Astros romp A’s 11-6 win to end Oakland’s season

The Oakland A’s Matt Olson heads back to the Oakland dugout after striking out against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning as catcher Martin Maldonado sets up for the next hitter in game 4 of the 2020 ALDS at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Houston Astros ended the Oakland A’s season as they pounded the A’s pitchers to win 11-6. The Astros advance to the American League Championship series. The Astros, probably the most hated team in baseball due to the sign-stealing cheating scandal, wanted to prove that they are a top-tier team.

The Astros will be playing in the championship series for the fourth year in a row. They won the World Series in 2017 and lost the Series last year to the Washington Nationals. The Astros had a tumultuous year. They fired their General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, and their field manager, A.J. Hinch.

They hired Dusty Baker to help gain the team a modicum of respectability. Dusty became the first manager in baseball history to lead five teams into the postseason.

A’s manager, Bob Melvin, selected righty Frankie Montas to start for the Green and Gold. Montas did well for the first three innings. He allowed just three hits. The A’s offense put three runs on the board in the second inning. Former Astro, Ramon Laureano, who was five-for-nine lifetime against Zack Greinke, homered with two men on to give Oakland an early lead.

Things went south for Montas in the bottom of the fourth. Jose Altuve, leading off for Houston, walked. DH Michael Brantley homered into the right-field seats to make it 3-2. Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker singled that put two men on with no out. Montas retired Yuli Guriel for the first out. Guriel was the last batter Montas would face.

The A’s inched closer when Laureano homered off Zack Greinke for the second time to make it 5-4 midway through the fifth.

The Astros onslaught continued in the bottom of the fifth. J.B.Wendelken was now pitching for Oakland. Michael Brantley, who homered in the fourth, took Wendelken deep leading off the fifth.

The pitch was up in the strike zone, and Brantley did not miss it. The Astros scored again when Bregman walked. Tucker singled, sending Bregman to third. Correa singled to drive in Bregman with Houston’s seventh run.

The Astros added two more in the sixth and two more in the seventh to take an 11-4 lead. Jose Altuve’s two-run homer sealed Oakland’s fate.

The A’s didn’t quit. They threatened in the eighth. They put two men on with two out. The threat ended when Marcus Semien’s blast to leftfield was caught at the wall for the third out. They scored two in the ninth, but it was too little, too late. The Astros win 11-6

Game Notes- The line score for Houston was 11-14-0

Oakland’s line was 6-11-1

None of the A’s starters managed to finish five innings of work. The A’s had two more home runs Thursday. They had 12 for the four games played.

The A’s are done for the 2020 season. They made the playoffs for the third year in a row. They were able to advance to the ALDS for the first time since the 2013 season. It was not a happy ending. The A’s will be back next season. One of the concerns will be signing Marcus Semien to a new contract. Semien is now a free agent.

A’s offense comes to life beat Astros 9-7 stay alive avoid elimination

The Oakland A’s Chad Pinder (right) gets congratulations after the conclusion of game 3 of the ALDS against the Houston Astros at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on Wed Oct 7, 2020. (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

It was do or die for the Oakland A’s on Wednesday when they faced off against the Houston Astros. The Astros, with a win, would have ended the A’s 2020 season. The A’s found a way to stay alive as they beat the Astros 9-7 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The A’s offense came to life against five Houston pitchers. The A’s tied a franchise record by sending five balls out of the park. Four of the blast were solo jobs. The big hit was Chad Pinder’s three-run shot in the top of the seventh. The late Baltimore Oriole manager, Earl Weaver, always said that a three run home run was his favorite play in baseball.

Oakland needed to get off to a fast start on Wednesday. The Astros started Jose Urquiddy in place of Zack Greinke. Greinke was not feeling 100% and was scratched. With one out in the first inning, A’s second baseman, Tommy La Stella, homered to give the A’s an early 1-0 lead. Houston, in their half of the first, put two on the board. Former MVP, Jose Altuve tied the score with a solo home run. Michael Brantley, playing in left, followed with a single.

He went to third thanks to Alex Bregman’s single. Shortstop Carlos Correa drove in Brantley with the Astros’ second when he hit into a fielder’s choice. The Astros lead 2-1 after one inning of play.

The A’s tied the game in the top of the second. Mark Canha led off the second with a home run to center-field. In the fourth, A’s first baseman, Matt Olson, homered to right to put the A’s up 3-2. The A’s homer parade continued when Marcus Semien hit one in the fifth to give Oakland a two-run cushion 4-2 midway through the fifth.

The Astros have a very potent offense. They know that they can put runs on the board. They showed their prowess in the bottom of the fifth when they sent ten men to the plate. They scored five runs on five hits, one hit batter, and two walks.

First baseman Yuli Guriel walked. DH Aledmys Diaz tied the game with a home run to left. Luzardo retired Martin Maldonado for the first out. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, brought in Yusmeiro Petit to pitch. Petit, who had an outstanding season, did not fare well on Wednesday. He hit George Springer with a pitch.

Singles by Altuve and Brantley put Houston in the lead 5-4. Alex Bregman doubled to drive in Brantley with Houston’s sixth run of the game. Altuve was thrown out at third on the playThe A’s gave Carlos Correa an intentional walk to put men on at first and second with two out. Lefty Jake Diekman was brought in to pitch to the left-handed hitter, Kyle Tucker. Tucker beat the strategy as he singled to right to drive in Bregman. Houston now leads 7-4 after five.

The A’s had to do two things to win. They needed the offense to wake up and score. They required the vaunted bullpen to shut down the Astros’ offense. They found their mojo and came through on both counts.

The A’s put three on the board in the seventh. Marcus Semien started the rally with a single. Tommy La Stella also singled. Semien went to third. A’s third baseman, Chad Pinder, tied the game with an opposite-field blast.

Oakland was back in the game. They plated two more runs in the eighth. Robbie Grosman walked to get things going. Ramon Laureano doubled, sending Grossman to third. Catcher Sean Murphy drove in Grossman with the tie-breaking run with a sacrifice fly to right.

The A’s loaded the bases when Semien was walked, and a pitch hit La Stella. La Stella was hit his right elbow and had to leave the game. Pinder drove in his fourth run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right to put the A’s in the driver’s seat 9-7.

The A’s brought in their closer, Liam Hendriks, to pitch three innings. Hendriks allowed just one hit and no runs in his three innings of work. He got out of a jam in the eighth when Houston put men on at first and second with no outs. He retired the next three batters to quell the uprising. The A’s win 9-7 and live to see another day.

Game Notes- The A’s are not out of the woods. They must win Thursday to stay alive. They announced Frankie Montas as their starter for Thursday’s game. The Astros have not determined their starter yet.

The line score for Oakland was nine runs, eleven hits, and one error. The A’s tied a franchise record with five home runs. The last time they had five homers in a postseason game came against the San Francisco Giants in the 1989 World Series.
Houston’s line was seven runs, ten hits, and no errors. They hit two home runs.

Game four will be played Thursday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The game will start at 12:35 pm.

Astros beat A’s again 5-2; Need one more win to eliminate A’s

The Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea heads to the A’s dugout in the fifth after being lifted by manager Bob Melvin as the A’s struggle with the Houston Astros in game 2 in the ALDS at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles (AP News photo) 

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Houston Astros won Game Two of the best-of-five series against the A’s by a score of 5-2 Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles. Oakland now has tow win three in a row to advance to the AL Championship Series. Will it be difficult?

Yes, it will. It can be done. In 1984, the Chicago Cubs won the first two games of the series with the San Diego Padres. The Friars stunned the Cubs, winning the next three to eliminate them. The A’s know that if they lose Wednesday’s game, their season is over.

The A’s drew first blood in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, A’s DH, Khris Davis, hit his second home run of the series to give the A’s an early 1-0 lead. The lead didn’t last long as Houston put two on the board in the top of the third.

With Josh Reddick on first and two out, Houston’s hot-hitting centerfielder, George Springer, blasted his first career home run off Sean Manaea to give the Astros the advantage 2-1.

Houston put one on the board in the fourth. Their DH, Michael Brantley, doubled to right. Kyle Tucker’s infield single sent Brantley to third. Carlos Correa drove in Brantley with Houston’s third run when he grounded out.

The A’s third baseman, Chad Pinder, led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run to make it a 3-2 game. The A’s didn’t know that was the last time they would score.

Houston put the game away in the fifth. Catcher Martin Maldonado ended Sean Manaea’s day when he homered to left. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, replaced Manaea with Yusmeiro Petit. Petit had the unenviable task of facing George Springer.

Springer had four hits in Monday’s game and had homered in his last at-bat. Springer, who had fourteen homers in the regular season, hit his second dinger of the game to give Houston a 5-2 advantage.

The A’s bullpen shut down the Houston offense the rest of the way. They did not allow a hit over the last four and 2/3rds innings of play.

The Houston bullpen stopped the A’s cold. After Davis’ single in the fourth, the A’s offense went to sleep. They retired thirteen A’s hitters in a row. Marcus Semien ended the drought in the ninth with a single. Houston closer, Ryan Pressley retired Tommy La Stella for the first out in the ninth. He got Pinder to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. The Astros win 5-2.

Game Notes- The line score for Houston was five runs, six hits, and no errors. The Line for Oakland was two runs, six hits, and no errors.

Five home runs were hit in the game. Houston hit three. The A’s hit two.
Sean Manaea was the losing pitcher. Manaea went four and 1/3rd innings. He allowed four runs, five hits, and two home runs. Yusmeiro Petit allowed one run, which was Springer’s second homer of the game.

Lefty Framber Valdez was the winning pitcher. He went seven innings and allowed two runs and five hits.

Game three will be placed Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The Astros will be the home team. The teams have not announced the starting pitchers. The game will start at 12:35 pm.

Houston’s offense roughs up Oakland’s pitching win first game AL Division Series 10-5

The Houston Astros Carlos Correa (left) and George Springer (right) jump for joy after the Astros took game 1 of the ALDS in Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles for the first neutral site playoff game on Mon Oct 5, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Houston Astros, playing with a chip on their collective shoulders, pounded out sixteen hits to defeat the A’s 10-5 to win Game One of the five-game AL Division Series.

The teams were playing in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. The A’s are the home team, but it didn’t feel as if they had a home-field advantage. Instead of playing in Oakland’s cooler temperatures, the temperature at game time was 91 degrees.

Also missing for Oakland was the vast, foul territory that exists at the Coliseum. The teams knew that baseballs carry better in warm air, and Monday’s game featured six long balls, three by each team.

The A’s sent righty Chris Bassitt to the hill. Bassitt was the AL pitcher of the month in September. However, he had to face a Houston Astros lineup loaded with players that know how to it. It was not going to be an easy task to keep the Astros down.

The Astros were 29-31 during the season. They had a lot of injuries to key players. They were in the World Series last year. They know how to win. Most importantly, their players are now healthy.

The A’s entered the game having defeated an excellent Chicago White Sox team. The Sox, like the Astros, had a potent lineup. A’s manager wanted the team to win the first game. Astros’ manager, Dusty Baker, had similar thoughts for his team.

The A’s drew first blood in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, A’s first baseman, Matt Olson, walked. Designated hitter, Khris Davis, hit Lance McCullers first pitch into the right-center-field seats to put the A’s ahead 2-0.

The A’s made it 3-0 in the bottom of the third. Catcher Sean Murphy led off the frame with a blast to center-field.

The Astros tied the game in the fourth. Alex Bregman led off with a solo homer to put the Astros on the board. Kyle Tucker singled. Carlos Correa homered to tie the game. The A’s regained the lead when Matt Olson hit a solo home run to make it 4-3. The A’s added another run in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. They didn’t know it the time that Oakland would not score again.

Houston’s fortune changed in the sixth. With two out, former A’s player, Josh Reddick, reached on Marcus Semien’s fielding error. The Astros took advantage and scored four unearned runs. Maldonado singled, Springer doubled, Altuve singled, and Brantley singled to produce the runs. The Astros now lead 7-5.

Carlos Correa homered for the second time in the eighth to make it 8-5. They added two more in the ninth to put the game away 10-5.

Game Notes- The line score for Houston was ten runs, sixteen hits, and one error. For Oakland, it was five runs, eight hits, and one error.

How important was winning game one? Houston is in the driver’s seat. They can split the two of the four remaining games to advance. The A’ must now win three out four. It can be done, but it will not be easy.

Marcus Semien and Khris Davis led the A’s offense with two hits each. Davis had a two-run homer in the second inning. Matt Olson and Sean Murphy also connected for Oakland.

George Springer had four hits in the game. He had three singles and a double. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Kyle Tucker each had three hits. One of Bregman’s hit was a home run. Carlos Correa had three hits, two of which were big flys. Correa was the first shortstop to have two multi-home run games in the post-season.

Houston’s bullpen shut down the A’s offense without a hit after the fifth inning. The A’s bullpen, the best in baseball, had a meltdown as they were burnt for seven runs. A’s manager Bob Melvin will have his work cut out for him as he has to figure out ways to shutdown Houston’s offense.

Houston’s manager, Dusty Baker, became the first manager to lead five teams into the post-season. The teams were the Giants, Cubs, Reds, Nationals, and now, the Astros. Way to go, Dusty.

Game two of the five-game series will be played Tuesday afternoon at Dodger stadium. The game will start at 1:37 pm.
Lefty Sean Manaea will go for Oakland. Manaea faced the Astros just once this season. On September 10th, he went seven innings and allowed only one hit. The Astros will counter with lefty Framber Valdez. Valdez faced the A’s on August 8th. He went seven innings and allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out nine.

Baseball Gods smile on A’s beat White Sox 6-4 to advance ALDS

Oakland A’s catcher Sean Murphy (left) and pitcher Liam Hendriks (right) celebrate the WCLS series game 3 victory over the Chicago White Sox at the Oakland Coliseum on Thu Oct 1, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

Oakland- The baseball gods finally smiled on the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. The A’s came from behind to beat the White Sox 6-4. The A’s had lost nine consecutive winner-take-all series.

The last time they won a winner-take-all series was in 1973 when they defeated the New York Mets in game seven. Oakland advances to the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros. The A’s were 7-3 against the Astros this year. The series will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The A’s sent the veteran righty, Mike Fiers, to the hill to face the Chisox. The Sox countered with rookie Dave Dunning. Fiers had never started a game in the playoffs in his ten-year career. Dunning was making his eighth start in big league career.

Both managers planned to go to the bullpen at the first sign of trouble. Sox manager, Rick Renteria, made a couple of lineup changes. Eloy Jimenez was penciled in to be the DH. Jimenez did not play in the first two games due to an ankle injury. Nomar Mazara started in right, and Adam Engel was moved to left. A’s manager Bob Melvin started Jake Lamb at third, and Randy Grossman was in left. Mark Canha moved over to right.

The White Sox drew first blood in the top of the second. Sox rookie Luis Robert blasted a 487-foot monster shot to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead. Fiers struck out the next two batters. He got into a jam when he gave up a single to Nick Madrigal, a double to Tim Anderson, and a walk to Yasmani Grandal to load the bases.

Melvin brought in Yusmeiro Petit to face Jose Abreu. Petit did the job as he got Abreu to ground out to end the threat.

The White Sox put two more on the board in the third. Jimenez doubled to start the rally. Jimenez aggravated his injury, sliding into second and had to leave the game. James McCann replaced him. Luis Robert singled to drive in McCann.

Robert advanced to second on the throw home. Mazara doubled to drive in Robert to put the Sox ahead 3-0. Oakland loaded the bases with one out in their half of the third but failed to score.

Things began to change for Oakland in the fourth. With two out and a man on first, A’s rookie catcher, Sean Murphy, homered to make it a 3-2 game. The A’s plated two more in the inning. Tommy La Stella walked to continue the rally. He went to third on Marcus Semien’s double.

The Sox gave Chad Pinder an intentional walk to load the bases. Renteria brought in rookie Matt Foster to pitch to Mark Canha. The rookie was wild. He walked Canha to bring in La Stella with the A’s third run. He then walked Matt Olson to force in Semien with the fourth run. Oakland is now ahead 4-3.

The Sox tied the game in the fifth. Sox third baseman, Yoan Moncada, singled and then stole second. Moncada scored on Mazara’s single. La Stella made the game’s defensive play when he made a fantastic juggling catch to rob Adam Engel of a hit.

Oakland regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth. The A’s loaded the bases without the benefit of a hit. Evan Marshall was now pitching for Chicago. Marshall walked the leadoff hitter, Sean Murphy.

La Stella reached when Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal was called for catcher’s interference. The official scorer charged Grandal with an error. Marshall walked Semien to load the bases. The next hitter, Chad Pinder, who was 2-for-35 with the based loaded, singled to drive in Murphy and La Stella to put the A’ up 6-4.

Neither team would score again. The Sox, however, had chances in the seventh and eighth innings to either tie or take the lead. In the seventh, they loaded the base without a hit. The A’s had Lou Trivino on the mound.

With one out, Jose Abreu started the inning a ground ball to shortstop Marcus Semien. Semien’s throw to first pulled Matt Olson off the bag. Semien was charged with an error. Trivino hit McCann with a pitch. Trivino retired the next two hitters. Melvin brought in lefty Jake Diekman to pitch. Diekman walked Mazara to load the bases. The threat ended when Engel grounded out.

In the eighth, With one out, Chicago shortstop, Tim Anderson singled. Joakim Soria walked Grandal to put two on at first and second with Jose Abreu coming to bat. Soria got Abreu to ground into an inning double play.

The A’s brought in Liam Hendriks to close out the game. Hendriks did not fare well on Wednesday as he threw 49 pitches. A’s manager Bob Melvin said that Hendriks would be available to pitch Thursday. Sox DH James McCann singled to start the ninth. Hendriks showed the White Sox why he was the best closer in baseball. He struck out the next three hitters to preserve the win for Oakland. The A’s win 6-4 and advance to the ALDS.

Game Notes- The time of the game was four hours and ten minutes. The White Sox used nine pitchers. The A’s used eight. The 17 pitchers used set a record for most pitchers in a regular nine-inning game.

Luis Robert was the youngest player to hit a home run in a playoff game since Mickey Mantle did it in 1952.

The White Sox are done for the year. They will be back. The A’s are still playing.

The A’s are advancing in the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

A’s win a nail-biter to even series beat Sox 5-3

The Oakland A’s Sean Murphy (12) and Marcus Semien (10) go for the forearm bash after Semien went deep for a two run homer in the second inning of game 2 of the ALWCS at the Oakland Coliseum on Wed Sep 30, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

With their backs to the wall facing elimination, The Oakland A’s, behind the superb pitching of Chris Bassitt, bounced back to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 to even the series at one apiece. The teams meet again on Thursday. The winner will advance to the ALDS, and the loser will go home.

The A’s offense, which went to sleep Tuesday, came to life Wednesday afternoon. The team knew that they were facing a tough lefty, Dallas Keuchel. They knew the White Sox have a potent offense led by Tim Anderson, Yasmany Grandal, and Jose Abreu. The A’s had to put some runs on the board early in the game if they were to stay alive. They did just that.

The A’s, wearing the Kelly green uniforms, scored two runs in the first inning. Singles by Tommy La Stella, Ramon Laureano, and Chad Pinder loaded the bases. A’s first baseman, Matt Olson, hit a sharp ground ball that bounced of Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal that went into right field, allowing La Stella and Laureano to score. After a lengthy review, the official scorer charged MAdrigal with an error. The A’ lead 2-0.

The A’s put two more on the board in the second to make it 4-0. With one out, catcher Sean Murphy singled. He trotted home ahead of Marcus Semien, who homered off Sox starter Dallas Keuchel.

In the fourth, A’s DH Khris Davis, who has been struggling at the plate all season, hit a solo blast over the fence in left-field to put the A’s ahead 5-0. White Sox manager Rick Renteria removed Keuchel from the game.

Bassitt held the potent White Sox offense in check until the top of the eighth. Sox shortstop, Tim Anderson, singled to start the rally. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, had seen enough. He brought in his closer, Liam Hendriks, to get the last six outs of the game.

It started well as Hendriks struck out Yoan Moncado for the first out. The next hitter, Yasmany Grandal, blasted his second home run of the series into the seats in right-field to make it 5-2. Hendriks gave up a single to Jose Abreu but was able to end the inning by striking out the next two hitters.

Liam Hendriks struck out the first two hitters to start the ninth. It was at this point that things began to go south for Oakland. Nick Madrigal singled. Tim Anderson had his third knock of the game to put men on at first and second.

Yoan Moncado, with one swing of the bat, could tie the game. Hendriks walked him to load the bases. Hendriks had thrown 49 pitches, and his slider was not working. Melvin brought in Jake Diekman to face Grandal.

It was a risky move as the White Sox hitters have been punishing left-handers all season. Diekman walked Grandal to force in a run to make it 5-3. He now had to face the ever-dangerous Jose Abreu.

Abreu had 60 RBIs in 60 games to lead the AL in that department. He had crushed 19 homers in the regular season and homered in the series’s first game. He was hitting .317. Abreu could tie the game with a single. Diekman won the battle. Abreu hit Diekman’s first pitch to A’s second baseman Nate Orf, and the game was over. The A’s win 5-3.

Game Notes-

The A’s line 5-7-0
Chicago’s 3-10-2

Chris Bassitt was the winning pitcher. He went seven-plus innings, allowing one run and six hits. He threw 92 pitches. Diekman earned the save. Dallas Keuchel took the loss for Chicago. Keuchel went three and 1/3rd innings. He allowed five runs, and two were unearned. He was touched for six hits and two home runs.

Chicago’s Tim Anderson had three hits in the game and has six for the series. Yasmany Grandal homered for the second time in the series.

The A’s offense came to life Wednesday. Semien and Davis homered for the Green and Gold. The defensive play of the game came in the top of the third. A’s left-fielder, Mark Canha, made a sensational leaping catch to rob Yoan Moncado of an extra-base hit. Canha extended as far as he could to catch the ball before it hit the wall. There were two men on with no out. Had he not made the grab, the Sox would have put one or two runs on the board.

Neither the A’s nor the White Sox have announced their starting pitchers for Thursday’s game. The A’s will have to choose between Mike Fiers or lefty Sean Manaea. The A’s probably will go with Fiers as the White Sox have a 15-0 record against lefties. The game will begin at 12:10 pm Thursday.

ALWC Series game 1: A’s playoff woes continue fall to the White Sox 4-1

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Wild Card series between the Oakland A’s and the Chicago White Sox began on Tuesday at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s in the playoffs for the third consecutive season, the sixth time in the last nine years, and the eleventh time in the previous 21 seasons faced the White Sox, making their first appearance in the playoffs since 2008.

A’s manager Bob Melvin made a surprising choice by announcing left Jesus Luzardo would start for Oakland. Everyone thought lefty Sean Manaea would have the honor, but Melvin decided to go with Luzardo. It was also surprising as the White Sox have battered lefty pitching all season. They were 14-0 against lefties. The Sox led the American League with 96 home runs. They have a predominately right-handed batting order, and they made the A’s pay by crushing them 4-1.

White Sox manager, Rick Renteria, made a wise choice by selecting his ace, Lucas Giolito, to pitch. Giolito was perfect for the first six innings. Eighteen batters up and eighteen batters retired. Tommy La Stella singled to break up the possible no-hitter and perfect game leading off in the top of the seventh. Giolito retired the next three batters to end the seventh. The scoring summary follows below.

Chicago put the first run of the game on the board in the top of the second inning. Right-fielder Adam Engel blasted a home run over the left-field wall to make it 1-0. The White Sox added two more runs in the third. Sox shortstop, Tim Anderson, led off with a single. It was his second hit of the game. Luzardo retired the next two batters. He did not get by Jose Abreu. The big guy from Cuba sent Luzardo’s pitch way over the left-center-field fence to put Chicago ahead 3-0.
Giolito continued to mow down the A’s batters. The A’s came into the game having lost five of the last seven. The offense was not clicking on all cylinders. The ineptness continued Tuesday afternoon.

In the eighth, Sox catcher Yasmany Grandal hit a solo home run off A’s reliever, Joakim Soria, to make it 4-0. The A’s broke through in their half of the frame as they put one on the board. Giolito walked the leadoff hitter, Mark Canha. Rick Renteria walked out to the mound to talk to Giolito. He gave him a quick pep talk and left Giolito in the game A’s third baseman Jake Lamb singled, sending Canha to third. Renteria decided to go to his bullpen. He brought in Evan Marshall to pitch to Ramon Laureano. Laureano hit into a fielder’s choice. Canha scored to put the A’s on the board. Marshall struck out Chad Pinder for the second out. Catcher Sean Murphy singled to put men on at first and second with two out. Renteria brought in lefty Aaron Bummer to retire Tommy La Stella. The A’s trail 4-1 after eight.
Sox closer Alex Colome set the A’s down 1-2-3 in the ninth to record the save. The A’s lose 4-1.

Game notes- With the loss, the A’s have their backs against the wall. They must win on Wednesday. They will have to find a way to beat Dallas Keuchel. The A’s will send Chris Bassitt to the mound on Wednesday. Bassitt has pitched very well this year. He will have his work cut out for him as he tries to shut down the mighty White Sox lineup. The A’s have to do something to ignite the offense. They hit just .225 as a team during the sixty-game season. Jake Lamb, as an Oakland Athletic, and Tommy La Stella were the only players in the lineup hitting over .240. They better have steak for breakfast Wednesday morning. Maybe that will get them going.

The line score for Chicago was 4-9-0. For Oakland 1-3-0.
Tim Anderson had three hits for the Sox. Home runs accounted for all of the runs that Chicago put on the board.
The A’s had three hits. They struck out nine times.
It is do-or-die for Oakland on Wednesday. The A’s have not won a playoff game since 2013. They lost the last game of the 2013 ALDS to the Detroit Tigers. They lost the Wild Card game to the Kansas City Royals in 2014. They Lost to the New York Yankees in 2018. The Tampa Bay Rays did them in last year. The baseball gods have not been kind to Oakland. It’s time for the Green and Gold to right the ship and get a win. There is no tomorrow if they lose. The game starts at 12:10 pm.

Preview Wild Card series: Oakland A’s vs. Chicago White Sox

The Oakland A’s Matt Olson prepares to take his cuts in the cage as the Oakland A’s hold workouts at the Oakland Coliseum on Mon Sep 28, 2020 in preparation of the ALWC series against the visiting Chicago White Sox (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The 2020 American League playoffs start on Tuesday, September 29th. The Oakland A’ finished with a record of 36-24 to win the American League Western Division title. The A’s will be the second seed in the AL.

The Minnesota Twins also had the same record as the A’s. They will be the third seed as their intradivision play’s record was not as good as the A’s. The A’s will now play the seventh seed, the Chicago White Sox.

Had the A’s been the third seed, they would have been playing the Houston Astros. The Astros finished with a record of 29-31 and were 3-7 vs. the A’s this season. The A’s now face a team with a better record. Chicago was first in the Central Division on September 19th. The team went into a tailspin at the end of the regular season and was 1-7 in their final eight games. They finished with a record of 35-25.

It will be difficult to predict a winner in this best two out of three Wild Card series. The A’s lost the one-game Wild Card to New York in 2018. The Tampa Bay Rays sent the A’s home last year as they beat the A’s at the Coliseum.

A’s manager Bob Melvin will probably use lefty Sean Manaea in the first game, Chris Bassitt in the second, and Mike Fiers in the third game. All three have been pitching well lately. The A’s bullpen has been stellar all season. Melvin will have starters Frankie Montas and Jesus Luzardo available to pitch in relief.

He will call on Yusmeiro Petit, T.J.McFarland, Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria, Lou Trivino, and closer Liam Hendriks to shut down the Chicago offense. The A’s offense has been an area of concern for the team. They are hitting, as a team, a woeful .225. They are striking out too much. The A’s, in a short series, have to correct the hitting problems. If not, they will not be advancing to the AL Division Series.

The A’s pitching will be facing a team loaded with power hitters. The White Sox have two players that are in the running for the AL MVP trophy. Their big first baseman, Jose Abreu, is hitting .317, with 19 home runs and 60 RBI’s in 60 games.

Shortstop Tim Anderson’s numbers are .322, ten dingers, and 21 RBIs. Their power-hitting DH is the veteran Edwin Encarnacion. Carnarcion is not hitting for average, but he still can belt the ball out of the park. Nick Madrigal will play second, and Yoan Moncado will be at third.

Leftfielder Eloy Jimenez is hitting .296, with fourteen bombs and 41 ribbies. The young man from Cuba is living up to his potential. Former Texas Ranger, Nomar Mazara, will be in center-field, and rookie Luis Robert, also from Cuba, will be in right. Robert is hitting .233 and has eleven big flys and 31 RBIs.

Yasmani Grandal and James McCann will handle the catching chores for the Chisox. Grandal, a switch-hitter, will see most of the action.

The White Sox have announced that Lucas Giolito will start the Tuesday game. Giolito has never started a game in Oakland. A’s first baseman, Matt Olson, is four-for six with two home runs facing Giolito. Chad Pinder is 2-for 5.

Lefty Dallas Keuchel goes on Wednesday. Keuchel is 4-2 with a 3.47 ERA in the playoffs. Chisox relievers include Evan Marshall, Matt Foster, lefty Gio Gonzalez, Jace Fry, Codi Heuer, Jimmy Cordero, Aaron Bummer, Carlos Rodon, and closer Alex Colome.

It should be an exciting series. Will the A’s pitchers be able to shut down the potent White Sox Offense? Will the A’s bats come alive in the series? Whose bullpen will be better? The A’s hope to have the answers as they try to advance to the ALDS. The first game of the series will start at noon PDT on Tuesday.

Dodger pitching stops A’s cold as they win finale of three-game series 5-1

Walker Buehler Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher gets the win against the visiting Oakland A’s at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on Thu Sep 24, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the three-game series’s rubber game as they beat the A’s 5-1 Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers used six pitchers in the game, and they shut down the A’s offense.

The A’s offense produced three hits and one run. Dodger righty, Walker Buehler, making his first start since coming off the 10-day IL, was fantastic. He faced 13 batters in his four innings of work and allowed just one hit and one walk.

The Dodgers used five relievers, and they held the A’s to just two hits. The A’s scored their only run in the eighth when Sean Murphy blasted his seventh home run of the year.

The Dodgers put one on the board in the first inning. Dodger right-fielder, Mookie Betts, singled to start the inning. Third baseman Justin Turner singled to send Betts to second. Fiers retired the dangerous Max Muncy for the second out. Dodger Catcher Will Smith to drive in Betts to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 advantage.

The Dodgers extended the lead to 2-0 in the third. Dodger shortstop, Corey Seager, sent Mile Fiers’ first pitch over the wall in center-field. It was Seager’s fifteenth of the year. The Dodgers lead 2-0. They did not have to score again to win, but they did.

Mike Fiers’s evening ended after five innings of work. He gave up three runs and allowed five hits. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, brought in lefty Jesus Luzardo to pitch the sixth. Things did not go well for Luzardo.

Eight players hit for the Dodgers in the inning. Will Smith started the rally with a double. Smith stopped at third when Cody Bellinger doubled. Luzardo walked A.J.Pollock to load the bases with no out.

Kike Hernandez singled to drive in Smith. Chris Taylor walked to force in Bellinger with the second run of the inning. The bases were still loaded with no out. Luzardo retired Betts for the first out. Seager drove in the third run with a sacrifice fly to deep center-field. Luzardo retired Turner to end the inning. LA leads 5-0.

The A’s scored their only run in the eighth. Sean Murphy hit his seventh of the year off Jake McGee to put one on the board. The A’s trail 5-1. The Dodgers brought in closer Kenley Jansen to finish the game. He set the A’s down 1-2-3 to end the game. LA wins 5-1.

Game Notes- The A’s offense continued to struggle. The A’s managed only fourteen hits in the three-game series. They struck out thirteen times Monday night, and a season-high sixteen times Thursday night.

Robbie Grossman, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty each whiffed three times Thursday night. The A’s had seven players hitting under .240. Piscotty started the game hitting .242. Tommy La Stella is the only A’s player with a batting average over .270.

If the A’s are to advance deep in the playoffs, they will have to start hitting. Should they will it all, they will join the 1906 Chicago White Sox team known as the hitless wonders.

With the loss, the A’s are now 34-22. The Dodgers improved to 40-17. The A’s line was one run, three hits, and no errors. The Dodgers’ line was five runs, eight hits, and no errors.

The A’s return home to face the Seattle Mariners for four games starting Friday night. They will play a doubleheader on Saturday. The regular season end on Sunday.

Ramon Laureano’s home run in the ninth wins it for A’s 6-4

The Oakland A’s Ramon Luareano (22) hits a two run home run in the top of the ninth inning that would later put away the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium to even the series between both clubs on Wed Sep 23, 2020 (AP News photo)

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s, as they have done many times this season, found a way to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. With the win, the A’s evened the series at one apiece. The rubber game will be played Thursday night.

The Dodgers used two relievers to face the A’s for the first two innings. Dodger reliever, Joe Kelly, who pitched Tuesday night, allowed two hits to the first two hitters. A’s second baseman Tommy La Stella doubled to right.

Robbie Grossman doubled to left to put a run on the board. Kelly walked Marcus Semien to put men on at first and second with no out. They advanced to third and second on Jake Lamb’s ground out 4-3. Mark Canha, playing first base in place of Matt Olson, drove in Grossman with a sacrifice fly to center-field.

Semien tagged up and went to third. Dodgers’ centerfielder, Cody Bellinger, throw to third bounced into the Dodger dugout. Semien scored the third run of the inning. The A’s lead 3-0.

In the bottom of the third, with two out and a man on first, Max Muncy took Manaea deep to cut the lead to 3-2. For Muncy, it was his twelfth of the season.

The A’s plated a run in the seventh. Julio Urias had handcuffed them for four innings. Until the seventh, the young lefty from Mexico had faced thirteen hitters. He did not allow a hit. The only base runner reached on a walk.

Mark Canha walked to get the rally going. Stephen Piscotty singled to send Canha to second. Ramon Laureano, mired in an 0-for-16 slump, singled to drive in Canha with the A’s fourth run. The Dodgers cut the lead to one when Cody Bellinger homered to make it 4-3. A’s manager replaced Sean Manaea with Joakim Soria. Soria retired the next three batters to end the inning. The A’s lead 4-3.

The Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the eighth. Jake Diekman was pitching for Oakland. Diekman had not allowed a run in eighteen plus innings of relief. Dodger manager Dave Roberts had left-handed hitter, Edwin Rios, pinch-hit for Justin Turner. Rios blasted his sixth dinger of the year to tie the game at four.

The A’s won the game in the ninth. Former A’s closer Blake Treinen was on the mound to face his former mates. Treinen struck out Matt Olson for the first out. Piscotty singled and then stole second to get into scoring position.

Treinen retired Khris Davis for the second out. It was now up to Ramon Laureano to come through for the A’s. Laureano came up big. He hit a line drive into the left-field seats to put the A’s ahead 6-4. A’s closer Liam Hendriks set the Dodgers down to secure the win. The A’s win 6-4.

Game Notes- The line score for the A’s was six runs, six hits, and no errors. The Dodgers’ line was four runs, seven hits, and one error.

With the win, the A’s improved to 34-21. The Dodgers dropped to 39-17.
Sean Manaea went six-plus innings. He allowed three runs, six hits, and two home runs. Jake Diekman received credit for the win. Liam Hendriks recorded his fourteenth save. Blake Treinen absorbed the loss. He is now 3-3 for 2020.

The Dodgers had three more home runs Wednesday night. They have hit seven in the two games played. They lead MLB with 107.
The A’s have hit two.

Mike Fiers will go for Oakland Thursday night. The Dodgers will counter with Walker Buehler. The game will start at 6:40 pm.