The Angels blast the A’s 14-1, even series

by Jerry Feitelberg

It was a rough, rough night for the Oakland Athletics as they were pulverized by the Los Angeles Angels by a score of 14-1. The A’s did not get good pitching and they committed three errors on defense while all the offense could muster was just one run and four hits. It was a duel of two left-handed pitchers. Drew Pomeranz for Oakland and Hector Santiago for the Angels.

Pomeranz struggled and was lifted in the sixth inning. Santiago went six complete and picked up the win. The A’s bullpen failed to put out the fire as they could not contain them and they gave up nine runs in the defeat.

The Angels scored four runs in the bottom of the second. With one out and Erick Aybar on first, C.J. Cron hit a slow roller to third. Brett Lawrie fielded the ball cleanly and threw to second trying to start a 5-4-3 double play. Eric Sogard made the force out and pivoted quickly and made a good throw to first to complete the double-play. The umpire ruled Cron out to end the inning. Angel manager, Mike Scioscia challenged the ruling and after a review the call was overturned. Angel catcher, Chris Iannetta walked to put two men on with two out. Angel second baseman, Johnny Giavotella, then connected for  his first home run of the year to give the Angels a 3-0 lead. Pomeranz was still not out of the woods. Leadoff hitter, Kole Calhoun singled and Pomerantz walked Mike Trout. The next batter, Albert Pujols lined a shot that A’s shortstop Marcus Semien let bounce off his glove for an error allowing Calhoun to score with the fourth run.

The A’s got on the board in the third when designated hitter, Billy Butler, hit a solo home run to deep left centerfield to make it a 4-1 game.

The Angels blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth when they scored six times. Drew Pomeranz started the inning but was lifted after a C.J.Cron doubled. Bob Melvin brought in R.J.Alvarez to pitch.

Johnny Giavotella singled to drive in Cron with the Angels fifth run of the game. The next batter, Kole Calhoun, was credited with a single when the ball hit the second base umpire and was ruled dead.

Alvarez uncorked a wild pitch allowing the runners to advance to second and third. The A’s issued an intentional walk to Mike Trout to load the bases. Alvarez uncorked another wild pitch allowing Giavotella to score and moving the other two runners to second and third.David Freese singled to drive in two more runs and Freese advanced to second when Craig Gentry fumbled the ball for an error.

Erick Aybar followed with a single to make it 9-1. Collin Cowgill, the only Angel up to this point in the game that did not reach base safely, singled. Aybar scored all the way from first when the throw from Semien went by third for an error and Cowgill ended up on third when the throw home was wild.

Angels lead after six 10-1.

The Angels scored four more in the 7th. Iannetta and Giavotella reached safely to start the inning. Bob Melvin went out to the mound and ended Alvarez’ night. Fernando Abad was brought in to pitch to the left-handed hitter, Kole Calhoun. Calhoun promptly deposited Abad’s offering over the fence in right centerfield to make the score 13-1. The Angels added another when Mike Trout scored on a sacrifice fly. 14-1 in favor of the Angels after seven full.

The A’s brought in position player, first baseman Ike Davis to pitch in the bottom of the eighth. It was the first position player to pitch for the A’s since the 2000 season. All Davis did was set the Angels down in order 1-2-3 on nine pitches. Great job, Ike.

Game three of the four-game set will be played in Anaheim at 7:05 pm Wednesday night and the game should be a dandy as Sonny Gray will go for Oakland while Jared Weaver will go for LA.

The A’s Win Game One against the Angels

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s stopped in Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels Monday night. The A’s beat the Angels 6-3 and are now 7-7 for 2015. This was the seventh game of a ten game road trip and the A’s are 4-3. Kendall Graveman made his third start of the year and it was a tough start for the young righty. Graveman went three-plus innings giving up three runs on seven hits.  Dan Otero was brought in to pitch in the fourth after Graveman allowed the first two hitters to reach. Otero threw four scoreless innings and was credited with the win. Evan Scribner and Tyler Clippard also kept the Angels off the board. The Angels’ starter, Matt Shoemaker also went three-plus innings. Shoemaker allowed seven hits and five runs and took the loss. Shoemaker is 2-1 for the year. The Angels’ season record drops to 5-8.

The A’s took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Super Sam Fuld walked to start the inning. Fuld stole second and went to third on a Billy Butler single. Fuld then scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ike Davis. The lead didn’t last long as the Angels scored twice in their half of the first. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols singled to put men on at first and second. A’s first baseman, Ike Davis, made a sensational play getting the out on Matt Joyce but the runners advanced to second and third and they both scored on a David Freese single. Angels lead 2-1 after one.

The A’s regained the lead in the third. Sam Fuld doubled and Mark Canha reached on an infield singled to put two men on for Stephen Vogt. Vogt hit an off-speed pitch into the right field bleachers to put the A’s up 4-2. It was Vogt’s fourth home run of the year. The Angels cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third. Mike Trout singled and then stole second. Albert Pujols drove him in with a single to make it a 4-3 game. For Pujols, the  run batted in was the 1610th of his career moving the future Hall-of-Famer into 33rd place all-time.

There was no more scoring until the ninth. The A’s picked up insurance run to take a 6-3 lead. Eric Sogard doubled to lead off . Sogard took third on a long fly to right and then scored on a sacrifice fly. Final score 6-3 in favor of Oakland.

Notes- The Oakland bullpen of Otero, Scribner, and Clippard pitched six innings of scoreless ball allowing just one hit. Stephen Vogt has 4 home runs and 12 runs batted in to lead the A’s. LHP Drew Pomeranz will pitch for Oakland.

The A’s and Angels play game 2 of the 4 game series Tuesday evening in Anaheim at 7:05pm

Preview of The A’s vs Kansas City Royals Weekend Series

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s return to Kansas City to face the Royals for the first time since the single-game playoff game last September 30th. If you recall, the A’s blew a four-run lead behind A’s ace, Jon Lester. The game was tied at 7 after nine innings of regulation. They played twelve innings to determine who would move on to play the Los Angeles Angels in the AL Division series. The A’s scored a run in the top of the twelfth to put them up 8-7. The Royals, who were in the playoffs for the first time since 1985, did what they had to do to win. Royals first baseman, Eric Hosmer, tripled with one out. Christian Colon hit a 45 foot chopper to third base driving in Hosmer with the tying run. With Colon at second, Salvador Perez hit a line shot just past Josh Donaldson to win the game for the Royals. The A’s went home  trying to figure out what went wrong and regroup while the Royals beat the Angels and Orioles to advance to the World Series and they played the Giants tough  before losing the series in seven games.

The A’s general manager, Billy Beane, thought he had put the pieces together to get the A’s to the World Series, but that didn’t happen. The A’s had the best record in baseball for the first four months of the 2014 season, but they had the worst record in all of baseball the last two months. The barely made the playoffs and suffered an early exit. The A’s reshaped their roster over the winter while the Royals did not many too many changes. They lost their designated hitter, Billy Butler, to the A’s. Nori Aoki signed with the Giants as a free agent and “Big game” James Shields, also a free agent signed with San Diego.

The Royals made three acquisitions  They picked up Kendry Morales, who was with Seattle last year, as their DH. Morales was a free agent in 2014 and did not sign a contract until 2 or 3 months after the season started and he had a bad year, Not this year.  They also signed Edison Volquez to replace James Shields.

In the nine games, the Royals played, Morales is hitting .351. They also signed Alex Rios to play right field. Rios was doing well but he was hit by a pitch that broke his left hand and he will be out for 3 to 6 weeks. The Royals are hot. They started out winning the first seven games they played. Their first loss came Wednesday night in Minnesota and the Twins beat them again on Thursday. The Royals are now 7-2 for 2015.

The Royals have strong starting pitching. Their five-man rotation is led by Edinson Volquez, Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas. Their bullpen was fantastic last year. Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland were lights out in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings last year and have been excellent again this year.  The Royals have a veteran infield made up of Hosmer, Omar Infante, Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas. Manning the outfield are Lorenzo Cain, hitting a mere .429, moved to right field after the Rios injury and  Jarrod Dyson took over in  center and Alex Gordon remains in left. Gordon and Infante are hitting below the Mendoza line, but it’s early in the season. Catching is done by the very reliable Salvador Perez.

The A’s record so far is 5-5. They have won four games by shouting out  the opposition and have had four blowout wins. In three of the losses, the A’s scored just one run. The other two losses were in extra innings to the Seattle Mariners. The A’s, when they are hitting are formidable. Super Sam Fuld, filling-in for Coco Crisp, is hitting .361 with four doubles and three triple. Billy Butler has hit safely in all ten games. Ben Zobrist, acquired from Tampa Bay, is playing second base and left field. He hitting .286. Mark Canha, a Rule 5 draftee, can play first base and left field and is hitting .324 with 7 ribbies. Shortstop Marcus Semien is hitting .289 with 8 runs batted in. Ike Davis at first has a .333 batting average and third baseman Brett Lawrie is hitting .256. Catcher Stephen Vogt is at .300 and he is backed up by Josh Phegley. Josh Reddick is back in right field after starting the season on the DL and Craig Gentry and Cody Ross are backup outfielders.

It should be a terrific series starting Friday in KC. The pitching matchups will be the following: Sonny Gray going against Jeremy Guthrie on Friday, Jesse Hahn squares off against Yordano Ventura on Saturday and Scott Kazmir will face Danny Duffy on Sunday.

The Astros avoid the sweep, Beat the A’s

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s were hoping to sweep the three-game series against the Houston Astros Wednesday night in Houston. That, However, was not the case as the Astros, and Jed Lowrie, in particular, beat the A’s 6-1. The A’s had lefty Drew Pomeranz on the hill as he was trying to record his second win of the win. The Astros’ starter, Collin McHugh, had his game working for him and he kept the A’s hitters off-balance all night. Lowrie drove in three runs with a homer and a double to get a bit of revenge against his former mates. The A’s chose not to re-sign Lowrie after the 2014 season and he returned to Houston as a free agent where he played before coming to the A’s in 2013.

The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. All-Star second baseman, Jose Altuve led off the game with a booming double to left centerfield. Altuve stole third, but that turned out to not be necessary as Lowrie hit his third home run of the year into the left field seats. The A’s scored their only run of the night in the top of the second inning. Designated hitter Billy Butler singled up the middle. It was the tenth straight game that Butler has hit safely in and it is an Oakland A’s team record for a player in his first year with the A’s. Butler’s single was followed by an Ike Davis single and an Eric Sogard single to load the bases. A’s shortstop Marcus Semien beat out an infield hit to drive in Butler with the lone A’s run of the night.

In Houston’s half of the third, they scored again. George Springer singled with one out. That man, Jed Lowrie, did it again to his old mates as he sliced a pitch down the right field line driving in Springer all the way from first. It’s Lowrie three and A’s 1 after three.

The Astros added a run in the fifth. Center Fielder Jake Marisnick tripled and Jose Altuve singled to make it 4-1. Houston added a run in the seventh on a Luis Valbuena homer and Evan Gattis hit his first home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth to make it 6-1. Former A’s reliever Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth and closed it out for Houston.

Game notes-Drew Pomeranz went 5 plus innings giving up six hits and four runs. He struck out five and walked one. Pomeranz’ record for 2015 in now 1-1. Houston’s Collin McHugh went 5 2/3rds innings also gave up six hits but allowed just one run and struck out eleven A’s hitters and did not issue a walk in recording the win. McHugh is now 9-0 in his last nine decisions going back to 2014. Josh Reddick made the defensive play of the night in right field making a diving and tumbling catch that will make the highlight reels on the sports channels.

The A’s have an off day on Thursday as they travel to Kansas City to meet the American League champions in a three-game set over the weekend. The A’s are now 5-5 while the Royals are blazing hot and were unbeaten until Wednesday when they lost their first game of the year to the Minnesota Twins. The A’s will be seeking a measure of revenge as the Royals ousted the A’s in the one-game playoff last year.

Game time is 5:10 pm at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Friday.

A’s win second in a row, Beat the Astros

by Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s beat the Houston Astros 4-0 behind a good pitching performance by Kendall Graveman. Graveman evened his record at 1-1 and rebounded after being beat by the Texas Rangers last Thursday in Oakland. Graveman needed to have his sinker working and it was as he induced at least eleven ground outs in picking up his first Major League victory. Graveman went 5 1/3rd innings and allowed no runs and just 4 hits. Graveman had a little trouble with location and walked four but struck out three before departing in the top of the sixth with one out. The A’s called on Eric O’Flaherty Dan Otero, Fernando Abad and Tyler Clippard to stop the Astros from scoring and they all did the job.

The A’s took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Center fielder Sam Fuld led off the game by hitting an opposite field double. The next batter, Mark Canha did a nice job of hitting as he ground out to second enabling Fuld to move to third. Ben Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly and Fuld scored with the first run of the game. The Astros, in the bottom of the first, had two men on with one out, but Graveman got Evan Gattis to hit into a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Graveman and the Astros’ starter, former Athletic, Brad Peacock engaged in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel until the A’s broke through and scored twice in the sixth.  Zobrist walked to start the frame. Designated hitter, “Country breakfast” Billy Butler slashed a double down the right field line driving in Zobrist all the way from first. Stephen Vogt singled driving in Butler. Graveman started the sixth. The Astros had men on base with no out. A’s pitching coach, Curt Young, Paid a visit to the mound and told Graveman that he would be out of the game after the next hitter, Astro slugger Chris Carter. Graveman retired Carter on strikes and lefty Eric O’Flaherty got the next hitter to hit into an inning-ending double play.

The A’s added a run in the ninth. Brett Lawrie walked and stole second. Josh Reddick singled to drive in Lawrie to put the A’s ahead 4-0. Tyler Clippard  pitched the ninth to win it for Oakland.

Game notes. The A’s won two in a row for the first time this season and they improve their record to 5-4. Houston. Brad Peacock took the loss for Houston. Graveman threw 96 pitches and lowered his ERA from 18.90 to 7.27. After the game, Graveman said, ” Curt Young did a great job last week to build my confidence.” Graveman said they stressed that he had to “pitch to contact” and he had “good feeling” out on the mound. He also said,” the defense played great behind me.”

The A’s will go for the sweep Wednesday night at 5:10 pm in Houston. Drew Pomeranz will pitch for Oakland.

The A’s Rout the Texas Rangers

by Jerry Feitelberg

To paraphrase the great Charles Dickens ” It was the best of times for one team and the worst of times for the other.” For the Oakland A’s, it was the best of times as they routed the visiting Texas Rangers by a score of 10-0. They had it all going for them Wednesday night as they had good hitting, good pitching and good defense. They pounded out 14 hits, scored 10 runs and third baseman Brett Lawrie made a tremendous defensive play at third base to stop a ball from going down the left field line for a double and first baseman Mark Canha made a nice pick when the throw from Lawrie was slightly offline. A’s starter and winning pitcher, Scott Kazmir was on his game as he went seven innings allowing just one hit while striking out ten. For the Texas Rangers, it was the worst of times. Their starter, Ross Detiler, making his first start since July, 2013 gave up 8 runs on 9 hits and was gone after 4 1/3rd innings of work. The Ranger defense did not help Detwiler one bit. The Rangers committed four errors and  a passed ball  that led to 3 unearned runs. Kazmir allowed just one hit and the other came in the ninth when Prince Fielder doubled off reliever R.J. Alvarez.

The only noise the A’s made in the first two innings was a two out double by Brett Lawrie. Lawrie had a tough night in Tuesday’s game as he struck out four times on 12 pitches but he hit a line shot to left center but was thrown out at third trying to stretch  it into a triple. In the bottom of the third, the A’s sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs on five hits. Marcus Semien singled with one out to get things going. That was followed by Tyler Ladendorf’s first Major League hit in his first at bat in the big leagues. It was a line shot to left center and with his speed, he made it to third easily. Craig Gentry was hit by a pitch to put two men on. Cody Ross, in his first at bat as an Athletic singled to drive in Ladendorf. A’s DH, Billy Butler walked to load the bases. First baseman, Mark Canha, blasted a shot to deep right centerfield that hit the top of the wall driving in all three runners.Canha stopped at second and A’s manager Bob Melvin asked the umpires to review the play . After the review, it was ruled a double, Canha just  missed a grand slam by about an inch and it was his first Major League hit. A’s lead 5-0 after three innings of play.

The AS’s scored one run in the fourth, two in the fifth and one run each in the sixth and seventh innings. That was the end of the scoring for the night as the A’s win 10-0.

Game notes. Mark Canha led the attack with two doubles and a single while driving in four runs. Brett Lawrie had three hits, Billy Butler and Marcus  Semien each had two hits. Cody Ross, signed by the A’s on Wednesday after being released by the Arizona Diamondbacks had a single and two RBIs in his A’s debut.

The A’s have started the season 2-1 for the first time since 2010. The A’s tripled in the each of the first three games for the first time since at least 1914. Scott Kazmir recorded 10 strikeouts for the 23rd time in his career and is 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA in five starts in the last 2 years against the Rangers. Mark Canha was 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs. The only Athletic to do better was Ben Grieve in his debut in 1997 when he drove in five runs in his first Major League game. The only players from last year’s A’s team were Craig Gentry and Scott Kazmir. All the other players are in their first year with Oakland.

After the game, A’s manager, Bob Melvin, was all smiles as his team really played well. He was pleased with Kazmir’s performance and was extremely happy about Mark Canha’s performance.

The Rangers are 1-2 for the first time since 2010.They committed 4 errors since April 30th, 2014 when they committed 4, also against the A’s  Delino Deshields made his Major League debut for the Rangers and had his first Major League hit.

The fourth game of the series will be Thursday afternoon at 12:35pm at the O.Co Coliseum. Kendall Graveman will be making his A’s debut and he will be opposed by the Rangers’ Nick Martinez.

Game time was 2 hours and 55 minutes and was watched by 19,479 very happy A’s fans.

The A’s lose to the Texas Rangers

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Texas Rangers won the second game of the four game series with the A’s by a score of 3-1 behind six strong innings of pitcher by former Athletic, Colby Lewis. Lewis went six innings allowing allowing one run and limiting the A’s to three hits. Jesse Hahn made his first start as an Athletic and pitched well but not well enough and took the loss. Hahn also went six innings giving up three runs and seven hits. After the game,A’s manager, Bob Melvin, though Hahn pitched well and seemed pleased with his performance. The game summary follows below.

The Rangers drew first blood in the top o the third. A’s starter, Jesse Hahn, hit Ranger second baseman, Rougned  Odor, with a pitch. Odor advanced to second when Leonys Martin hit a slow ground ball to shortstop Marcus Semien. Semien could not get the force at second as his only play was to get Martin at first. Hahn retired Elvis Andrus for the second out but Prince Fielder blooped a single to center that barely eluded the grasp of Semien. Odor scored to put the Rangers ahead 1-0 in the middle of the third.

The Rangers scored twice in the top of the fifth to take a 3-0 lead. Leonys Martin singled with one out to get things going. He advanced to third  on a single by Elvis Andrus. Martin and Andrus scored on a Prince Fielder single to right that got by Craig Gentry. Gentry was charged with an error as Fielder advanced to second on the play. Hahn retired Beltre and Choo to end the inning.

The A’s got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. With one out Sam Fuld lined a triple down the right field line. Eric Sogard ground out and that allowed Fuld to cross the plate with their first run of the game. A’s trail 3-1 after six. The A’s threatened in the bottom of the seventh. They had the bases loaded with one out but Marcus Semien ground into an inning ending double play. The Rangers bullpen shut the A’s down the rest of the way and both teams are now 1-1 to start the season.

Game notes- Sam Fuld went 2 for 4 and had a triple in the game Tuesday night. Fuld has tripled in back-to-back games for the second time in his career and is now 4 for 8 to start the season. The Rangers’ Colby Lewis is now 9-4 against Oakland and the nine wins are the most against any opponent.  Game three will be played Wednesday night at 7:05 pm at the O.co Coliseum. It will be a matchup of two left-handed pitchers. Scott Kazmir will go for Oakland and Ross Detwiler will o for Texas.

Temperature at game time was 54 degrees and the Attendance was 15,025.

Oakland Starts the Season with a Win

by Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s ended a 10 game losing streak on Opening Day. The A’s behind the stout pitching of Sonny Gray defeated the Texas Rangers 8-0. There were many story lines to the game, but the most impressive one was the performance of Sonny Gray. Sonny had a no-hitter going through seven innings. The Rangers’ Ryan Rua singled to lead off the eighth and that was the only hit the Rangers could muster all night. Gray went eight innings allowing just one hit, walked one and struck out three. He threw 98 pitches and 66 went for strikes. The A’s got contributions from several players in recording the win. Ben Zobrist in his first game in an A’s uniform had a home run and a double and two runs batted in. Brett Lawrie, who came over from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson trade, made two nice defensive plays and had a single in his A’s debut. Billy Butler had a double and scored a run in his first game wearing the Green and Gold. Marcus Semien also made a nice defensive play at shortstop and Ike Davis also was impressive on defense. Stephen Vogt drove in four runs with a double and a three-run homer in the seventh that iced the win for Oakland.

The A’s started off the first inning with a bang. With one out, center fielder, Sam Fuld blasted a triple to the base of the wall at the 388 foot mark. The next batter, Ben Zobrist, who was playing in left field tonight, hit a home run to give the A’s an early 2-0 lead. It was Zobrist’s first at bat as an Oakland A and the crowd went crazy.

The A’s put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. First baseman Ike Davis started things off with a walk. With one out, Stephen Vogt doubled down the left field line to put men on at second and third with one out. Shortstop Marcus Semien singled to drive in Davis. For Semien, it was his first hit as an Athletic. Vogt advanced to third and then scored when Rangers’ starter, Yovani Gallardo, uncorked a wild pitch allowing Vogt to score giving the A’s a 4-0 lead after four innings of play.

The A’s broke it open in the bottom of the seventh. Designated hitter, Billy Butler, walked with one out and then advanced to second on a Brett Lawrie single. A’s catcher, Stephen Vogt, blasted a shot to deep right field off Ranger reliever Phil Klein to make it 7-0 in favor of Oakland after seven. The A’s added another run in the bottom of the eighth. Eric Sogard led off with a single. With one out Sam Fuld walked to put men on at first and second. Billy Butler, signed as a free agent after many years with the Kansas City Royals, doubled to drive in Sogard with the eighth run of the game for the A’s. Final score 8-0 in favor of Oakland.

Notes- The last time the A’s won on Opening Day was in 2004. The only no-hitter ever pitched happened in 1940 when Bob Feller no-hit the Chicago White Sox. The last shutout on Opening Day in Oakland A’s history happened when the A’s shut out Seattle in 2003. Ben Zobrist became the first player to homer in his first at-bat on Opening Day since Josh Willingham in 2011.

After the game, A’s manager Bob Melvin was all smiles due to the performance of his team He said that doesn’t guarantee the A’s will win on Tuesday, but it’s just fine for right now. He was ecstatic about Gray’s performance and felt that Gray had everything working for him. Gray had good velocity on his fast ball and his cutter and slider was also working well. Stephen Vogt said that Gray knew he had a no-hitter going and was upset when Rua singled. Melvin also said Rua’s hit made it easy for him to take Gray out of the game after the eighth inning. He was concerned that ray might have to go nine full innings and the most he pitched in Spring training was just six.

The series continues Tuesday night in Oakland. The A’s will send righty Jesse Hahn to the mound. Hahn came to Oakland in the trade that sent Derek Norris to San Diego.  Colby Lewis will pitch for Texas.

Game time will be 7:05 pm

Attendance was 36,067 which was a sellout.

Opening Day

by Jerry Feitelberg

Opening Day 2015 kicks off Monday as the new-look Oakland A’s meet the Texas Rangers. The A’s have made a multitude of changes and the home fans will be able to see the new players for he first time.

There is something special about the first game of the season. Every team starts off in first place 0-0 and it may be the only day that the team will reside in first place all season.  The players are always excited to get the show going. The adrenaline will be flowing as the park is sold out. The players on both teams will be introduced to the fans and there will be a color guard present when the National Anthem is sung and that is usually followed by jets from either the Air Force or the Navy.

Sonny Gray will be pitching for the A’s and it will be the second year in a row for the new ace of the staff. The A’s are hoping to snap a ten game losing streak on opening day. No one knows how the A’s will do this year. Many of the pundits are picking the A’s to finish third in the division. Texas hopes to rebound from last year’s dismal season as so many players were injured and their long-time manager, Ron Washington, resigned for personal reasons. Each team wants to get off to a good start, but it’s a long season. The A’s, last year, had the best record in baseball for four months, but the last two months were a nightmare and they barely made the playoffs and then blew a lead in the one game playoff with the Kansas City Royals.

General manager, Billy Beane, went back to the drawing board and decided to go in a new directions and made many moves that upset a lot of fans. Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss were fan favorites, but they are new playing for Toronto and Cleveland. All-Star Derek Norris now resides in San Diego. The team gave away power but got back players that are better defensively and young pitchers to strengthen both the starting rotation as well as the bullpen. It remains to be seen if Kendall Graveman and Jesse Hahn will succeed as starters. The A’s have depth and Jarrod Parker will soon be off the DL as well as A.J.Griffin. Both these men are proven starters, but they are coming off Tommy John surgery.

Winning the AL west will be a challenge for this young team. The Los Angeles Angels won the division last year but were  knocked out of the playoffs by the Royals. The Seattle Mariners finished just one game behind the A’s last year and have added a big bat signing free agent Nelson Cruz who had 40 homers for the Orioles last year. The Houston Astros had a better season last year and are also improving as they  will no longer be pushovers.

In 2012, many people thought the A’s would lose 100 games. They had a bunch of no names and cast-off and a young player from Cuba by the name of Yoenis Cespedes. They won the division on the last day of the year beating the Rangers. So, with a young team,  no one knows.  That’s why the play the games. See you at the park.

Lastly, this writer would be remiss not to mention the loss of Bay Area broadcast legend, Lon Simmons. Simmons passed away yesterday at the age of 91. He was a broadcaster for the Giants, A’s and San Franciso 49ers. He had a deep baritone voice and had a great sense of humor. People would tell me how terrific he was and it took a while for me to get his humor but once I did, I loved listening to him. One night while my wife and I were dining at a restaurant, I heard his voice. No need to turn around. I knew it was Lon. Rest in peace, Lon. You were an original and you will be missed by the Giants, A’s, 49ers and fans and most of all, by your family.

The Warriors knock off the Clippers

March 31st Los Angeles

by Jerry Feitelberg

What a great game. It was fast and furious and the outcome was in doubt until the final twelve seconds of the game but the Warriors came back from a seventeen point deficit in the second period to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 110-106

It was the Warriors tenth straight win and they won the last four games on the road. The Clippers were also playing great basketball as they came into the game having won seven in a row but the win streak ended Tuesday night. It did not start off well for the Warriors as they played a very poor first period. The Clippers opened the game with a 7-0 run and the Warriors were not playing very well on defense. Draymond Green did not play again tonight as he has a shin injury and David Lee started in his place.  The Warriors offense was not very good as they shot just 31% from the floor and they watched the Clippers All-Star, Blake Griffin, have a very strong first period as he went 6 for 7 from the floor for 12 points as the Clippers had the lead at 30-18 at the end of the first period.

For the first six minutes of the second period, it was more of the same. The Clippers led by Griffin and Chris Paul built the lead to 17. The Dubs woke up and started to chip away at the lead.  They closed the gap to nine with 4:20 left in the half and they did outscore the Clippers by five in the period, but they still trailed by seven at the end of the half 53-47.

The Warriors came to life in the third period. As they have done so many times this season. they got things going and they were able to actually take the lead for the first time 72-71 with about 5 minutes left in the period. The lead lasted about 20 seconds as the Clippers pushed back and had a six point lead 88-82 at the end of three periods of play. Klay Thompson got hot for the Warriors and at one stretch, Klay and Steph Curry accounted for 19 straight points. The Warriors scored 36 points in the period, but the Clippers kept them at bay.

In the fourth and final period of play, the Warriors went on a 9-0 run to put them ahead 91-88. The Clippers fought back and took a 94-91 lead, but Klay drained a 3-point shot to tie the game at 94. The game was tied again at 98 with 4:03 lefty in the game.  The Warriors went ahead 103-100 as Andre Iguodala was fouled attempting a 3-point shot and he made all three free throws to give the Dubs the lead for good. The score was 106-102 with 22 seconds left and the Clippers had the ball in the forecourt following a timeout. On the attempt to get the ball into play, the ball was mishandled by Chris Paul and the Clips were called for a backcourt violation and the ball went to the Dubs and that was the game. Final score 110-106.

Notes- The Warriors won their 10th straight game and are now 61-13 for the season. The Clippers are now 49-26.

Steph Curry led the Dubs in scoring wit 27points and he had 9 assists. Klay Thompson had a great second half and ended the evening with 25 points and 8 rebounds.  Andrew Bogut, who fouled out with 1:26 left in the game, was his usual defensive force as he had 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 points. David Kee, starting just his second game of the year, pitched in with 17 and the Warrior bench led by Mo Speights, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa added 34. The Clippers were led by Blake Griffin’s 40 points. Chris paul knocked down 27 and J.J. Redick had 14. The Clipper bench did not provide any offense and Clipper coach, Doc Rivers, had his starters on the floor for most of the game.

Next up for the Warriors will be the Phoenix Suns Thursday night at the Oracle Arena. Game time will be at 7:30pm and the Warriors will then go on another four-game road trip.