Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury Pi Gonzalez:
#1 The A’s are in the middle of a five-game losing streak. They took Monday off and open up a road trip in Anaheim and Texas after getting swept by Houston. Is this a laundry list of things that manager Bob Melvin has to be concerned about?
#2 Frankie Montas will start on Tuesday night and has pretty much been the bright note in the A’s pitching rotation at 6-2, 2.81 ERA. Sometimes, it takes a spark to get things going again and Montas has had some games where he has been lights out.
#3 Free agent Dallas Keuchel is still up for grabs. He hasn’t pitched all season. Once signed, could he jump right in and help a ball club right away?
#4 Another free agent is the former Boston Red Sox pitcher Craig Kimbrel, who can also help a club. He hasn’t thrown a pitch since the World Series. Could Kimbrel be ready once he’s called on.
#5 The Giants are playing on the road this past week against two last place clubs, including the Baltimore Orioles. What does getting a couple win off the Orioles mean for the Giants after struggling much of this season and opened up the series in New York with a 9-3 win over the Mets ?
Just when it looked like a no-hitter was going to be pitched against the Oakland Athletics by Eduardo Rodriguez on Sunday, a 19-second video review overturned a call at first that would have been the third out in the bottom of the eighth inning and the bid for a no-hitter was over. Frankly, what happened next was unexpected.
The Red Sox brought in closer Craig Kimbrel to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning of the scoreless game. Danny Valencia led off the inning with a base on balls. With the potential winning run at first, the power-hitting Khris Davis came to the plate and hit a double to left field. Boston left fielder Brock Holt had trouble fielding the ball and Valencia was able to come home for the winning run. Davis was credited with a double and Holt was charged with an error so the run was unearned.
The Athletics defeated the Red Sox 1-0 in the final game of the three-game series. For the A’s, they score one run on just two hits while leaving six men on base. Oakland committed one error. Boston scored no runs off six hits and left nine men on base. The Red Sox committed two errors in the game.
On the Bump
It was a day that was all about pitching. The A’s had given up 27 runs in the first two games versus the Red Sox. Oakland needed a shutdown performance to give them a chance to salvage a win in the final game of the series.
A’s starter Kendall Graveman (10-9, 3.81) gave his team that chance on Sunday. He worked 6.1 scoreless innings for his team. Graveman struck out seven and walked just two. He threw 112 pitches (71 strikes).
A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game that the key to the win was Graveman’s ability to work his way out of a bases loaded situation in the top of the fourth inning.
For all of his hard efforts, Graveman earns a no decision for the day.
Ryan Dull came on to relieve Graveman in the seventh inning with runners at first and second. Dull closed out the seventh and faced just four batters in the eighth inning to keep the shutout intact.
Closer Ryan Madson was brought in for the top of the ninth inning. He put the side down in order to keep Boston without a run on the board. Madson was the pitcher of record when Valencia scored the winning run so he picks up the win. Madson is now 5-4 on the season.
Graveman, Dull and Madson combined to shutout a very powerful Boston Red Sox team.
For most of the game, it appeared that Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 4.83) would be the story of the contest by pitching a no-hitter. The Red Sox left-hander was in command on the mound right from the beginning of the game. He struck out five and walked just two batters. Rodriguez had three 1-2-3 innings.
Rodriguez was cruising to another three-up, three-down inning when the unthinkable happened. With two out and Marcus Semien at the plate, the A’s shortstop hit a ball right back to the mound at the feet of the pitcher. Rodriguez could not find the ball. When Rodriguez finally found the ball, he fired it to first and Semien was called out. Almost immediately, the A’s were calling for a review and the umpires initiated a review because it was after the seventh inning.
It only took 19-seconds for video control in New York to overturn the call and Semien was called safe. That was all for the no hit bid. Rodriguez got Jake Smolinski to ground out to end the eighth inning.
Rodriguez pitched 8.0-innings giving up no runs on one hit. He struck out five and walked two. He threw 110 pitches (72 strikes). Rodriguez is now 0-2 with a 2.83 ERA in his last five starts.
Craig Kimbrel takes the loss for the Sox. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked one hitter. Kimbrel’s record falls to 2-4 for the year.
In the Batter’s Box
The Khris Davis double was the highlight for the Athletics on Sunday. Davis went 1-for-4 in the game including two strike outs but kept his concentration and aggressiveness when his team needed it the most. For Davis, it was his 20th double of the year and his 85th RBI.
It was Big Papi’s last appearance at the Coliseum on Sunday and things did not go the way he would have liked them go. Ortiz went 0-for-2 on the day with two walks.
Rookie Yoan Moncada went 2-for-4 for his second consecutive multi-hit game.
In the Field
The Red Sox $60-million man – Rookie Yoan Moncada – committed his first big league error on Sunday. In the bottom of the second inning, Moncada attempted to field a ground ball hit to third by Ryon Healy. Moncada did not get in front of the ball and wound up waving at the ball with his glove as it bounced by him into left field. Even top prospects are humbled by the baseball.
Danny Valencia was charged with an error in the fourth inning when his throw to Marcus Semien drew the shortstop off the bag and allowed the runner to be called safe in what should have been a force out. The runner was originally called out and the Red Sox had to challenge the call. It took 1-minute 19-seconds for the original call to be overturned and for the error to be charged to Valencia.
Up Next – Here come the rookies
The A’s will host the LA Angels for a three-game series that will get underway on Monday afternoon at 1:05 PM. That game will feature the debut of RHP Raul Alcantara for the Athletics. Alcantara began the season at Double-A Midland and was then promoted to Triple-A Nashville. Alcantara made eight starts at Nashville and posted a 4-0 record with a 1.18 ERA.
LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 4.66) will start for Oakland on Tuesday night. The Angels have not named a starter.
The Wednesday afternoon game will feature another Major League debut as RHP Jharel Cotton will take the mound for the A’s. Cotton came to the A’s from the Dodgers as a part of the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill trade. Cotton made six starts for the Sounds and recorded a 3-1 record with a 2.82 ERA. One of those wins was a one-hitter that came very close to being a no-hitter. That performance won Cotton the PCL Player of the Week.
Alcantara and Cotton will be the 11th and 12th rookie pitchers to appear for the A’s this season. They will be the 26th and 27th pitchers used by Oakland in 2016.