A’s are the surprise American League team right now

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

The second half of the 2018 season begins on Friday when the Oakland A’s host the San Francisco Giants for three games at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s, without question, are one of the biggest surprises in the MLB this season. They’ll resume their quest to make the playoffs. The A’s, picked by many pundits to finish last in the American League West and win no more than 67 games, are sitting in third place in the AL West and just three games behind the Seattle Mariners in the quest for the second Wild Card seed.

The A’s went 7-3 on the 10-game road trip just before the All-Star break and picked up four games on the Mariners, who went 3-7 in their last 10 games. The A’s won two out three at Cleveland then won three out of four from the Houston Astros. They almost had a sweep, but they lost a game on a very unusual play that most fans and people in the media cannot recall ever seeing. But the A’s refused to fold. They regained their composure and were able to hold their own with the Astros. The Astros arguably have the best starting rotation in baseball. The A’s were unfazed as they faced Gerrit Cole, Justin, Verlander, Lance McCullers, and Charlie Morton. They then finished the trip by winning two out three against the Giants.

The A’s, under manager Bob Melvin, shows no sign of quitting. They are very resilient and play with a ton of confidence. They know that no game is out of reach and that they have shown a propensity for scoring runs late in the game.

The starting rotation has been a work in progress all season. The A’s were counting on Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk to be in the starting rotation. Both players are on the DL as they have had season-ending Tommy John surgeries. Paul Blackburn, Daniel Gossett, Daniel Mengden, and Andrew Triggs have all been sidelined due to injury. Mengden is off the DL, but has been optioned back to the Nashville Sounds.

The A’s current rotation consists of lefties Sean Manaea and Brett Anderson. Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill and Frankie Montas are the right-handed starters. Cahill and Anderson have spent time on the DL. Both have had a couple of good games, but have not been consistent. Montas is 5-2 and has impressed even the biggest critics.

The A’s bullpen has been one of the best in baseball. Emilio Pagan, Yusmeiro Petit, Ryan Buchter, Lou Trivino, and Blake Treinen have been outstanding. Chris Hatcher did well earlier in the season, but has not been effective lately. Ryan Dull and Danny Coulombe did not do the job, and both are in Nashville. Liam Hendriks and Santiago Casilla have been designated for assignment and are probably not in the A’s upcoming plans. The A’s added lefty Jeremy Bleich and righty J.B. Wendelken, but they have to prove that they can stay in Oakland.

The A’s offense is led by Jed Lowrie. Lowrie, at age 34, made the All-Star team this year. Lowrie, who set a club record with 49 doubles last year, is probably having the best year in his career. Lowrie is hitting a smidge under .290 and has 16 home runs and about 60 runs batted in so far.

The A’s have power guys up and down the lineup. Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Mark Canha, Stephen Piscotty, Marcus Semien, and Khris Davis all are capable of sending a baseball into the stratosphere.

The catching chores are handled by Jonathan Lucroy and Josh Phegley. Lucroy doesn’t have much power, but he knows how to get the most from the pitching staff and has been invaluable to the A’s.

The A’s are on the right track. The big question right now as the trade deadline nears is whether the A’s will be sellers or buyers or will they do nothing? Many think the A’s need to make a move to get another quality starter. The price could be too high for Beane and Forst to make a move. The fans would be upset if the A’s traded any of their young stars. Many people speculate that the A’s might move Lowrie and play Barreto at second base.

Time will tell, and in the meantime, the team has to keep on winning.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: American League West–Everybody Is Playing for Second Place

Photo credit: @astros

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

After the Houston Astros visited the Oakland A’s for the first time this season, I came to the early conclusion that everybody except for the Astros is playing for second place in AL West.

The world champion Houston Astros lineup leads with three of the very best players in the game. George Springer, the current World Series MVP, as well as José Altuve champion batted last year for the third time and perhaps the most talented of them all. shortstop Carlos Correa. The world champion Astros paid their first visit to the A’s in Oakland this week. The three-game series came right after the A’s dismantled the Orioles, sweeping them and collecting a total of 40 strikeouts against the wounded birds.

However, a significant change in play from the Orioles to the Astros might as well be like from Earth to the Moon. The reigning champion Astros is a better team compared to the 2017 club as they won the World Series in seven exciting games against the Dodgers. The Astros just swept the A’s in Oakland, outscoring the Green and Gold 24 runs to five runs. The A’s did not face Justin Verlander or Charlie Morton.

This season, the Astros have Gerrit Cole, the #1 pitcher of the Pirates until last year. They have had Justin Verlander from the very beginning, unlike last season when he joined the team at the end. But it is obvious that everybody here in the AL West is playing for second place because even the Angels’ highest aspiration would be to advance to the postseason as a Wild Card team. At this time, there is no better pitching rotation in baseball than the Astros with Cole, Verlander, Keuchel, Morton and McCullers along with a very efficient bullpen.

Teams that have set starting rotations are those that advance and go all the way and that was what the Astros have this season. For the Angels to take this division from the defending champions, they need much more pitching that they have shown so far. Mike Scioscia’s team is a better team that last year. They addressed their infield, acquired Zack Cozart and Ian Kinsler, and two-way Japanese rookie Shohei Ohtani.

Scioscia told me this when his Angels visited Oakland: “I really like my team this year.”

You might want to keep an eye on the Mariners as they seem to have some magic this year and could be a serious contender this summer. If the Angels cannot finish second, the Mariners are the most likely candidates for that position and a possible Wild Card team.

In other words: the race for second place here between Angels and Mariners could prove to be the most interesting. That could be the story this season.

Rangers Sweep A’s Out Of First Place, Steal AL’s Best Record on Perez’s Complete-Game Shutout

By Matthew Harrington

For the first time in the 2014 season, the Oakland Athletics failed to pick up a single win in a series, dropping the Wednesday matinee finale 3-0 to suffer a sweep at the hands of the Texas Rangers at O.Co Coliseum. Southpaw Martin Perez (4-0, 1.42 ERA) out-dueled A’s ace Sonny Gray,  taming the potent Oakland offense in a complete game, three-hit shutout. The win improbably propels the Rangers (14-8), battered with injuries to key personnel at nearly every spot on the diamond, over the A’s to the best record in the American League and first place in the division.

The A’s (13-8) only had one batter advance past first base all afternoon. Josh Donaldson doubled on a line drive to Michael Choice in left field with one down in the bottom of the seventh but the A’s failed to convert on the opportunity with a man in scoring position. Perez followed up Oakland’s other two base-hits, singles by Jed Lowrie and catcher Derek Norris, by inducing the next batter to bounce into a double-play each time. Lowrie, Donaldson and Norris were the only A’s base runners all afternoon, as Donaldson and Norris also drew the only two walks for the green and gold.

A couple of players with ties to the A’s, including former prospect Michael Choice and one-time utility infielder Donnie Murphy, collected run-scoring base hits to lead the visitors over the A’s for Oakland’s first loss by more than two runs this season.

Texas touched Gray (3-1, 2.25 ERA) up for a run in the first inning after the A’s starter gave up a walk to ex-Athletics farmhand Michael Choice. Gray bounced back to strike out Elvis Andrus, finishing off the shortstop looking on a masterful 80 mph curveball. Gray didn’t fare as well against Alex Rios who ripped an 0-1 fastball to left field for an RBI triple and a 1-0. The Rangers scored in the first inning in all three games of the series.

With Rios 90 feet from home and only one out, the Rangers appeared on the verge of a big inning. The clean-up hitter Prince Fielder appeared to expand the visiting team advantage after grounding a Gray offering to shortstop Jed Lowrie. Lowrie made the heads up play to try to cut an advancing Rios down at home plate, but home plate umpire Larry Vanover signaled Rios safe on the tag play. After A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the play, the call on the field was overturned and the second run of the game became the second out instead.

The Rangers tagged Gray with another run after Leonys Martin singled to open the fifth then came around on Choice’s one-out single to center fielder Craig Gentry. Choice, Oakland’s no. 3 prospect in 2013 according to Baseball America, came over in the December trade that brought Gentry and Josh Lindblom to Alameda County. The A’s also shipped infielder Chris Bostick, the only player in the deal without Major League experience this year, to the Lone Star state.

One inning later Donnie Murphy wrapped up the scoring, launching a 3-1 fastball over the wall in left for a 3-0 Rangers lead. Gray fed Murphy a steady diet of fastballs in the at-bat, throwing five-straight heaters to the Rangers second sacker.

Gray pitched another scoreless inning but his offense couldn’t pick him up in the end. He headed to the showers down 3-0 on five hits and three earned runs. Gray struck out eight and walked four. Drew Pomeranz and Jim Johnson finished up the loss with a scoreless inning a piece.

Oakland hits the road for the next 10 games, heading to both American League outposts in Texas before a trip to Boston to face the defending World Series Champion Red Sox. The A’s open the road trip with a quartet against the Houston Astros, a team the A’s swept before seeing roles reversed against the Rangers. Scott Kazmir will take the mound for the second consecutive game against the ‘Stros. The veteran hurler pitched eight innings and surrendered three runs, two earned, but picked up the no decision on April 19th. Just like in that Saturday Showdown, he’ll be opposed by winless lefty Brett Oberholtzer. Oberholtzer gave up a lone run in five and two-third innings of work against the A’s.

Back to back AL West Champions!

By Emily Zahner


OAKLAND, CA—The Oakland Athletics (93-63) didn’t need 9 innings for a reason to celebrate, all it took was three. With their magic number down to one, Oakland needed to either defeat the Minnesota Twins (65-90) this afternoon, or see Texas lose. Halfway through the top of the third, cheers started to erupt throughout the stadium, and yet the out of town scoreboard still read the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals were locked in a 0-0 tie in the 10th. After Sonny Gray surrendered a 3-run homerun by Oswaldo Arcia, the A’s finally got out of the inning. That was when a replay was shown of KC’s Justin Maxwell, with two outs in the 10th, crushing a grand slam that instantly sent the A’s into the post season. Once again, at the expense of the Texas Rangers, the A’s would be crowned the American League West Champions.

Not that the A’s needed the Royals help anyway… Oakland erupted for six runs in the 2nd inning, and then added one more in each of the next five innings. The A’s celebrated their division title on the back of a four-game sweep by means of an 11-7 rout of the Twins. Oakland starter Sonny Gray became the youngest pitcher in A’s history to win a division clinching game at the young age of 23. Gray was elated, “this is the best baseball day of my life… today is a very exciting day.” Even though they all knew their fate in the third, Sonny was determined, saying he knew something had happened in the Texas game, but still had a game to win.  Gray did struggle a bit, giving up four earned runs on seven hits through five innings pitched, but with the offensive tear his team appears to be on lately, it didn’t even matter. Gray isn’t worried about where he will land on the post season roster, just as long as he is a part of the team.

After tonight’s game, the A’s finish off the regular season with a three game series in Anaheim, followed by a three game set in Seattle. From here on out, the A’s will be focused on the post season. A’s manager Bob Melvin is ready, saying “we’ve got some unfinished business going forward… we’re going to enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow”. He has extreme confidence in his squad, “this is an unselfish group that just wants to win.” The players themselves are ready, Australian closer Grant Balfour said “we know how to play and we know how to win”.

Not only did the A’s clinch the West today, but Coco Crisp made history as well. In the 6th inning, after Eric Sogard reached first on a single, Coco walked. The two initiated a double steal, and Coco became only the 10th player in Oakland history to have a 20 homerun-20 stolen base year. Players all through the lineup stepped up huge today. In the 7th spot, Daric Barton went 3-3 with a walk; just a triple short of the cycle. Homeruns were a plenty today, and Oakland saw bombs from Crisp, Barton, and Jed Lowrie. Barton has made a huge impact since being called up from Triple A Sacramento on August 24th, and Melvin is taking notice, “I don’t see how Barton could not be on the post season roster”.

This marks the second consecutive and 16th overall AL West Division title for the Oakland Athletics. If the standings hold, the A’s will most likely face the Detroit Tigers once again in the ALDS. With the way this team has been playing, they’re ready for anyone.


Game Notes: Josh Donaldson has reached base safely via hit or walk in 27 consecutive games. Oakland has reached a season high of 30 games over .500. Josh Reddick had two outfield assists today, doubling off Brian Dozier in the 7th and Oswaldo Arcia in the 9th.

A’s a cinch to clinch after smashing the Twins

Twins Athletics Baseball.JPEG-0a1baby Morris Phillips

With their magic number reduced to one, the A’s won’t be doing a whole lot of scoreboard watching on Sunday.
In fact, if the burdened Rangers lose or the A’s top Minnesota for the fourth straight day, all eyes will be on uncanny, unlikely back-to-back division winners in Oakland.  The A’s set up the comfy scenario on Saturday, by routing the Twins at the Coliseum, 9-1.
“Right now we got to do what we do,” Jarrod Parker said of capturing the AL West title.  “We know it’s right there.  If we handle what we do and we win games, it’s going to happen.”
So self assured were the A’s on Saturday that they shook off a two-hour rain delay and more clubhouse sewage issues only to smash the Twins in basically two acts—inning number one and number two.   Alberto Callaspo’s two-run shot capped Oakland’s five-run second inning and basically ended the afternoon for Minnesota starter Pedro Hernandez.  The A’s led 6-0 at that point and Parker did his part, shutting down the Twins through six innings.
Afterwards, the A’s watched intently in their clubhouse—as did a smattering of fans in the stadium—as the Rangers closed out the Royals in Kansas City, 3-1, to keep their divisional hopes alive.  Earlier, Cleveland also won, 4-1 over the Astros, to keep the A’s from clinching a wild card playoff berth.
But none of that seemed to matter to the A’s even as the attendants removed the plastic covering the lockers, if only for one more day.  Now the best case scenario would be the A’s clinching the division title while they’re on the field Sunday, if Texas loses their game that starts approximately two hours prior to the A’s game at 1:05pm.
“We’re going to continue to go out there and try to play our kind of baseball,” Josh Donaldson said.  “We’re going to try and win tomorrow even if (Texas losing) comes about.  I’m sure if we’re playing they’ll do something on the loudspeaker or something.”
Since trailing the Rangers on August 30 by three games, the A’s have won 17 of 22, the best run in the major leagues since that date.  With 92 wins under their belt, the A’s are just two short of their 2012 total of 94 with seven games yet to play.  And the Twins will be happy to see the A’s go away:  in the last two weeks, Minnesota has dropped games to the A’s by 15 runs (18-3), 11 runs (11-0) and six runs (8-2) prior to Saturday’s eight-run difference.
Callaspo, Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes each homered on Saturday to support the A’s 16-hit attack.  Parker picked up his 12th win of the season and Jerry Blevins pitched two scoreless innings to end it. 
On Sunday, the A’s have rookie Sonny Gray slated to throw the first pitch of the afternoon with Minnesota’s Cole De Vries as his opposition.

A’s end regular season versus Texas with sweep

September 15, 2013

By Pearl Allison Lo

With their biggest win margin of the series, Oakland engineered their first season sweep at Arlington in four years with a 4-1 finale.

The A’s magic number to clinch the American League West is now at seven games.

In this game, it was the big bats were the difference, producing four of the five runs. Josh Donaldson’s home run in the top of the first proved to be the game-

Oakland wasted no time getting runners on base as Coco Crisp and Chris Young got on
base before Jed Lowrie brought in the game’s first run with a double play. Donaldson followed suit with a home run to double the A’s lead and extend his
hitting streak to 11 games, a career-high.

Texas scored in the first inning as well, when A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-out single to bring in Elvis Andrus and slice the lead back down to one.

Chris Young re-doubled Oakland’s lead when he hit a two-out home run in the top of the third.

The Rangers’ best chance came in the bottom of the sixth with runners at the corner and one out. Texas used three pinch hitters in the inning, but only Jurickson Profar was successful.

The game stayed 3-1 from the third inning until Oakland tacked on two more runs
in the top of the ninth. Brandon Moss came in to pinch-hit and was walked and
Josh Reddick brought them both to home plate with a home run. Reddick went 2-

Tommy Milone, who filled in after the A’s hot-pitching Jarrod Parker was scratched
from the game due to illness, pitched 5 innings, while Ranger’s starter Martin
Perez pitched 6.1 innings.

Game notes: Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes was also scratched from the game due to a sore shoulder. He would have been the designated hitter. It was a franchise first for Texas to go winless in their six-game homestand. The A’s will continue
Monday with a three-game series versus the Los Angeles Angels, who they face six times in the next 10 games.

A’s stay atop American League West

by Phillip Torres

PhotoOAKLAND-The Oakland Athletics (82-60) entered the day a half game up on the Texas Rangers in the American League West, and remained on top after a 2-1 victory of the Houston Astros (47-95) on Saturday Afternoon at O.co Coliseum.

Oakland struck first when Yoenis Cespedes hit his 22nd homerun of the year on a 1-1 pitch to left field off of starter Brett Oberholtzer in fourth inning to give the A’s a 1-0 advantage.

The A’s got on the board again in the seventh inning with another long ball. On a 1-2 pitch, leadoff man Jed Lowrie cleared the Center Field wall to make it 2-0 Oakland.

After a Brett Wallace double in the eighth, with runners on second and third, Brandon Barnes grounded into a force out to knock him in. The Houston run cut the lead to 2-1. The Astros youth then showed on the series of plays. Barnes stole second base on the next pitch. But, Barnes got picked off trying to steal third after attempting to on the previous pitch that was negated by a Jonathan Villar foul ball. Oakland clearly noticed the attempted steal of third after the foul ball, but Barnes went for it again on the very next pitch and was picked off easily.

The base running mistake made it easy to see why the Astros only have 47 wins on the season.

Dan Straily earned the victory, his ninth of the season after tossing seven shutout innings. Grant Balfour picked up the save in the ninth inning.

There were 20,340 in attendance at the Coliseum. The A’s will finish off the series with Houston tomorrow afternoon.

Phillip Torres covers the A’s for SportsRadioService.com

A’s offense comes up empty, lose to Rangers 4-0

August 4, 2013

by Kahlil Najar and Emily Zahner


OAKLAND, CA — The Oakland Athletics (64-47) lost the rubber match against the Texas Rangers (62-50) on Sunday afternoon, shortening their American League West division lead to 2.5 games. Rangers’ starter Derek Holland (9-6) continued his dominance against Oakland, keeping the A’s bats quiet through his eight innings pitched, only allowing five hits and striking out 10; this was the third time this year Holland has fanned ten hitters. Through the first six, Holland had only allowed one hit and had already struck out seven, only surrendering a single up the middle to A’s first baseman Nate Freiman in the second. Holland, who recorded his first win since July 13th, is now 5-2 lifetime against the A’s.

“Holland pitched well. Probably the best we’ve seen him pitched in a while. They had a good zone for him and made the change up hard to deal with today ” A’s Manager Bob Melvin had to say on Holland. The game was a pitchers duel, as A’s starter A.J. Griffin (10-8) who was credited with his 8th loss of the season, performed well through six and two-thirds innings. Other than a few costly pitches to Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland, Griffin was able to keep the A’s in the game. He tallied 7 strikeouts, five hits and only one walk. “He kept us in the game and played well enough for us to win. We just didn’t give him enough offense.” said Melvin on Griffin’s performance. “We’ve been talking to him about the home runs and we’ve talked about it quite a bit. We’ll be working on it.”

After starting the game strong with two consecutive strikeouts, Griffin threw a four seam fastball to Ian Kinsler that should have been fielded easily by left-fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Whether credit be due to the sun or the impending wall behind him, Cespedes dropped the ball at the warning track and allowed Kinsler to land safely at second. Adrian Beltre then singled on a sharp line drive to left and Kinsler came in to score to make it a 1-0 lead. Nelson Cruz lead off the top of the second by hitting his 20th homer of the season off of Griffin to increase the lead to 2-0. Griffin leads the majors in surrendered home runs, with 28. After five innings of solid pitching by both pitchers, which saw 9 total strikeouts from both teams, Griffin gave up another deep home run to Mitch Moreland with Chris Gentry on first to bring the tally to 4-0 Texas.

The A’s had a chance to bring themselves back into the game in the bottom of the seventh when Nate Freiman and Chris Young hit back-to-back singles, bringing up Josh Reddick. Holland fooled him with a sinker that had him swinging wildly and quietly and efficiently killed the rally. All-Star closer Joe Nathan came in to relieve Holland in the bottom of the ninth and gave the A’s and their 23,263 fans in attendance a glimmer of hope. After giving up a lead off walk to Josh Donaldson and a hard hit single to Cespedes, Brandon Moss grounded into what should have been a double play, but was able to beat out the throw at first to keep runners at the corners. Alberto Callaspo then grounded into a game ending double play that silenced the crowd and gave the Rangers the series victory two games to one, ending the home-stand on a slightly sour note.

On the A’s offense, Melvin said, “We’re having a tough time putting two games in a row together. We’ve been in a little bit of a rut whether it be our defense, our pitching or offense. We haven’t been timely as that goes. The offense has stood out for quite a while now. We do have the guys with the ability to take care of that and we’re confident we will. We just need to sustain it. Not just one game here and one game there. We just need to get on a roll.”

The A’s hope to start that winning momentum when they head out on a seven game road trip Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The green and gold send Dan Straily (6-5, 4.41 ERA) to the mound against Reds ace Mat Latos (10-3, 3.38 ERA) at 4:10pm PST.