Oakland A’s preview: A’s open two game set in San Diego; A’s take an interest in Rangers’ Gallo

A number of clubs have taken an interest in Texas Rangers Joey Gallo, the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland A’s so far have all stepped up to the plate in the Gallo Sweepstakes (file photo USA Today)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s continued to flounder as they lost three of the four games played against the Settle Mariners this past weekend. The A’ continued to fail to get clutch hits with runners in scoring position. Since June 18th, the A’s are 13-18. Yes, they are playing a lot of one-run games.

Yes, they have had chances to win. Yet, they fail to come through. On June 18th, the A’s were in first place in the AL West. They are now 5 and 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros. They led the Seattle Mariners by 3 and 1/2 games in the second AL Wild Card race.

That was before the weekend series. They now lead the Mariners by 1 and 1/2 games. They have lost seven of the last ten series played. They won two and split one with the Texas Rangers. The only team in the AL West that they can beat has been the LA Angels. The Astros, Rangers, and Mariners all have a winning record against Oakland.

The A’s missed the boat by not trading for Nelson Cruz. Tampa Bay sent two prospects to Minnesota for the slugger. Oakland could have worked out a deal. The A’s have not gotten the production they hoped for from the two guys in right field.

Mitch Moreland has been on the 10-day IL twice. Moreland has hit seven dingers and driven in 24. The A’s are rumored to be interested in acquiring Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. The New York Yankees are also interested in trading for Gallo. Maybe Billy Beane and David Forst probably would go after Khris Davis. He is available.

The A’s are on their way to San Diego to play two against the San Diego Padres. The Padres are in third place in the NL West. They trail the San Francisco Giants by 5 and 1/2 games and are 3 and 1/2 games behind the LA Dodgers in the Wild Card Chase.

The Padres made several moves over the off-season to bolster their starting pitching. They acquired Yu Darvish from the Chicago Cubs and Blake Snell, a former Cy Young Award winner, from the Tampa Bay Rays. Their general manager, A.J. Preller, engineered a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire second baseman/ outfielder Adam Frazier for three prospects. The deal hasn’t been finalized but is expected to be announced soon. Preller is working on a deal to get pitcher Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins.

The Padres have not announced their starters for the series with the A’s. Chris Paddack (6-6, ERA 5.17) last pitched on July 21st, and his next turn would appear to be against the A’s. Lefty Blake Snell (4-3, ERA 4.93) would go on Wednesday. Oakland will send James Kaprielian to the mound Tuesday night. Kaprielian is 5-3, and his ERA is 2.53. Lefty Sean Manaea (7-6, ERA 3.16) will pitch for the A’s Wednesday afternoon.

The A’s pitchers will have their work cut out for them against a very potent San Diego offense. They have two guys on the left side of the infield that can hammer the baseball. Third baseman Manny Machado, in his tenth season, is hitting .275 with 17 homers and 68 RBIs.

Machado has hit 240 homers so far in his career. At shortstop, the Padres have the 2-year-old phenom, Fernando Tatis, Jr. The young man from the Dominican Republic is hitting .289 with 30 home runs and has 67 RBIs.

Eric Hosmer will be at first base for the Pads. Hosmer owns a .266 batting average, and he has hit eight dingers in driven in 48. Second baseman Jake Cronenworth is hitting a solid .275. Jake has hit 13 big flies out of the park and knocked in 24 mates.

The Padres have four players they use quite a bit in the outfield. Tommy Phan will probably start in leftfield. Pham is batting .260 and has hit 13 dingers. Trent Grisham will patrol centerfield. Grisham is at .262, 11 homers, and 39 RBIs. Will Myers (.254, 12 homers, 45 RBIs) will be in right. Jurickson Profar, who was an Oakland Athletic in 2019, will be the backup outfielder.

The Padre bullpen is solid. Their closer, the veteran Mark Melancon has been solid all year. Melancon has recorded 30 saves so far this year. Two former A’s are in the Padre pen. Emilio Pagan, who was with Oakland in2018, and Drew Pomerantz, a starter for Oakland in 2014 and 2025, have done well for the Padres. Other relievers that will see action include left Tim Hill, righties Craig Stammen, Austin Adams, Pierce Johnson, and Nabil Crismatt.

Since the game is being played in a National League Park, the A’s will be without the designated hitter. The A’s will have to figure out a way to put runs on the board. Since resuming play after the All-Star break, Oakland has put slightly more than three runs per game on the board.

After the two-game set with the Padres, the A’s play four against the Angels. The A’s have had their way against LA so far. However, the Angels would love to turn the tables on their foes from the Bay area. After the Angel series, the A’s return home to play two more against the Padres.

The Texas Rangers, in last place in the AL West, will play three more in Oakland. They have not been kind to the A’s this year. The A’s then go on the road to play three in Cleveland, three more with Texas, and four against the Central Division leaders, the Chicago White Sox. After that trip, the A’s host the San Francisco Giants for three, the Mariners for two, and the Yankees for four more games.

The A’s do not have an easy road to the playoffs. They need help to strengthen the offense. Lou Trivino has done a reasonably good job as the closer. Lefty Jake Diekman has had some control issues. Diekman has not been as effective as he was last year. Sergio Romo has regained his form and has been quite a surprise. Yusmeiro Petit has also done a good job.

It will be interesting to see if the A’s get active before the July 30th trade deadline. They need to upgrade the offense. First baseman Matt Olson is the A’s most valuable player. The big guy is hitting .287 to go along with 27 home runs and 66 RBIs. Mark Canha, Jed Lowrie, and Tony Kemp are the only other hitters above the .250 mark. Seth Brown is at .201, Stephen Piscotty at .205, Sean Murphy .212, Matt Chapman .218.

Hopefully, the A’s can get the offense going. If they don’t, they may not make the playoffs. Let’s hope they can make a couple of deals and they get back on the winning track.

A’s Manaea strong performance downs M’s 4-1 at T Mobile

Oakland A’s starter Sean Manaea throws against the Seattle Mariner line up at T Mobile Field in Seattle on Thu Jul 22, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s won their third game in a row behind Sean Manaea’s outstanding performance Thursday night in Seattle. Manaea broke a four-game personal losing streak as he held the Mariners to one run and three hits in seven innings of work. Manaea improved to 7-6 for the season. Sergio Romo set the M’s down in order in the eighth, and Lou Trivino closed out the ninth for his sixteenth save.

The Mariners’ starter, Chris Flexen, held the A’s to just one hit and no runs in the game’s first four innings. The A’s drew first blood in the top of the fifth. With two outs, A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus singled to start the rally. With Mark Canha at the plate, Andrus stole second. He went to third on Canha’s infield single. The next hitter, Ramon Laureano, lined a shot off Flexen’s leg to drive in Andrus with the A’s first run. 

The A’s added another run in the top of the sixth. With one out, Mitch Moreland doubled. A’s catcher, Sean Murphy, followed with a double to left to drive in Moreland. The A’s led 2-0 midway through the sixth. 

In the bottom of the seventh, Seattle’s catcher, Tom Murphy, led off the inning with a solo blast to left. Manaea settled down and retired the next three batters.

In the top of the eighth, the A’s put two more runs on the board. Singles by Matt Chapman and Seth Brown put men on at first and second with no out. Elvis Andrus executed a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third. Mark Canha walked to load the bases.

Ramon Laureano hit a soft line drive over the Mariners’ shortstop J.P. Crawford to drive in Chapman. Matt Olson drove in Brown with a sacrifice fly to right field. The A’s led 4-1. Sergio Romo was now pitching for Oakland. As mentioned above, he set the M’s down in order. Lou Trivino got the last three out of the game to earn his 16th save of the year. The A’s win 4-1.

Game Notes: With the win, the A’s are now 56-42 for the year. They trail the Houston Astros by two and 1/2 games in the race for the AL West crown. The Mariners fall to 51-46.

The A’s line was four runs, eleven hits, and no errors. The M’s stats were one run, four hits, and no errors.

Sean Manaea struck out 13 Mariner hitters for a new career-high. Mark Canha hat a single, double, and two walks as he reached base four times. Ramon Laureano and Sean Murphy each had two hits Thursday night.

The A’s will send Frankie Montas to the hill Friday night. The Mariners will counter with lefty Yusei Kikuchi. The game will start at 7:10 pm.

Preview of A’s four-game series in Seattle with Mariners starts Thursday night

Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea shown here throwing against the Houston Astros in the first inning at Minute Maid Field on Wed Jul 7, 2021will be the starting pitcher of record tonight against the Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s are en route to Seattle to start a four-game series against the Mariners starting Thursday night. The A’s, 55-42 for the season and 6-4 in their last ten games, are in second place in the AL West, trailing the Houston Astros by three and 1/2 games. The Mariners are in third place with a record of 41-44 and are three games behind the A’s in the race for the second AL Wild Card.

The A’s have played the M’s six times so far this year. The teams have each won three games. The teams last met on June 4th, and the A’s won the contest 9-5 that day.

The A’s will send lefty Sean Manaea to the hill Thursday night. Manaea is 6-6 with an ERA of 3.28. Righty Chris Flexon, 9-3 ERA 3.35, will go for Seattle. Frankie Montas, 8-8 era 4.33, goes for Oakland on Friday. Seattle will counter with lefty Yusei Kikuchi.

His record is 6-5, ERA 3.92. The A’s will have Chris Bassitt going on Saturday against the M’s Logan Gilbert. Bassitt is 10-3 with a 3.31 ERA. Gilbert is 4-2 and has a 3.5 ERA. On Sunday, lefty Cole Irvin goes for Oakland. Irvin is 7-8 with a 3.42 ERA. Lefty Marco Gonzalez goes for Seattle. Gonzalez is 1-5 for the year. The M’s are hoping Gonzalez regains his form and can handle the A’s.

The A’s have been struggling at the plate this year. As a team, they are hitting .233. They have a team on-base percentage of .311 and an OPS of .716. The M’s team batting average is .219. Their on-base percentage is. 295. They have a team OPS of .712.

The A’s swept the last two games played against the LA Angels. The A’s welcomed back leadoff hitter, Mark Canha, from the 10-day IL. A’s Designated Hitter Mitch Moreland also returned to action from a stint on the IL. Moreland has not been as productive as the A’s had hoped. Rumors are swirling that the As’ are looking to trade for the 41-year -old slugger Nelson Cruz, currently with the Minnesota Twins. .

The Mariners, despite their lowly team batting average, have been winning. They have a solid starting rotation. Their closer is former A’s starter, Kendall Graveman. Graveman is 2-0 and has a sparkling 0.90 ERA. He has recorded nine saves so far. Rafael Montero and Kenyon Middleton have 11 saves between them, closing out games for Seattle.

The M’s Mitch Haniger will be in the lineup for the series. Haniger has been productive against Oakland in the years he has been with Seattle. Haniger is hitting .265 with 22 homers and 58 RBIs. Other players to keep an eye on are first baseman Ty France, third baseman Kyle Seager, shortstop J.P.Crawford, and catcher Tom Murphy.

The A’s have played 97 games so far this year. They had a rough stretch where they went 9-15 and fell out of first place in the West. They need to have everyone contribute if they hope to gain ground on the Astros. The starting rotation has been good all year.

Lou Trivino has found a home as the A’s closer. Yusmeiro Petit has been solid all year. A’s first baseman Matt Olson leads the team with 25 home runs. The A’s need Moreland and other players to step up to keep opposing pitchers from pitching around Olson.

The A’s do not want to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. They would be the road team if the playoffs were to start today. They have not fared well in the past in that position. The trade deadline is nine days away. Will they make a deal for Nelson Cruz? Will they trade for Joey Gallo? Will they make a deal to strengthen the bullpen? The A’s have made deals in the past at the trade deadline. I suspect they will be active before the deadline passes on July 30th.

Preview of A’s series with Cleveland Indians

Matt Chapman (28) and Matt Olson (26) forearm bash after Chapman’s second home run of the night against the Texas Rangers in the sixth inning Sun Jul 11, 2021 at Arlington. Chapman and Olson are getting ready for the second half of the season opening up with Cleveland on Fri Jul 16, 2021 (AP file photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The Oakland A’s start the second half of the 2021 season hosting the Cleveland Indians for three games starting Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s enter the game with a record of 52-40. They are in second place in the AL West three and 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros.

The Indians are in second place in the AL Central with a record of 45-42. They are eight games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox. If the playoffs were to start today, The Indians would be in fourth place and not eligible for post-season play.

A’s manager Bob Melvin announced his pitching choices for the series. The A’s ace, Chris Bassitt (10-2, ERA 3.28), will be on the hill Friday night. The Indians’ skipper, Terry Francona, will have Eli Morgan (1-3, 8.44 ERA) pitch. Lefty Sean Manaea goes for Oakland on Saturday.

Cal Quantrill, son of former Major League pitcher Paul Quantrill, will pitch for Cleveland. Sunday’s game will see Frankie Montas try to win his ninth game of the year. Cleveland will counter with Zach Plesac.

This year’s Indians’ roster will showcase many names that are not familiar to the A’s fans. Three names that contributed to the A’s success in the past few years are gone. Carlos Santana is now with the Kansas City Royals.

Their All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, left the team as a free agent to join the New York Mets. Pitcher Carlos Carrasco is now with the Mets, too. Carrasco is currently on a rehab assignment. Shane Bieber, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, is on the 10-day IL.

The Indians will have Bobby Bradley at first base, Ahmed Rosario, and Cesar Hernandez will be at second. Rosario may see action at shortstop, third base, and the outfield. One of the Indians’ best players, Jose Ramirez, will be stationed at third base. Ramirez is hitting .260 with 19 homers and 52 RBIs.

The Indians have three outfielders on the IL. Eddie Rosario is on the ten-day IL. Josh Naylor and Jordan Luplow are on the 60-day IL. Oscar Mercado and Daniel Johnson will see time playing in left field. Francona will use both of these players in center and right field.

Harold Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer will probably be in centerfield for Cleveland. The Designated Hitter is Franmil Reyes. Reyes is hitting .272 with 14 dingers and 38 RBIs.

The A’s won the last two games against the Rangers before the All-Star game break. The A’s are hoping the momentum will carry over as they start the second half of the season. The A’s hope to have leadoff hitter Mark Canha and Designated hitter Mitch Moreland back in the lineup.

The A’s have missed Canha’s ability to get on base. The A’s are hoping Moreland can be more productive in the second half. Rumors are floating that Oakland is interested in trading for 41-year-old Nelson Cruz to be the DH. Another player rumored to be on the A’s list is Joey Gallo.

The trading deadline is July 30th. If no trades materialize, Oakland will have to go with the current roster. The A’s, in recent years, have done well in the second half of the season. The A’s want to win the division. They do not want to be a Wild Card team.

The A’s know the key to success is winning series. Before the All-Star break, they were 8-13. Their goal for this weekend is to win at least two of the three games against the Indians. They host the LA Angels for two games to conclude the short five-game homestand.

The A’s then go on a ten-game road trip. They place four against the Mariners in Seattle, two with Padres in San Diego, and four with the Angels in Anaheim. The A’s have their work cut out for them. Bob Melvin will have them ready.

Oakland A’s report: Build it and they will come

By Jerry Feitelberg

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred tries to laugh off being booed after being introduced at the MLB 2021 baseball draft on Sun Jul 11, 2021 in Denver (AP News photo) 

OAKLAND–On Tuesday, MLB’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, announced that time has run out for the City of Oakland to make a final decision to support the A’s very ambitious project at the Howard Terminal.

The City Council meets on July 20th to announce their decision. Failure to join in with the A’s to build the stadium means the A’s probably will be looking elsewhere to build their new stadium. Possible sites include Portland, Oregon, Las Vegas, Nevada, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Canada.

The A’s, without question, need a new ballpark. The Oakland Coliseum was built to be the home of two sports: baseball and football. The current configuration for baseball has the fans sitting too far away from the infield.

The Coliseum does not have the intimacy of a ballpark, such as Oracle Park in San Francisco, Camden Yards in Baltimore or Boston’s Fenway Park. Before Mt. Davis was built in 1995, the fans sitting in the bleachers could talk to the A’s outfielders. The outfield fence is much higher, and the fans’ view from the seats is much different now.

When Lew Wolfe was running the team, he wanted to move the team to several sites in the Bay Area. He looked at sites in Fremont and San Jose. The San Francisco Giants, who own territorial rights to San Jose, objected.

The Giants gained those rights when they were on the verge of moving the franchise to Toronto or Tampa Bay. The Giants built their new stadium in San Francisco but were not willing to relinquish their rights.

The A’s new president, Dave Kaval, thought he had a deal to build a stadium on the grounds of Laney College in Oakland. He had egg on his face with that highly-touted deal fell through. Undaunted, the A’s came up with a new plan to build at Howard Terminal, a few blocks north of Jack London Square in Oakland.

The original plan, or so though Oakland’s city council, was to build a baseball-only ballpark to be privately financed. The park would seat about 35,000 people.

They were blindsided when the A’s came to them will a 12 billion dollar project that would include not only the stadium but 3000 units of housing, over a million square feet of office buildings, and 200,000 square feet of retail space.

They informed the city that Oakland would have to invest over 855 million dollars to build the project. The A’s tried to show the council that those costs would be recouped by the new tax revenues generated by the project. They felt the additional jobs, homes, and businesses would greatly benefit the city’s economy.

The A’s and Oakland have to resolve several issues. Who will be paying for infrastructure costs? Access to the park and parking issues will have to be settled. Oakland wants the A’s to stay in town for the next 45 years.

The A’s will commit to 20. If the plan is to be approved by Oakland, it has to be a win-win situation. Both sides have to realize there is more to gain than lose.

The fans will be crushed to lose their team. Life will go on if the A’s leave town, but it will leave a big hole in the hearts of the people that have supported this team since their arrival here in 1968.

Oakland A’s Mid-Season analysis for first half 2021 season

American League slugger Matt Olson representing the Oakland A’s watches the flight of the ball he hit during the first round of the Home Run Derby at Coors Field on Mon Jul 12, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s are off for the next four days as MLB holds its annual All-star game festivities this week. Monday night’s activities include the annual Home Run Derby. A’s first baseman, Matt Olson, will compete against seven other sluggers for the crown.

He will have to beat the likes of Shohei Ohtani, who leads MLB with 33 dingers, Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero, Jr, and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis. It will not be easy, but the contest will be fun. The A’s best pitcher, Chris Bassitt, will also be in Denver as part of the American League’s pitching staff.

The rest of the A’s will be at home getting a well-deserved four-day rest. The baseball season, as fans know, is a grueling, grinding marathon for six months. There are not very many off-days throughout the season. The four days give the players to rest their weary bodies.

The A’s season did not start well. They lost the first six games of the season. Fans were concerned the team would not be able to overcome the poor start. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, would have liked the team to get off to a fast start, but that didn’t happen.

What made matters worse was the first four losses were to their main division rivals, the Houston Astros. The A’s then lost two more games to the LA Dodgers.

Things improved when they beat the Dodgers for their first win. The A’s got back on track with an amazing 13-game winning streak. The A’s were able to continue to play winning baseball. They found themselves in first place in the AL Western Division.

After the first 70 games of the year, they owned a two-game advantage over the Astros. However, they were 8-13 since then and now trail the Astros by three and 1/2 games. Their problems started when they went on a 4-6 on a ten-game road trip to New York, Dallas, and San Francisco.

They came home to face the Rangers and the Red Sox for a short six-game homestand. They went 2-4. They placed the next six games on the road against the Astros and Rangers. Houston took two out three and owned a 9-4 record against Oakland with six games left to play late in the season.

The A’s lost the first game of the three-game set to the Rangers last Friday night. They outlasted the Rangers 8-4 in eleven innings on Saturday and beat Texas 4-1 on Sunday to finish with a 50-42 record.

What are the takeaways for the season? At this point, the A’s have to be very pleased with the pitching staff’s performance. Chris Bassitt has been their ace. Bassitt has a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 3.28. He has gone seven innings in several of his last ten starts and leads the A’s with 118 pitched.

Being able to go seven innings has allowed the A’s to keep the bullpen fresh. Sean Manaea has pitched well. The Big lefty’s record is 6-6 and has an ERA of 3.19. Frankie Montas is 8-7, and his ERA is 4.41. Montas has pitched, but a couple of rocky starts has pushed his ERA to over four runs per game.

Lefty Cole Irvin has been a pleasant surprise. Irvin is 6-8 with an ERA of 3.65. The A’s hitters failed to give him support in some of the games that he lost. Righty James Kaprielian has been another find. The big righty who pitched his collegiate ball at UCLA is 4-3 with an ERA of 2.90. Kaprielian came to Oakland in the trade that sent Sonny Gray to New York in 2017.

Kaprielian was sidelined with injuries, and he is now showing the A’s why the Yankees made him a number one draft pick several years ago.

Bob Melvin has to be pleased with the A’s bullpen’s performance. The A’s lost their All-Star closer, Liam Hendriks, to free agency last winter. They signed Trevor Rosenthal to a one-year $11 million contract to replace Hendriks. Rosenthal injured his shoulder in spring training and, hopefully, will return in August. Bob Melvin decided to use lefty Jake Diekman and righty Lou Trivino as the closer.

Diekman had a wonderful 2020 season. He was lights out. Not so much this season. He still has done well and has recorded seven saves. Lou Trivino, a sensation in 2018, struggled the last two seasons. Trivino worked to improve, and Sweet Lou has responded to the challenge. Trivino has 14 saves and an ERA of 1.84 for Oakland. Yusmeiro Petit has been good again. J.B. Wendelken, Deolis Guerra, Sergio Romo all have come through for Oakland.

The A’s offense has been a work in progress. The A’s lineup on Sunday had just two players hitting over .250. Matt Olson leads the A’s with a .282 batting average with 23 home runs and 59 RBIs. Jed Lowrie was second on the team with a .263 average.

Lowrie, who hadn’t played in the last two years as a New York Met, returned to Oakland the third time. Jed can still swing the bat. Ramon Laureano and Tony Kemp are hitting about .240. Laureano has some pop in his bat with 13 dingers and 31 RBIs.

Kemp was hitting about.280 a couple of weeks ago, but his bat went cold. Sean Murphy and Matt Chapman are at the .220 mark. Murphy homered in the last two games against Texas.

Chapman missed the last part of last season with a hip injury. He had surgery. Matt struggled early in the season. He has been doing better lately. Elvis Andrus arrived via a trade with the Rangers. The A’s needed to replace Marcus Semien, who left to play second base with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Semien is having a terrific season and made the All-Star team. Andrus struggled early in the season. He has been hitting well the last six weeks, and his average is about .238. Mitch Moreland is currently on the 10-day IL. It is the second time this season for Moreland.

The A’s need his bat back in the lineup. Stephen Piscotty’s average is slightly above the Mendoza line. Piscotty has been injured a couple of times and has not returned to the player that he can be. He did have a huge pinch-hit home run to help win the game last Saturday against Texas.

Billy Beane and David Forst will have to make some decisions regarding the team before the July 30th trade deadline. Rumors are floating around that they are interested in acquiring slugger Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins to fill the DH slot.

Another possibility is trading for Texas Rangers’ outfielder Joey Gallo. Gallo has one year of arbitration left and will be a free agent after the 2022 season. The Rangers are paying him 6.2 million dollars. The A’s could handle his salary easily.

Those two big bats would put a lot more power into the A’s lineup. Right now, the only consistent power hitter in the A’s lineup is Matt Olson. The A’s may also be looking to acquire help either for the starting rotation or the bullpen.

The A’s want to win the division. If the season ended today, the A’s would be the second Wild Card. They would have to travel to St. Petersburg to face the Tampa Bay Rays.

The A’s hitters need to improve if they want to make the playoffs and win the pennant. Right now, the team has not been able to hit with men in scoring position.

The team, as a whole, strikes out too much. They need to put the bat on the ball. In the past few years, the A’s have played better in the second half of the season. Let’s hope the A’s will do well. The fans in the Bay Area would love to see another World Series between the A’s and the San Francisco Giants. It could happen.

Jerry Feitelberg covers Oakland A’s road games for the 2021 season for