Headline Sports podcast with Michael Roberson: Gallo heads to Dodgers; Dolphins owner suspended until Oct 17th; Broncos Patrick out for season

New York Yankees Joey Gallo who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tue Aug 2, 2022 struggled at the plate with the Yankees and gets a chance to swing the bats for the Dodgers (AP file photo)

On Headline Sports with Michael Roberson:

#1 Michael wanted to review with you some of this week’s big baseball deals on Tuesday the New York Yankees sent Joey Gallo to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gallo had not been productive and the Yankees got the itch to send Gallo packing. Gallo was hitting .159 with 25 home runs, 46 RBIs, Gallo did strike out plenty 194 times in 421 at bats.

#2 Gallo was getting booed by the Yankee fans and his ability to move runners over and score had fans riding him at every at bat. Towards the end Gallo was benched. Manager Aaron Boone said he respected Gallo for the way he worked and carried himself and that Boone will be rooting for Gallo from afar.

#3 Speaking of the Yankees Boone said he was excited about obtaining pitchers Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino. It won’t be long that Yankee fans will get a look at Montas who threw for 104 2/3 innings, 109 strikeouts, with 28 walks, and gave up 12 home runs for 3.18 ERA for the A’s.

#4 Turning to football Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been suspended by the NFL for tampering after trying to contact quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton in an attempt to inquire about Brady and Payton’s services. Ross had been suspended through Oct 17th and after an investigation the Dolphins were trying to tank games in 2019 proved to be inconclusive after former head coach Brian Flores refused to throw games so the Dolphins would get a better draft position. Flores later ended up filing a discrimination suit against the Dolphins. Flores was told Ross was mad that he didn’t compromise football games.

#5 Michael talk about the Denver Broncos losing wide receiver Tim Patrick due to a torn ACL in his right right knee putting him out for the season. Patrick in practice on Tuesday caught a pass in front of Essang Bassey and while running up field his knee give out and he fell to the ground with the torn ACL injury.

Join Michael Roberson for Headline Sports on Wednesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Preview: Montas and Trivino head to the Big Apple; Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels open three game series at the Big A in Anaheim Tuesday

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s are set to start a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday night. The A’s had scheduled Frankie Montas to pitch in the opening game. All that went out the window Monday afternoon as the A’s announced they had traded Montas, along with reliever Lou Trivino to the New York Yankees for four prospects.

Montas was under team control through 2023, but the A’s moved him to continue selling assets for prospects. Trivino was not having a good year as the A’s closer. Both players will now be in the playoffs as the Yanks have the best record in baseball. New York sent four Minor Leaguers to Oakland for Montas and Trivino. Here’s how the trade went down: left-hander Ken Waldichuk (the club’s number five prospect, per MLB Pipeline), right-hander Luis Medina number ten, lefty JP Sears number 20, and second baseman Cooper Bowman number 21.

“I feel great. I’m excited about it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “[Montas] is a great pitcher. There have been rumors around him most of the first half of the season. I’m excited we could push through on a deal for him. I’m just excited to get him into the mix because of his talent, especially with how he’s pitched the last couple of years.”

TRADE DETAILS

Yankees get: RHPs Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino

A’s get LHPs Ken Waldichuk and JP Sears, RHP Luis Medina, 2B Cooper Bowman. 

Tuesday night in Anaheim: The A’s have scheduled Cole Irvin to pitch Tuesday night. Irvin has pitched well. He is 6-7, and his ERA is 3.01. The A’s have not announced the starters for the Wednesday or Thursday night game. The Angels’ Noah Syndergaard (5-8, 3.83 ERA) goes Tuesday night. The American League’s reigning MVP, Shohei Ohtani (9-6, 2.81 ERA), will pitch on Wednesday, and lefty Jose Suarez will handle the chores for the Halos Thursday.

The Angels have had a very disappointing season this year. The Halos hoped to improve both the starting rotation and the bullpen. They thought they would contend for the AL West crown this year. They played well early in the season, but a 14 game losing streak derailed those hopes. They fired their manager, Joe Maddon, and replaced him with Phil Nevin. Injuries have also played a key role in the Angels’ frustrations.

The Angels gave the former Washington Nationals’ third baseman a huge contract before the 2020 season. Rendon has not played a full season yet. Currently, Rendon is on the 60-day IL. Their sparkplug shortstop/ second baseman, David Fletcher, has played sparingly due to injury.

Fletcher loves to see the Green and Gold. He has tormented the A’s in the past and hopes to get things going in the three-game set. The Angels’ three-time MVP, Mike Trout, is on the 10-day IL. Trout has a back injury. The A’s want him to get well soon, but not until the three-game series is over.

Some of the other players that the A’s will hope to contain are first baseman Jared Walsh, second baseman/shortstop Luis Rengifo, and David Fletcher. The Angels’ outfielders include Brandon Marsh, Taylor Ward, Magneuris Sierra, and Dillon Thomas. Like the A’s, the Angels love players that can play multiple positions. Shohei Ohtani will be the designated hitter. There were rumors the Yankees were in the market for Ohtani. The Angels’ management quickly said they were not trading Ohtani.

Raisel Iglesias is the closer. He is 2-6 with 16 saves. Other relievers include Ryan Tepoera, Jimmy Herget, Jaime Barria, Andrew Wantz, Touki Toussaint, Jason Junk, and lefties Jose Quijada and Aaron Loup.

The Angels are 43-59 and are 23.5 games behind the Houston Astros. They are in fourth place in the AL West. The A’s are 39-65 and trail the Angels by five games. 

The trading deadline closes at 3 pm on Tuesday. The A’s may continue the fire sale. Other players that they may trade are Ramon Laureano, Chad Pinder, or Sean Murphy. The A’s players must be wondering who will be the next guys to go. Time will tell.

Oakland A’s podcast with Daniel Dullum: A’s have trouble holding leads; MLB teams shopping for Montas

Oakland A’s centerfielder Ramon Luareano can’t reach a ball hit by the Houston Astros Aledmys Diaz in the top of the fifth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Fri Jul 8, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the A’s podcast with Daniel:

#1 The Oakland A’s (28-57) lost their second game in their last four games on Friday night at the Coliseum dropping an 8-3 decision. The A’s got out to a 2-0 but couldn’t hold back the Houston Astros (55-28) who scored three runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings.

#2 The A’s also faced some great pitching from Astros starter Jose Urquidy pitching eight innings giving up three runs all earned and four hits. Also Astros manager Dusty Baker showed all the confidence in Urquidy letting him go eight innings and confidence in his line up to catch up on the struggling A’s.

#3 he Oakland Athletics traded catcher/infielder Christian Bethancourt to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league right-handed pitcher Christian Fernandez and minor league outfielder Cal Stevenson, the club announced today.

#4 Who will the A’s send to the All Star game in LA on July 18th? They have two young prospects who represent them at the Futures game catcher Shea Langeliers and outfielder Denzel Clarke. Langeliers is hitting .271, 71 hits, 14 home runs, and 40 RBIs in the A’s triple A affiliate Las Vegas. Clarke is hitting .279, with 57 hits, nine home runs, and 32 RBIs.

#5 Oakland A’s number one pitcher Frankie Montas will miss his next start due to shoulder inflammation he exited last Sunday’s game in Seattle and was supposed to start either yesterday or today. He did get a cortisone shot after getting an MRI last Wednesday. He’s the go to pitcher on the A’s staff will his shoulder inflammation hamper his trade status before this month’s trade deadline?

Daniel Dullum is a MLB analyst for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Broken Record: A’s fall to the Mariners 2-1, again, and lose Montas in the first inning

By Morris Phillips

Frankie Montas didn’t seem concerned about his shoulder injury, but it’s likely he has some other concerns.

Like his future in Oakland with the A’s.

Montas threw just 13 pitches in the A’s loss to the Mariners in Seattle at which point the alarming news from the radar gun forced manager Mark Kotsay’s hand.

“He had some tightness in the back of his shoulder and just didn’t feel like he could get fully extended. In that situation we are going to err on the side of caution,” Kotsay said of the readings from the radar gun that showed Montas well off the usual speed on his fastball. “We’ll just go day to day from here.”

I don’t have any concern,” Montas said. “I don’t think it’s anything bad, just probably some inflammation. Didn’t have enough time to recover (after his last start).”

Montas’ importance as a trade piece at the upcoming trade deadline has been well documented. But in that atmosphere, the 29-year old has been the A’s most impressive performer, more often than not keeping the A’s in a tight ballgame whether the offense responds to support him or not.

On Sunday at T-Mobile Park, the offense again was absent. The A’s lost 2-1 for the second, consecutive day and they now stand 1-29 in games they score one run or less. With an offense that feeble the home run Montas allowed to Julio Rodriguez on the first pitch Montas threw put the A’s under tremendous pressure.

Rodriguez backed it up in the sixth with an RBI double that gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead. The A’s response–Elvis Andrus’ homer in the seventh–wasn’t enough as the A’s fell for the 25th time in their last 31 games, putting them on track to have their worst season record in over 100 years dating back to their Philadelphia days.

Robbie Ray pitched into the seventh inning and struck out 12 Athletics, energizing manager Scott Servais, who has seen his squad surge from a sluggish start to the season with wins in 10 of 13 games.

“Riding the Robbie Ray train is what we do, and what we will continue to do because he is really good and he is fun to watch,” Servais said.

“My four-seam (fastball) and my slider have been really good but that two-seamer throws a wrinkle into it and allows (the other two pitches) to be that much better,” Ray said.

If the A’s had a “star” on Sunday it was Austin Pruitt, who replaced Montas and retired 13 consecutive batters.

The A’s open a six-game home stand against Toronto on the 4th of July with Cole Irvin, winless in his last eight starts, facing the dynamic Alex Manoah, who has a 9-2 record.

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: How long will the A’s keep Frankie Montas?

Frankie Montas Oakland A’s starter has been lights out but has not been getting any run support and could be a candidate for a blockbuster trade (ESPN file photo)

How long will the A’s keep Frankie Montás?

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–How long with the A’s keep Frankie Montás? That is “The $64,000 dollar question”. Back in the late 1950’s, there was a game show on CBS-TV prime time with that title. Although today $64,000 is not enough even to buy you an electric car, this is the question that many A’s fans I speak with before every game at the Oakland Coliseum will like to have an answer to.

They have seen all the A’s established players getting traded before the season began; from Olson to Chapman, to Chris Bassitt to others that produced and helped the team make it to the postseason in recent history.

On a warm Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum in front of an 8,215 in attendance, Frankie Montás pitched one of his best games ever, trying to prevent the Seattle Mariners from sweeping the A’s in a 3-game series.

Montás pitched eight innings (had a no-no for 7 2/3, threw fastballs at 99 mph, mixed with his nasty splitter, plus) gave up only two hits, no runs, and struck out eight. His eight innings pitched was a season high. Seattle won the game 2-1.

Montás is 0-3 with a 1.79 ERA in 6 games against AL West teams and 3-4 with a 4.27 in nine starts against the others. For A’s pitchers is dangerous this year to give one or two runs, because their offense is well…offensive. The A’s have been shutout nine times already.

The night before the A’s best pitcher by record, Antioch native Paul Blackburn did not have much on the ball as he gave seven earned runs on ten hits to the Mariners, his team lost 9-0. Although Blackburn should be headed to his first All Star game because of his performance so far, 6-3 with a 2.97 ERA, we all know the best and definitely must gutsy pitcher for the green and gold is Dominican-born Frankie Montás.

Frankie Montás has the most value of any of the current Oakland Athletics active roster and with the shortage of starting pitchers among contending teams, it would be a surprise for the A’s to keep him prior to the regular August 2 deadline.

There are many reasons for that. Common sense will tell us that even if he stayed with the team the whole season, the A’s still will not be a contender. The other reason is just a fact of life in Oakland in 2022, you are here for a short amount of time and logically there are half dozen teams that have been interested in Montás since Spring Training.

We most never think that because he has not been traded, he will stay with the A’s the rest of the season. In my opinion (and I am not a betting man) still a long shot.

The Chicago White Sox come to mind. They were supposed to win the weak Central Division “going away” and they still might, but as of today that is debatable as the Guardians and Twins are definitely looking like they also can win.

Andrew Vaughn is the type of player the A’s can use, the 24-year old Santa Rosa native is on his second year with the White Sox, playing everyday hitting .333 with seven home-runs and 31 runs batted in.

This is just one of many scenarios that have been mentioned during the past few months of a possible trade. Other teams have also ‘check the tires’ on Frankie Montás. It is possible that the A’s want more than Vaughn for Montás and that is keeping both sides from pulling the trigger.

I would like nothing more than for Frankie Montás to be part of the rebuilding going on here in Oakland. and possibly when they move to their new ballpark he can be surrounded by productive players, that would make the Oakland A’s a contender again.

I am the eternal optimist, but I also have my feet planted on the ground and will doubt if he did stayed for this whole 2022 season. It just doesn’t make sense, plus his demand after today’s performance went way up. If anything, after this afternoon in Oakland more General Managers are aware of who is Frankie Montás who has pitched his heart out with very little run support.

Early in the season manger Mark Kotsay told me when I asked him how important is Frankie Montás for his team, he responded “very important, everytime he pitches, our team feels they can win the game”.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead Spanish play by play talent on flagship station Le Grande 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A House Is Not a Home When There’s No One There.. A’s conclude dismal home stand with 5-2 loss to the Red Sox

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–In 1964, the Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick hit machine gave us a “House Is Not A Home.” Now 58 years later, the 2022 A’s seemed to be smothered by the song’s theme with little possibility for an escape.

On Sunday, with A’s fans outnumbered by Red Sox fans 3 to 1 according to the highly scientific measurements on Twitter, Oakland’s hometown team fell quietly to Boston, 5-2 to conclude a 1-9 “home” stand.

The woeful A’s are now 7-23 at the Coliseum, and in reach of a worst-ever record in 45-plus seasons at the Coliseum, with the forgettable 1979 season (31-50 at the Coliseum) the only competition. Offense continues to be the missing element as the A’s scored just four runs in the series with Boston. For the season, they’ve managed just 80 runs at home, which is less than 2.5 on average.

Quite simply, that just won’t do. The A’s are representative 13-13 on the road. So how much do the home performances, have to do with the empty seats, the lack of support, and love?

“We have played well on the road, but this home stand was tough in every way,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “A lot of guys in there are grinding. It’s definitely not for a lack of effort. It’s almost that we’re trying too hard right now. We know the importance of playing well at home. Hopefully when we get back here off this road trip we can change things.”

One of the grinders is Frankie Montas. In his 13th start of the season–and nine removed from his last win–he battled. After a rough first inning in which he allowed three hits and a run to the first three batters, he retired 14 of 15 Red Sox and had the A’s squarely in a competitive game, down 2-1 after five. But no offense came to his rescue, and then the dam broke.

Montas walked leadoff man Rafael Devers, then Kevin Smith botched a throw on a potential double play ball, and two batters later, Franchy Cordero left the yard, leaving Montas in a hole, despite allowing just one earned run. Furthering frustration Cordero’s blast came immediately after a conversation between manager and pitcher that was aimed at holding the fort.

“He just asked me if I wanted it and I said yes,” Montas said. “I just made a mistake. They’re really good hitters and when you make a mistake . . ”

The A’s managed to have seven guys in the lineup produce a hit, but none had more than one, and three extra-base hits had little impact outside Ramon Laureano’s RBI double in the first. By the time Tony Kemp knocked in Christian Bethancourt in the ninth, it was literally time for the fans to depart and the A’s to head to the airport. Too little, too late.

Boston’s rough season got a little less rough with them creeping back to .500 with the three-game sweep. But the reality is they’re fallible and no big league team should get swept by them at home. Or have manager Alex Cora get to say something veiled that basically says the same thing.

“We’ve been playing good baseball the last three weeks, just grinding and using everybody,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’ve still got holes, but on a daily basis we feel very good about ourselves.”

The good news? Nineteen of the A’s next 25 are on the road, and the reminders left by empty seats and distraught fans won’t follow them onto the various, road diamonds. Hopefully, that’s the tonic they need.

On Tuesday in Atlanta, the A’s open a two-game set against the World Champions with Cole Irvin slated to go against Kyle Wright in the opener. After that, the A’s travel to Cleveland and Boston.

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.

Oakland A’s podcast with Daniel Dullum: In a blink of an eye A’s household names gone

Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea who is being sought by multiple teams is seen here walking off the field against the Chicago White Sox on Thu Sep 9, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum. Manaea and teammate Frankie Montas are expected to be traded at anytime now (AP file photo)

On the Oakland A’s podcast with Daniel:

#1 It’s been a busy month for the Oakland A’s and the first pitch of Cactus League is today as the A’s face the LA Angels. The A’s with the departures of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Mark Canaha, Starling Marte, Chris Bassitt, have gone to greener pastures. Where does this leave the A’s.

#2 As far as the A’s brand goes fans should be familiar with the way the team goes about business when they players value goes up it’s time for a fire sale and time to rebuild no secret in what is happening with this year’s A’s team.

#3 Daniel, the A’s are looking to deal pitchers Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea is this more of the cost cutting moves by Oakland or is it a matter of seeing what they can get for two veteran pitchers.

#4 It was predicted by Baseball Prospectus that the A’s will have the second worst record in the majors second to the Baltimore Orioles. The A’s are predicted to finish the 2022 season with a .407 winning percentage just above the Orioles with .381.

#5 Three veteran players could be the only ones returning to the A’s line up as everyone including former A’s manager Bob Melvin have departed, the remaining A’s expected to return are outfielder Stephen Piscotty, infielder Elvis Andrus, and catcher Sean Murphy is a maybe.

Join Daniel Dullum for the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s Win, Late Drama Included For Free: Miscues late almost ruin 3-2 win over the Angels

By Morris Phillips

Yeah, yeah, the A’s bullpen… but here’s a twist: this time Lou Trivino was the hero with a warm, Southern California breeze sprinkled in.

Trivino came on to record the final five outs of the game–without allowing a hit or a walk–after the Angels scored a pair of ninth inning runs to break up a shutout authored by starter Frankie Montas and Jake Diekman, who combined to put the home team asleep for eight innings, allowing just one hit.

The A’s secured a 3-2 win in Anaheim to sweep the series–and keep their playoff hopes alive–when Mark Canha singled, and Jed Lowrie followed with a sacrifice fly to score placed runner Matt Olson in the top of the 10th.

Winners of five straight, the A’s still face daunting odds to pass the Yankees (who lost Sunday) and either the Red Sox or Blue Jays (both who won) to secure one of the two wild card spots. Among the biggest of the A’s challenges: they’re in the midst of a 16-games in 16-days stretch that won’t digest any easier after Sunday’s heart stopper.

But before all of what come’s next, the A’s have to be proud of themselves for what was accomplished in Anaheim. Not only did they complete a road sweep, they finished 15-4 in the season series against the Angels, a domination of a division rival that’s almost a prerequisite to gaining a playoff berth these days. But not only that, the A’s stood up to Shohei Ohtani, who was terrific, firing darts across the plate for eight innings.

Ohtani struck out ten, utilizing his splitter on more than half of his 108 pitches across eight innings. He was energized, showing great life on his fastball late in the game when he struck out the side in the seventh, and fanned Matt Chapman in the eighth with a couple of the pitches hitting 98 mph. But Ohtani failed to keep Yan Gomes in the ballpark in the third, and Chapman from circling bases in the fourth. The two solo shots were the difference–until the late drama–as Ohtani allowed three other hits and no walks in his the third longest outing of his career.

But Montas was just as good.

The A’s ace in the absence of the miraculously healing Chris Bassitt took full advantage of an Anaheim lineup that was absent of the normal big names with the exception of Ohtani, who he smartly walked twice. Beyond that, Montas struck out seven, walked two others for a total of four, and allowed a double to Brandon Marsh in the third inning with two outs. Montas then shut that down, by issuing a pass to Ohtani, and striking out Phil Gosselin to end the inning.

“When you go up against Ohtani, you know you have to be really good, and he was,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He matched him all the way until both were out of the game and out-pitched him really.”

But as so many baseball games go, the pitching gems didn’t decide it, instead the follies almost did.

Romo, hardly an ideal closer given the lack of velocity on his pitches, was called upon in the ninth, a role he’s assumed following Trivino’s well-chronicled struggles. Almost immediately, Romo fell into straights allowing a double to Gosselin, and an infield single to Jared Walsh after throwing just six pitches. After Luis Rengifo grounded out, but advanced the runners, Jose Rojas delivered a single to left that plated Gosselin. But Seth Brown’s throw to the plate–with Walsh held at third–sailed over Gomes at the plate and to the backstop. That pinned an error on Brown, freed up Walsh, and allowed the Angels to tie the game.

Just that quick–after 10 pitches–Romo was done, and Trivino was summoned. On six pitches, Trivino struck out Max Stassi and Jack Mayfield (both looking) to keep the Angels from grabbing a lead.

“It’s demoralizing to give up the lead,” Melvin said. “You have to go back out there and work for it again and they did. It doesn’t surprise me.”

In the tenth with the lead, Trivino did it again. He got David Fletcher to ground out, Brandon Marsh to ground into a fielder’s choice, wiping out Mayfield, the runner placed at second to start the inning. Then he got Kean Wong to fly out to end it, all done with eight pitches.

In five outings ending September 4, Trivino allowed runs in each appearance, all in games that the A’s ended up losing. That cost Trivino his closer’s role. But this week, he’s been better: despite allowing five hits combined in appearances Wednesday and Friday, he posted two holds and a win.

“Huge for him kind of getting back to what he’s been doing here for the better part of the season,” Melvin said. “Great for us, great for his confidence and obviously the timeliness of it was huge.”

The A’s open up a four-game set with Seattle at the Coliseum on Monday night. Sean Manaea will be opposed by the Mariners’ Tyler Anderson, who’s allowed three home runs and five walks in his two most recent starts and has a 6-9 record on the season.

A’s win season finale, 6-2, host the White Sox on Tuesday in playoff opener

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–Losing five of seven to close the regular season isn’t ideal, but winning the season finale is for the A’s.

“More than anything, it’s been a difficult season on some guys,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s a new, clean slate. You can really make up a lot of ground by having a good postseason.”

Winning or losing the final contest of a pandemic-truncated season prior to the start of an expanded postseason is just one aspect. The crazy world of major league-mandated tie breakers is the other confounding piece of this unique 2020 season.

The AL West champions rebounded from a 2-1 deficit on Sunday to defeat the Mariners, 6-2, and appeared set to host the Astros, a familiar and dangerous opponent, despite their losing record (29-31), the worst of the AL qualifiers.

But 45 minutes after the A’s win, the Twins fell to the Reds in Minneapolis, 5-3 in 10 innings, and that bumped the A’s to the two-seed and a matchup with the Chicago White Sox, the third-place qualifier from the AL Central with a record just one game inferior to the A’s (36-24).

Wait a minute. How’s that? The A’s moved up a seed, but drew a far more accomplished opponent in the process? Well, in the word of Rob Manfred, yes.

The pairings follow a familiar pattern: the eight qualifiers in each league are seeded 1-3 for the first place teams, 4-6 for the second place teams, and 7 and 8 for the best remaining records. What makes the process disjointed is the mixing of two seeding philosophies where the final two qualifiers aren’t the two best, third place clubs with a 60-game schedule that had each club playing just nine of the other 29 big league clubs.

Because of that, only one of the eight, opening series involve clubs that have played each other in the regular season (Blue Jays versus Rays). That leaves a lot of uncertainty, especially in the 48 hours leading up to the wild card openers.

Would the A’s rather see a familiar opponent with a losing record, or one with as good as record as themselves that they haven’t seen since March 3 in spring training?

We’re about to find out. This aspect will be appealing to them: instead of one opportunity in front of 50,000 adoring fans, the A’s will get three shots to win twice in the their stadium with no fans.

The winners of the Astros-Twins series and the White Sox-A’s series will advance to a ALDS pairing at Dodgers Stadium. Again two opponents with no recent familiarity in an unfamiliar ballpark.

The A’s have starting pitching options in Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, Mike Minor, Jesus Luzardo and Frankie Montas, who enhanced his stature with a career-best 13 strikeouts in six innings on Sunday. Montas had muddied his postseason outlook with an ERA of 10.88 over his previous six starts overlapping the birth of his child and a subsequent paternity leave.

“I was going to take him out after five, but I really needed him one more inning,” Melvin said of Montas. “He came in before I said anything and said, ‘I want one more’ and then struck everybody out. I think that’s going to do wonders for him going forward.”

Chad Pinder returned from the injured list and entered the game as a pinch hitter, than designated hitter getting three at-bats. Pinder last played September 12, and he gives the A’s another option to fill the big shoes of Matt Chapman at third base.

The primary option at the hot corner, Jake Lamb homered leading off the seventh inning to give the A’s the lead for the first time, 3-2. The former Diamondback has 12 hits–seven for extra bases–in 13 games for the A’s.