The Oakland Athletics won their fifth consecutive game on Saturday night in Texas as they downed the Rangers 8-6. The victory keeps the A’s in sole possession of the AL Wild Card Slot #1 by 1/2 game over the Tampa Bay Rays. The other Wild Card contender — the Cleveland Indians — have dropped back 2.5-games in the standings.
The A’s will go for the sweep in Arlington on Sunday.
It may have been a costly win
Mike Fiers started the game for Oakland Saturday night. Fiers set the Rangers down in order in the bottom of the first inning, but things changed in the bottom of the second inning.
Nomar Mazara led off for Texas by flying out to center fielder Mark Canha. Danny Santana then singled to left-center field. Fiers committed a balk that moved Santana to second base.
Fiers then threw a wild pitch to Odor and Santana advanced to third base. Odor then hit a two-run home run to center field. Fiers then issued a walk to Delino DeShields.
Bob Melvin and the medical staff came out to check on Fiers and removed him from the game.
After the game, Fiers explained that he felt a shot of numbness and pain in pitching hand after throwing a “cutter” to Odor. He went on to explain that he was trying to avoid feeling that again, but he did not want to alter his pitching motion.
Fiers went on to say that he will undergo more medical examinations on Monday in the Bay Area.
The loss of Fiers for any time as the A’s are in this stretch run would be devastating
Oakland used six pitchers in the game
Paul Blackburn relieved Fiers working 2.0-innings and gave up two runs off four hits. Ryan Buchter worked 1.1-innings giving up no runs on two hits. Buchter earned the win.
Lou Trivino, Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, and Liam Hendriks also pitched for the A’s. Hendriks was credited with his 22nd save of the season.
The A’s used their power again on Saturday night
Matt Chapman hit his 33rd home run of the season — a three-run shot — in the third inning off Mike Minor. Chapman’s 33 home runs are a franchise record for third basemen.
Josh Phegley hit his 12th round-tripper off Minor the fourth inning. Mark Canha put his 24th HR over the wall in the fifth inning — again off Minor. Matt Olson hit his 34th home run of the year in the sixth inning — a solo shot — but this time it was off reliever Luke Farrell.
Minor took the loss
Mike Minor was a trade target for many contending clubs at the trade deadline, but the Rangers decided to hold on to their star pitcher. He was charged with the loss on Saturday night, and his record is now 13-9 for 2019. His ERA stands at 3.33.
The A’s will send LHP Sean Manaea to the mound for the third time this season on Sunday afternoon. Manaea is 1-0 with 0.75 ERA and is coming off a win over the Tigers on September 8th.
The Rangers will start RHP Jonathan Hernandez (1-0, 1.93 ERA). Hernandez will be “the opener” in what will be a “bullpen game” for the Rangers.
nbcsports.com photo file: The Oakland A’s are more than glad to see the return of pitcher Sean Manaea who has dominated in his first two outings of the season so far.
On the A’s podcast with Charlie O:
It makes a world of difference for the Oakland A’s to have a front line pitcher like Sean Manaea return to the A’s rotation dropping into the rotation for the A’s at this point. As the A’s are fighting for that number one slot in the AL wild card race.
What a gift having Manaea back because he was on the injury list it’s not a issue for Manaea to be a roster player come playoff time. It’s a dream. It’s like making a trade when you don’t have trade deadline availability. Beyond that we know that Sean is one of the nicest guys in the world.
He was so devested when that injury came, he was very depressed because he was pitching so well and he turned that depression around so quickly with a determination to get healthy and he had set his goal and sites on being back exactly this time with the team.
sfgate.com photo: Detroit Tigers’ Willi Castro is hit by a pitch from Oakland Athletics starter Chris Bassitt during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 in Oakland, Calif.
On the A’s podcast with Joey Friedman:
#1 The A’s have won four of their last five games all on this current homestand. A little home cooking could cure some ills especially when you’re trying to put last week’s Yankees series in the rearview mirror.
#2 The A’s are having a time in this current series with the Detroit Tigers, who are at the Coliseum today. With an A’s win, they would have taken three out of four in this series, which includes a makeup game from Friday.
#3 The A’s need to keep winning and they have four games left against a team with a winning record like the Houston Astros, who the A’s visit on Monday night at Minute Maid Field. They could be baseball’s toughest customer.
#4 The A’s also have 16 games left with teams who have below .500 records. The A’s need all the wins they could get in order to keep pace in the AL wild card race.
#5 A pair of left-handers to start today’s contest at the Coliseum. For the Tigers, Daniel Norris (3-11, 4.76 ERA). For the A’s, Sean Manaea (0-0, 0.00 ERA). Second start of the season for Manaea.
Oakland — The Oakland Athletics (83-59) did exactly what they had to do on Saturday night – beat up on a lesser opponent. The “Rooted in Oakland” crew demolished the lowly Detroit Tigers (42-99) by the score of 10-2. The Tigers have the worst record in all of Major League Baseball and have been eliminated from any possibility of playing in postseason in 2019.
The A’s realistically are destined to play in the AL Wild Card game. They want desperately to be the home team in that game. To be the home team, the A’s need wins and wins should come easier over teams that have losing records. It is truly a “survival of the fittest” environment from now until the end of the regular season.
The A’s have only four games remaining to play against a team with a winning record. They begin a four-game series in Houston on Monday night with the Astros who are tied with the Yankees for the best record in the majors at 93-50. Their other 16 games are with Detroit (1), Texas (6), Kansas City (3), LAA (2) and Seattle (4). The A’s must devour the weak in order to come out on top.
Chris Bassitt worked hard to earn a win
Bassitt struggled in the first two innings of the game on Saturday night. After giving up two hits in the top of first, Bassitt was bailed out by a 6-1-4 double play that is detailed later in this story.
In the top of the second, the A’s starter faced seven Detroit hitters. He gave up two runs off three hits and he hit a batter. The Tigers left two runners on base. Despite having some difficulties, Bassitt struck out three batters and appeared to be starting to find himself.
Bassitt would go on to pitch 6.0-innings giving up just the two runs (both earned) off eight hits. He walked none but did hit one Detroit batter. Bassitt struck out 11 Tigers in 6.0-innings on the mound. That is a career high for Bassitt and the most for an A’s pitcher in a game this season.
After the game, Bob Melvin said, “Bassitt often gets better as he goes along in a game. He also gave our bullpen a break by going six innings.”
Bassitt is now 10-5 on the season with a 3.64 ERA. This is the first time Oakland has had three 10-game winners since 2013 when they had five.
Wild Card Standings
The A’s now have sole possession of the second Wild Card slot in the American League. They are one game back of Tampa Bay (85-59) who is in the number one spot and would host the one-game playoff if the season ended today.
The Indians are 1.5-games behind the A’s for the second spot in the Wild Card race at 82-61. Boston is 7.0-games back and has an elimination number of 14. It would take a miracle and a massive collapse by the Rays, A’s or Indians for the Red Sox to become a part of the race.
Focus on the A’s
Matt Olson went 4-for-4 in the game. He hit his 29th home run of the season in the fifth inning off Jordan Zimmerman on 1-2 pitch that sailed into the right-field seats. Olson also added three RBI to bring his total for the season to 73. He also extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Jurickson Profar matched his career high for home runs when he hit number 20 of the season in the second inning off Zimmerman. Profar is batting .340 over his last 15 games. He has also been very helpful to his team by being able to play both outfield and infield as needed.
Matt Chapman hit his 32nd home of the season in the eighth inning which ties Eric Chavez for the most in a season by an Athletics third baseman.
Oakland now has six players with 20-plus home runs which is a franchise record.
A’s pitchers combined for a total of 19 strike outs on Saturday night – a season high.
Spotlight on Detroit
Jordan Zimmerman allowed six earned runs for the first time since July 19. He previously had allowed a total of seven earned runs in four career starts against the A’s. Zimmerman is now 1-10 on the season.
Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 in the game which gave him a team-leading 38th multiple-hit game for 2019. It was also the 804th multiple-hit game of his career tying him with Ivan Rodriguez for 39th-most in MLB history.
Harold Castro had 4-for-4 game with the bat with two RBI for the Tigers. That tied his season high.
The Tigers have not had a winning record versus the AL West since 2014. They are 53-112 against the division since 2015.
LHP Sean Manaea (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the ball for the A’s and make his second start of the season to close out this three-game series with the Tigers. He had a no-decision in first start of the season last Sunday in New York against the Yankees. The Tigers will counter with LHP Daniel Norris (3-11, 4.76 ERA). He had a no-decision in his last start on Tuesday in Kansas City.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM at the Oakland Coliseum.
Shouldn’t the infield fly rule have been called?
In the top of the first inning with runners at first and second and one out, the Tigers Christin Stewart hit an infield fly into foul territory on the third-base side. The wind then pushed the ball back into the field of play. Matt Chapman attempted to catch the ball but was unable to do so. Marcus Semien picked the ball up and tossed it to Bassitt who was covering third. The pitcher stepped on the bag and Harold Castro – the runner at second was called out. Bassitt then alertly threw the ball to Profar who stepped on second base and Miguel Cabrera – the runner at first was called out on what scored as a 6-1-4 double play.
As a former amateur umpire, I was immediately looking for one of the four umpires to have his right arm up in the air to indicate that the infield fly rule was in effect. I was shocked when no call such call was being made. So was Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire who immediately came out to discuss the situation with the Homeplate umpire – Dan Bellino.
The umpires explained that the infield fly rule is to be called when the ball can be caught with “ordinary effort”. The “men in blue” said in their opinion Chapman would have needed to use extraordinary effort to have made the catch of Stewart’s fly ball, so the infield fly rule did not apply.
In this reporter’s opinion (and as a former umpire), the umpiring crew was caught off guard when an apparent foul ball came back into fair territory.
sfgate.com photo: New York Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu hits the game-winning walk-off home run in the 11th inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in New York.
On the A’s podcast with Joey:
#1 A’s almost pulled off another win at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, but the Yankees were on a mission. After getting swept in the Yankees last meeting with the A’s and dropping the first game of the series the Bronx Bombers were not allowing it to happen in game two of the series as they pulled off a 4-3 11th inning win to tie the series.
#2 DJ LeMahieu hit the game-winning blast and walked off with the game-winning hit. LeMahieu is one of many key players who have been heroic in some of the Yankees wins this season.
#3 The A’s came into New York and after sweeping the Yankees in three in Oakland, and you have to know after losing the first game to open this series, the Yankees were saying no more.
#4 The Yanks’ Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez each homered and Judge made a catch to rob the A’s Matt Chapman of a home run in the top of the 10th.
#5 Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will get a start his first appearance since last season. He’ll be matched up against New York Yankees starter J.A. Happ (11-8, 5.57 ERA) for the finale of the series at Yankee Stadium.
NEW YORK — The Oakland Athletics lost to the New York Yankees for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon, 4-3 in 11 innings, after DJ LeMahieu hit a home run on Lou Trivino’s first pitch in the 11th inning.
Trevino allowed no runs in two innings before throwing a fastball that LeMahieu hit right field out of the ballpark, his second walk-off hit of the season.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he has seen signs of Trivino and pitcher Blake Treinen, who allowed no runs in the ninth inning, “pitching better recently” and “hopefully it’s a trend.”
The Yankees gained momentum in the first inning when Gary Sanchez hit a home run on a fly ball to left field for a 1-0 lead.
Oakland responded in the fourth inning when Matt Olson hit a homer on a fly ball to right center field, and Matt Chapman scored, putting the A’s up 2-1. But in the fifth inning, Sanchez hit another home run on a fly ball to right center field to tie the game at 2-2.
The A’s took a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning when Chapman doubled on a line drive to left field, allowing Robbie Grossman to score. New York evened the score at 3-3 in the eight inning when Aaron Judge hit a home run off Joakim Soriaon on a fly ball to right field, and the game went into extra innings. All of New York’s runs were solo home runs.
“That was kind of the theme of the game today—solo shots,” A’s starting pitcher Homer Bailey said.
Oakland left 15 players on base and was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. A’s manager Bob Melvin did not think (too bad).
“You leave 15 on, it comes back to bite you at some time,” Melvin said. “But you know what, we came back and the lead and were one pitch away from going into the ninth inning with it and Chappie’s ball, unless you have a 10-foot outfielder in right field, it probably goes out.”
Melvin concluded “it’s a game of inches today,” and, “sometimes they don’t come through, most times here recently, they do.”
A’s batter Mark Canha said the bullpen gave them opportunities and “we just couldn’t do it.”
“We just have to have some better at-bats tomorrow because I felt like we were just bon the cusp of breaking it open a few times,” Canha said. “We just needed that one hit and it didn’t work out unfortunately.”
The A’s beat the Yankees 3-0 in Oakland and won Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The A’s (78-57) and Yankees (89-48) play the last game of the series, tied at 1-1, Sunday with first pitch at 1:05 p.m. ET.
#1 The Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants Bay Bridge Series was expected to be a real Battle of the Bay since both teams are vying for a wild card birth. The Giants ended up winning the two-game series with a 10-6 win on Saturday and a 5-4 win on Sunday took a loss on Monday night in San Francisco to Arizona 6-4.
#2 The A’s had a breakdown in their bullpen in each of the two games. Frustration took hold when A’s reliever Ryan Butcher threw high and inside to Giants catcher Stephen Vogt, who hit the dirt. No warnings were drawn. Vogt hit a grand slam home-run off Butcher on Saturday and Vogt said he had his suspicions about Butcher’s pitch since he’s noted to have decent control.
#3 The Oakland Raiders quarterbacks have the confidence of Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Gruden said starting quarterback Derek Carr, backups Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman all had good preseasons and the Raiders are expected to come out of the gate strong. The Raiders head to Century Link in Seattle for the final pre season game against the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.
#4 San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has a great outing in his last preseason game on Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs after having a tough preseason. Garoppolo threw for 14-20, 188 yards, and one touchdown. The 49ers host the San Diego Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
#5 Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who announced his retirement from football over the weekend, said that it was not fun anymore waking up each day to pain, rehab, and more pain. It was repeat and repeat again. He at 29 year old said it’s unlikely he will return to the NFL.
sfgate.com photo: Oakland Athletics’ Mark Canha, right, is congratulated by third base coach Matt Williams after hitting a solo home run against the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Oakland.
On the A’s podcast with Charlie O:
#1 Did A’s reliever Ryan Butcher really go head hunting on former Athletic and Giant catcher Stephen Vogt on Sunday after Vogt hit a grand slam on Saturday off Butcher? Butcher put Vogt on his backside with an up and in fastball.
#2 How bad is the A’s bullpen after having a breakdown Saturday and Sunday? They certainly looked a lot different than they did from the Houston and New York series.
#3 Evan Longoria had a day on Sunday with a go-ahead two-run single that helped get the Giants a two-run win over the A’s. Longoria also hit for his 17th home run of the season.
#4 Despite the loss, the A’s Mark Canha hit for multi-home runs and made a spectacular catch in center field. A’s manager Bob Melvin said he’s seen him good before, but can’t recall ever seeing him be this good.
#5 The A’s are in Kansas City for four games. Charlie tells us how important this series is and can the A’s keep pace in the wild card race?