Where’s the O in Oakland? A’s are looking for it after quiet 4-1 loss to the Angels

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–Thirteen times in 37 games the A’s haven’t given themselves a chance. In the cavernous, sparsely populated Coliseum, you can hear what everyone’s asking.

Where’s the offense?

The A’s got a high quality start from Frankie Montas but did little to support it in 4-1 loss to the Angels on Sunday. Thirteen times the A’s have scored one or no runs, and they lost for the 12th time on Sunday under those limitations.

The A’s finished with five hits, proof they couldn’t solve Patrick Sandoval or reliever Jimmy Herget. Both pitchers had their moments of vulnerability, but the A’s never produced a breakthrough. Eleven at-bats with a runner in scoring position were squandered. The A’s only run came on Sean Murphy’s ground out with Jed Lowrie breaking to the plate from third.

The hosts could claim fatigue. In a once in a career type week with nine games in seven days, the A’s finished 5-4, but lost three of the last four to their Southern California rivals.

Last season–with Matt Olson and Matt Chapman leading their offense–the A’s won 15 of 19 against the Angels. This season the health of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, along with the emergence of Taylor Ward have allowed the Angels to turn things around. They’re tied for first place with the Astros, and Sunday’s win moved them 11 games over .500 for the first time in nearly three years.

“Our goal is to win within our division,” Maddon said. “That’s a big goal of ours this year. We were horrible at it last year, and especially against Oakland. They beat up on us like a drum last year. We have to get better within our division. We’ve got to win series like this on the road.”

Ohtani capped his best series in Oakland with a loud, two-run shot off Montas in the first inning. On Saturday, Ohtani hit his 100th home run in the second game of the scheduled doubleheader.

“Not many people hit Montas but I don’t know, that was 97 mph elevated and he got all of it. When he’s starting to get to that, heads up.”

Anaheim nursed a 2-1 lead until the eighth when they came up with single runs in the eighth and ninth to put the game away.

On Monday, the A’s loaded stretch of games continues with the Twins visiting the Coliseum. Zach Logue will be recalled from AAA Las Vegas and make his third, big league start for the A’s in a match-up with the Twins’ Chris Archer.

Capable Yet Culpable: A’s lead briefly, but lose 4-3 to the Twins, their ninth, straight loss

By Morris Phillips

The A’s went from virtually no offense on Saturday to a key lineup addition and a little bit of offense on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough. The struggling ballclub still dropped its ninth straight, losing to the Twins 4-3.

If you’re concerned, grab a bat. This club needs all the help it can get apparently.

The A’s enjoyed a brief, 3-1 lead over the Twins and starter Chris Paddack in the third, but Paddack apparently wasn’t right, and after motioning to the Twins’ dugout, Paddack departed with what was later described as elbow discomfort. The injury was disturbing news for the hosts. It also was a clear moment of changing momentum as well.

The Twins answered with three runs in the bottom of the third, first on Jose Miranda’s RBI double, then Jorge Polanco’s two-run single off Daulton Jeffries. Jeffries went seven, but suffered the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits. After winning his first decision this season, Cal alum Jeffries has dropped five, consecutive decisions, and continues to struggle with opponent’s high, on-base percentage which translates to heavy traffic on the bases.

The A’s welcomed back Ramon Laureano from his lengthy, PED suspension, but were without Stephen Piscotty, Jed Lowrie and starting pitcher Cole Irvin. The absences have hurt a club desperate for talent and experience, which is reflected in the length of losing streak, and their statistics which have them last in on-base percentage and hitting just .170 as a team over their previous 13 games combined.

The Twins have 11 players currently on the injured list, but the effect on their play isn’t as noticeable. The Twins won Sunday for the ninth, consecutive time at Target Field. Their most notable absence prior to the game’s start was Byron Buxton, the hard hitting outfielder who shelved due to a “low-level” hip strain.

The A’s struck first–in the first– in a manner unlikely for a team that has scratched together the bare minimum offensively the last two weeks with three, consecutive base hits with two outs. Chad Pinder delivered the third single, scoring Sean Murphy. In the third, Seth Brown knocked in a pair of runs with a base hit that preceded Paddack’s exit.

The A’s haven’t won since splitting the two-game series with the Giants. Since then they’ve been swept by the Guardians, Rays and now the Twins. The A’s open a series with the Tigers in Detroit on Monday with Paul Blackburn getting the start, opposed by the Tigers’ Michael Pineda.

“We’ve just got to keep swinging it and it will fall come the next couple series,” Jeffries said.

No Doubt Clout: A’s sweep the Giants, win 15-3 with thunderous home run display

By Morris Phillips

Normally, a trip to Oracle Park doesn’t prompt an offensive breakout. But these aren’t normal times: from protective masks, empty stadiums to overnight thunderstorms by the Bay, baseball in 2020 has a different rhythm.

The A’s undoubtedly have caught that rhythm. And they’re not a normal team, in fact, through 22 games of a two-month season, they’re exceptional.

Friday and Saturday, the A’s were merely good when they absolutely had to be, winning with a pair of epic, ninth inning rallies. On Sunday, they were fabulous from first pitch to last, drubbing the Giants 15-3 behind 17 hits, nine of which went for extra bases including a pair of massive homers.

“For a while we were winning close games, getting big hits and the pitching was ruling the day,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It seems the bats have woken up some.”

Melvin said woken, Oakland fans might say hella woke after Chad Pinder–first pitch swinging in a pinch-hitting role–touched off a three-homer, fifth inning with a majestic bomb that left the park traveling at 112 mph.

The reaction from the Oakland dugout to the crack of the bat reverberating through a near-silent ballpark? Priceless.

The cheers from Pinder’s fast reacting teammates almost seem verbalized, as in “I’ve seen home runs, but not like this..”

Pinder entered a 2-2 game, as Giants’ starter Logan Webb departed, and manager Gabe Kapler summoned lefty reliever Wandy Peralta to face Tony Kemp. Melvin played a hunch that the righty-hitting Pinder could incite a rally. The manager’s intuition–as often happens with hot clubs–was spot on. Pinder’s two-run shot led to a nine-run outburst that put the game away.

After Pinder struck, Mark Canha tripled home two runs, Stephen Piscotty hit a three-run shot, and Marcus Semien add a two-run blast. Incredibly, Piscotty’s homer measured thirty feet further than Pinder’s, and one-hopped the bleachers’ concourse.

“Not even in batting practice have I seen a ball go up there,” Melvin said afterwards via Zoom chat. “It looked like it was headed for the glove (yes, the giant-sized, leather glove above the concourse).”

Mike Fiers went six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, and picked up the win. His 91-pitch effort was his lengthiest to date.

The A’s have won 13 of 15 after a 2-4 start to the season. Their 16-6 record is the best in the Majors.

Are they the best team in baseball? Maybe, maybe not, but they certainly looked like it in sweeping the Giants.

NOTES: Through 22 games, the A’s are a statistical conundrum that makes perfect sense when combined with these two facts: they don’t have any significant injuries, and after winning 95 games in back-to-back seasons with that group returning almost intact, they have more confidence-building experience than their opponents, especially on offense.

When have the A’s been able to say either of those two statements?

Now the conundrum: the A’s entered Sunday with a .219 team batting average, which ranked them 14th in the American League, ahead of only Cleveland (.196!!). But the A’s have drawn 92 walks (3rd in the AL), and been hit by a pitch 17 times (1st).

A dramatic juxtaposition indeed, the walks and hit batters keep the A’s above water despite their anemic batting average. But here’s an even more startling statistical twist.

The A’s have struck out 221 times in 22 games, more than 10 times a game, and the second most in baseball behind only the Braves, who struck out 16 times in their 4-0 win over Miami on Sunday.

Balancing those strikeouts? The A’s have hit 35 home runs, more than three for every two games played, a high number of which have come late in games to either tie, lead or win.

And making all those disparate offensive numbers sing? The A’s pitching staff has compiled a 3.49 ERA, fifth best in baseball, and a number almost a full run lower than the MLB average (4.41). When you have to wait a full nine innings for an offense to kick in, you need a pitching staff that keeps you in the game. The A’s staff does that.

A’s-Giants series numbers for the A’s offensively: 29 strikeouts (14 on Saturday), 35 hits (17 on Sunday), nine home runs (multiple homers in an inning, once in each of the three games), 15 walks (five off starter Logan Webb, who departed in the fifth inning on Sunday).






Oakland A’s podcast Joey Friedman: A’s keeping pace with Rays in AL Wild Card race; Road to the World Series goes through Houston and New York

photo from sfgate.com: Oakland Athletics’ Chad Pinder, right, celebrates with Ramon Laureano (22) after hitting a three-run home run off Texas Rangers’ Mike Minor during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Oakland, Calif

On the A’s podcast with Joey Friedman:

#1 The A’s are keeping up with the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card race. The A’s are ahead of Tampa Bay by two games close out their series on Sunday with Texas and then the Rays host the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

#2 Is it true Joey that the A’s could stand in the way of the New York Yankees and Houston Astros dreams to get to the World Series? Either way, one of those three teams is the road to the World Series.

#3 Oakland A’s starter Mike Fiers has been the ace all season long on Friday night he went eight innings, two hits, and struck out five throwing 95 pitches and kept the visiting Texas Rangers off balance for the 8-0 win. Fiers has been doing it all season and improved his record to 15-4.

#4 Oakland A’s broadcaster Ken Korach, whose always been available to talk with his colleagues in the press, was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Korach has been broadcasting A’s baseball since 1996 amongst his highlights calling the Oakland A’s 2002 20 consecutive game win streak and he mentioned on the scoreboard vision Friday night during a pre game sit down that his biggest highlight of all-time came when Dallas Braden threw a no-hitter on Mother’s Day May 9th 2010 not only to call the game, but Ken said he got emotional remembering his late mother during the moment when Braden embraced his mother after the game.

#5 The A’s close out their regular home season schedule Sunday against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland Coliseum. For the Rangers, Lance Lynn (14-11, 3.77 ERA), and for Oakland, Tanner Roark (10-8, 4.12 ERA).

Joey does the A’s podcasts Sundays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: A’s go for it tonight as there’s a chance to sweep Yanks at Coliseum

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 With the Oakland Raiders playing just one preseason game in the Oakland Coliseum surface, the outfield always gets scuffed up. How much of a role does that play in the A’s injuries?

#2 The A’s have three players that were out due to injuries that are back in the lineup: First baseman Matt Olson (hand), DH Khris Davis (oblique), right fielder Stephen Piscotty (knee), and center-fielder Ramon Laureano (shin). Laureano was not in the lineup on Wednesday night against the New York Yankees.

#3 The A’s starting pitcher from Wednesday night Mike Fiers has one of the best records in the American League and pitched against the Yankees. Tell us about how Fiers does it all season long.

#4 We’ve talked about Chad Pinder has just about done it all covering for open positions and has pulled it off. Talk about how valuable Pinder has been for Oakland.

#5 The starters for Thursday for the Yankees Masahiro Tanaka (9-6, 4.56 ERA) for the Oakland A’s Tanner Roark (7-8, 4.01 ERA) to conclude the series in Oakland.

Join Jerry each Thursday for the A’s podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Charlie O: Pinder is doing it all, relieving 4 players during their IL

Photo credit: sports.yahoo.com

On the A’s podcast with Charlie O:

#1 Oakland A’s outfielder Chad Pinder is turning into a designated utility guy with the A’s injuries piling up and in the middle of the wild card chase.

#2 Injuries on the club include, first baseman Matt Olson (hand), DH Khris Davis (oblique), right fielder Stephen Piscotty (knee), and center-fielder Ramon Laureano (shin).

#3 Pinder has picked up the slack filling in for Olson, Davis, Piscotty and Laureano which speaks to his talents and ability. A’s manager Bob Melvin said that he very significant to the team.

#4 Taking a look at the A’s series with the New York Yankees that opens up on Tuesday night. The Yankees will start Domingo German (16-2, 3.96 ERA), and for the A’s, Homer Bailey (10-8, 5.22 ERA).

Charlie O does the A’s podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: After 10 days on the road, A’s host Astros on Thursday night

Photo credit: athleticsnation.com

On the A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 Stephen Piscotty has been out with the flu and had an injury earlier this season. How important is it to have him back in right field and back in the lineup?

#2 A’s second baseman Jurickson Profar continues to struggle with the glove and the A’s have called up minor leaguer Corban Joseph. Joseph was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. Joseph hit .371, an OPS of 1.006, 13 homers, 73 RBIs, 63 runs in 381 at-bats.

#3 The A’s started Chad Pinder at second on Tuesday night against the Giants’ Pinder, whose been clutch in late innings, and wasn’t able to help the A’s overcome a one-run deficit. He struck out four times and was 0-4 against the Giants at the plate.

#4 A’s pitcher Sean Manaea is a work in progress, going 5 2/3 innings against in rehab at Triple-A Las Vegas in the game. He gave up a run and had 10 strikeouts and A’s manager Bob Melvin is anxious to get him back.

#5 The A’s host the Houston Astros on Thursday night. It’s the A’s first time back home after a 10-day road trip. The Astros, who lead the AL West will start Aaron Sanchez (5-14, 5.60 ERA) and for the A’s Mike Fiers (11-3, 3.30 ERA).

Join Jerry for the A’s podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s come up short on the South Side on Saturday night, lose to the Sox 3-2

Graphic/Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics (66-51) lost to the Chicago White Sox (52-63) 3-2 on Saturday in Game two of their three-game series. The A’s were held scoreless until the top of the ninth inning when they scored to two runs on an unusual play.

With two out and Alex Colome on the mound for the Sox, Marcus Semien hit a single to left-center field. Chad Pinder then doubled to left field and Semien moved to third base. Matt Chapman hit a hot drive down the third baseline that Ryan Goins could not handle and it traveled into left field. Semien and Pinder were able to score easily while Chapman stopped at second base on what would be scored as a two-base error.

With the score 3-2 and the tying at second base, Khris Davis was the next batter for Oakland. Colome was able to strike Davis out to end the game and earn the win for the White Sox.

Focus on the A’s

  • Tanner Roark was tagged with the loss in his second start for the A’s. His record drops to 7-8 for the season. Roark worked 6.2 innings giving up three runs (two earned) off six hits. He walked none and struck out seven batters. Roark is 1-1 with the A’s with a 2.41 ERA in two starts.
  • The A’s are 4-1 versus the White Sox this season. Oakland has outscored Chicago 30-8.
  • The A’s have loved playing American League Central teams this season. They are 16-5 versus AL Central teams this year.
  • Mark Canha has hit safely in each of his last 11 games versus the White Sox.
  • Matt Chapman is batting .400 (10-for-25) against the Sox this season.
  • Stephen Piscotty has gone 8-for-25 (.320) with two homers and five RBI over seven games since coming off the injured list on August 3rd.

Checking in on the Sox

  • The White Sox ended a four-game losing streak with their win over the A’s on Saturday.
  • This was the Sox first victory over the Athletics in more than a year.
  • Game-winning pitcher Reynaldo Lopez earned wins in consecutive starts for the first time since September 2018. He is now 7-9 for the season.
  • Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak to nine games.
  • Leury Garcia has reached base safely in a career-high 20 games.
  • Eloy Jimenez hit his 19th home run of the season off Roark in the fifth inning. It was a 410-foot blast right-center field.

Up Next

The A’s and White Sox will wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Oakland will send RHP Chris Bassitt (7-5, 3.80 ERA) to the mound. He earned a no-decision in his last start against the Cubs when worked six innings giving up two runs (both earned) off eight hits. Bassitt will face Lucas Giolito (12-5, 3.44 ERA). Giolito was a winner in his last start versus the Tigers when he pitched six innings giving up three runs (two earned) off eight hits. He walked two and struck out eight batters.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 am PDT.

Fiers is on fire, leads the A’s to an 8-3 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday

Cards 1
Chris Herrmann celebrates scoring a run Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics have become the St. Louis Cardinals’ worst nightmare. Back in June, the A’s swept their two-game series in St. Louis. On Saturday night, the A’s never trailed in game one of the two-game series in Oakland.

The Athletics jumped on the Cardinals early on Saturday night when they scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning off the Cards starting pitcher Dakota Hudson. The A’s sent eight batters to the plate collecting two hits, two walks, and one hit batsman. It became very apparent that it was going to be a short evening for Hudson.

The A’s scored two more runs in the bottom of the second inning. Oakland sent seven hitters to bat in the inning taking advantage of a double, sacrifice fly, two walks and one passed ball.

The Cardinals closed the gap to 5-2 by the end of 6 1/2 innings, but Chad Pinder hit a two-out three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to make an 8-2 score. The Cardinals’ Lane Thomas hit a pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning which made the final score 8-3 in favor of the A’s.

Oakland is now 63-48 on the season — 8.5 games back of Houston in the AL West and 1/2 game out of the second Wild Card slot behind Tampa Bay. St. Louis falls to 58-51 and into second place in NL Central — 1/2 game behind the Cubs. The Cardinals now are in the number one Wild Card slot in the National League.

Focus on the A’s

Fiers line
Graphic: @Athletics

  • Mike Fiers pitched 5.2 innings and allowed just one run en route to his 10th win of the season. Fiers now owns the second-longest active winning streak in the American League with eight wins. His last loss was May 1st. Fiers struck out four, walked just one while giving up six hits. He made 94 pitches. In his postgame comments, manager Bob Melvin said he wanted to keep Fiers pitch count down tonight.
  • Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-3 plus a hit-by-pitch in his first game back from the injury list.
  • Khris Davis extended his hitting streak to five games. He is batting .320 (7-for-20) over those five games. Davis scored a run in the fifth inning of the game.
  • Matt Chapman put a three-walk game into the scorebook for the second time this season. He did it versus the Rangers back on April 23rd. Chapman scored a run in the first inning of the contest.
  • Chad Pinder was brought to pinch-hit for Grossman in the bottom of the seventh inning with two out and two runners on base. Pinder hit an 0-2 pitch from Tyler Webb over the left-field fence for a three-run home — his 10th of the year. Skipper Bob mentioned after the game that this team really uses everyone on the 25-man roster. Everyone is ready to contribute at all times.
  • “Mr. I can play anywhere coach” — Mark Canha had a 2-for-5 night with the bat and drove in two runs. So far this season, Canha has played all three outfield positions and first base for the A’s.

Athletics roster changes

  • Stephen Piscotty has rejoined the team. He was placed on the 10-day IL back on June 30 with a knee sprain. Piscotty went to Las Vegas for a rehab assignment where he played three games in the outfield and two at designated hitter.
  • The A’s claimed catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. Garneau is a right-handed hitter while Chris Herrmann is a lefty (Josh Phegley is on the IL due to a deeply bruised thumb). Garneau is familiar with some of the Oakland pitchers as he played 19 games with the A’s in 2017 plus seeing them in head to head competition.
  • Infielder Franklin Barreto has been optioned back to Triple-A Las Vegas. He was hitting just .106 at the time he was sent down. Manager Bob Melvin commented that Barreto had nothing left to prove at Triple-A which means it could be the end of the road for the infielder and the Athletics organization.

Cardinals watch

  • Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson walked a season-high five batters in just 3.2 innings of work on the mound. His record drops to 10-6 for the season after being charged with the loss.
  • Paul DeJong had a 2-for-4 game with an RBI. He now has a career monthly best 43 RBI in August. He is second for the Cards in total bases with 185.
  • Lane Thomas hit his second home run of the season in the top of the ninth inning. Both of his home runs have come when he has been a pinch-hitter.

Up next

A’s fans will get their first look at RHP Tanner Roark on Sunday. Roark came to the A’s at the trade deadline from the Cincinnati Reds for minor league outfielder Jameson Hannah. Roark was 6-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 21 starts for the Reds.

The Cardinals will counter with RHP Adam Wainwright, who is 7-7 with a 4.47 ERA so far in 2019. Wainwright started against Oakland back on June 26 in St. Louis. He lost that game 2-0. Wainwright worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs (both earned) off seven hits. He walked one, struck out nine, but he gave up two home runs. Wainwright will be a free agent at the end of the season.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM PDT.

Oakland A’s podcast with Charlie O for Jerry Feitelberg: 6 home runs for A’s, but is the ball really juiced?; Bailey makes debut

Photo credit sfgate.com: Oakland Athletics’ Mark Canha, right, is congratulated by third base coach Matt Williams (4) after hitting a home run off Seattle Mariners’ Tommy Milone in the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Oakland, Calif

On the A’s podcast with Charlie O for Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 Is the ball juiced? There were six home runs hit during the A’s-Mariners game in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon.

#2 A’s hit six home runs Wednesday from Jurickson Profar 12th and 13th, Mark Canha 14th and 15th, Chad Pinder 8th, and Ramon Laureano 19th. In this lineup, you just never know who is going to get a base knock, but on Wednesday, it was everybody.

#3 A’s starter Homer Bailey debuted for Oakland pitching six innings, two earned runs and six strikeouts. He might be what the doctor ordered for the A’s rotation.

#4 The Mariners have had a rough trip so far in Anaheim. They got no hit on Tyler Skaggs night. the odds were not with them that night, then in Oakland, the Mariners getting swept in a two-game series by a hot A’s club. Most likely will be sellers at the trade deadline.

#5 A’s head to Minnesota for a four-game series starting on Thursday night at Target Field. For the A’s, Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.61 ERA), and for the Twins, Kyle Gibson (8-4, 4.03 ERA).

Catch the A’s podcast with Charlie O for Jerry Feitelberg Thursdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com