The Roar of the Crowd

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By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland Fans

Much has been written about the Oakland fans this year. While attendance has not been as robust as

the owners would like(they only have themselves to blame) the attendance was 1.8 million, the highest in many years. The hardcore fans were here for every game and their support of the A’s has been

unbelievable. Many of the nights were cold but the fans showed up and were loud letting the players know that they were behind them all the way. These folks know how to make noise especially when closer Grant Balfour comes into the game. The fans in the right field bleachers go crazy with the “rage.”

Well, the stage is set for the first game of the American League Division series with the Detroit Tigers.

The fans let the Tigers’ players know what they thought of them booing especially loud when they announced Justin Verlander’s name as well as Miguel Cabrera and Al Albuquerque , of all people.

This will be the third time the A’s will be playing the Tigers in the playoff s since 2006 and they are

hoping that the Green and Gold win the first game. The A’s wisely removed the tarps from the third deck and there are 48,401 fans in the park cheering for the A’s. It just got very loud as the team went on the field to start the game.

The Tigers scored three in the first inning that quieted the crowd a bit but it got very loud every time

there was a two strike count on a Tiger hitter. The Coliseum is really rocking with two out. The fans

have the “Let’s Go Oakland.” chant shaking the seats like a 4.0 quake. The place is really rocking as Yoenis Cespedes tripled to left field. The noise is so loud you can’t hear the person sitting next to you.

However, the Tigers’ Max Scherzer has been dominant much to the displeasure of the crowd.

The biggest roar of the night came when Josh Reddick threw out Victor Martinez at home in the top of the sixth preventing the Tigers from scoring another run. The fans need the A’s to get something going

as the crowd roars again as Colon gets out of the jam.

The noise level in the seventh inning was awesome as it reached decibels that these ears have never heard before at the Coliseum until Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run.

Well, the flags are flying and the crowd is into it as we start the bottom of the ninth. The adrenaline is really flowing. The fans are on their feet urging and hoping and praying that the A’s rally. The A’s failed

as they went down in order and the A’s take it on the chin. One thing is for sure, the fans will be back for Game two and they will continue to be loud and let the players know that they are behind them as they have been all season.

The A’s keep on winning

628x471by Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s keep on winning

The Oakland A’s won their fifth straight game downing the Los Angeles Angels 10-5 Monday night in Anaheim. The A’s clinched the AL West crown Sunday but are not content being the second seed in the AL. They are now just one game behind the Red Sox and if the Sox falter , the A’s can claim the top seed and the A’s and not the Red Sox would face the Wild Card. If that should happen, Detroit would play Boston in the ALDS.

Tommy Milone started for Oakland and he pitched well. Milone went 5 1/3rd innings giving up 5 hits

and four runs. Two of the runs were unearned. Milone struck out eight and walked just one and picked up his twelfth win of the year. The A’a scored two in the first and in the third Jed Lowrie who blasted a three run homer to give the A’s a 5-1 lead. The Angels came back with three in their half of the third. Howie Kendrick doubled with the bases loaded and all three runners scored.

The A’s scored two more in the fifth. Lowrie walked and scored ahead of Brandon Moss who hit a towering home run to right field. The A’s made it 8-4 in the sixth when Chris Young doubled to start the inning and he came home on an Eric Sogard single. The Angels scored their fifth run of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Josh Hamilton tripled and then scored on a sacrifice fly.

The A’s put the game out of reach when they scored two more runs in the top of the ninth. The A’s called on Grant Balfour to close the door on the Angels. It wasn’t easy as the Angels had two men on with one out but Balfour struck out the last to batters to secure the win.

Game Notes- The A’s have now won five in a row, eleven of the last thirteen and are 17-5 for September. Their record of the year is 94-63. Josh Donaldson had two hits in the game and was his 56th multi-hit game of the season and needs one more multi-hit game to tie the A’s team record.

Jed Lowrie hit his fifteenth home run of the year and when asked about the team’s success he said we’ve “done a great job the last couple of weeks.” When asked about his ability to hit home runs, Lowrie replied “ doubles are a power stroke and homers are doubles that go out.”

The A’s have five games left in the season. The play the Angels Tuesday night in Anaheim. A.J.Griffin will go for Oakland and Jason Vargas will be on the hill for the Halos.

Manager’s Decisions

By Jerry Feitelberg

One of the most difficult jobs in all of baseball has to be the manager of the club. The manager has many tasks that he has to perform every day. One of those tasks is making out the lineup for each and every game. Some managers like to use a set lineup so that that the players will be hitting in the same spot every day. The Detroit Tigers, for example have Miguel Cabrera hitting third and Prince Fielder hitting fourth. The Tigers do this as it is most beneficial to the especially in the late innings. Other managers like to make changes daily. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, has used, if you can believe this, 132 different lineups in the 152 games the A’s have played so far this year. Some lineup changes are made by necessity as a player may be injured or may have a personal matter that requires him to be away from the club. Melvin, however, is blessed this season with a deep lineup and he can go with a lineup that meets the clubs need on a given day. For instance, if an opposing club is starting a left handed pitcher, Melvin can use the switch hitters and right hand hitters Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes everyday. Melvin can then use right handed hitters at first base, second base, left field and maybe right field. When the A’s are facing a righty, Melvin uses his lefty bats at catcher, DH, second base, first base  and left field. These moves don’t always work but they give him a lot of flexibility so that the A’s can win.

Another task is deciding what roles the pitchers are to have. Who will be the starters. That again depends on the health of the players. Once  the manager establishes the starting rotation, he has to decide which pitcher will be his “long man.” The long relievers come in when the starter has a bad outing and has an early exit from the game. Decisions have to be made on the “set up “ guys. Who will pitch the seventh inning? Who will pitch the eighth? Who will be the closer ? And who will pitch if any of these key pitchers are unavailable due to a heavy workload. The manager has to make decisions all through the game. Do I bring in a lefty to face a lefty? Decisions are made on how well a particular pitcher gets out a certain hitter. For example, Melvin brought in Jerry Blevins to face the Angels’ Josh Hamilton the other night. Hamilton hits from the left side and has a lot of power. Blevins, however has great numbers against Hamilton. Melvin brought him in to pitch in a key situation and Blevins struck Hamilton out. Melvin is a genius. In another game with the A’s leading 4-2, Melvin brought in his closer, Grant Balfour, to face Hamilton. This time Hamilton won the battle as he hit a two run homer to tie the game in the ninth and the Angels eventually won the game. Have to remove the genius tag.

There are so many more decisions that a manager has to make during the game such having the runner steal a base or putting down a sacrifice bunt to move a runner into scoring position. So many more things going on in the manager’s mind as the game moves along and far too many to list at this time.

So, when you go to the game, it’s fun to see if you can guess what the manager is going to do. Also, keep in the mind, the opposing manager is doing the same game and it is this mind game that makes baseball the magical game that it is.

 

The A’s win, back in first place

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s, just a game behind the Rangers, opened a three game series with the Division leaders starting on Labor Day. This is going to be a huge series. The A’s will need to win two out three to be even with Texas for the division lead. The last thing either team wants to be is a Wild Card Entry. The Rangers found that out last year when they lost a one game playoff to the Orioles and were eliminated.

The 23,495 people who were here in attendance were not disappointed as the A’s beat the Rangers 4-2 and  the A’s moved into a first place tie with the Rangers. Dan Straily started for the A’s and went five innings getting credit for his eighth win of the year. The Rangers’ starter, Derek Holland, took the loss. Both teams now have an identical record of 79-58 with 25 games left in the season.

The A’s took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run for his 21st home run of the year. Alberto Callaspo doubled and scored on a single by Chris Young.  The Rangers tied the game in the top of the fifth. Straily walked Mitch Moreland to start the inning and Moreland scored when David Murphy homered to tie the score.

The A’s came back to take the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. Michael Choice reached first on a throwing error by Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre. Coco Crisp followed with a home run that barely made it over the left field wall and the umpires called it a home run but decided to review the play. After a minute or two, the umps came back and ruled in the A’s favor. A’s now lead 4-2.

There was no more scoring. Bob Melvin used four relievers to close out the Rangers. The Rangers did threaten a couple of times. Dan Otero worked out of a jam in the sixth and Grant Balfour had men on second and third with two outs in the ninth. Balfour got Beltre to ground out to end the game and earn his 36th save of the year.

Game notes- The A’s have won four straight and seven of the last eight and are in first place since August 9th. Dan Straily is 3-1 with in ERA of 2.63 during day games. Strailly when asked after the game if there was any extra pressure on him for this game replied “Not really, but you understand the magnitude of the situation.”  Coco Crisp hit his 17th home run of the year which is a career high. Crisp has homered 7 times in his last 12 games. Crisp left the game with when he hit a foul ball off his right shin. Bob Melvin said “it is a right shin contusion and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”  Michael Choice made his Major League debut and walked his first time up and reached on an error. Melvin said Choice reaching on the error”was a huge play in the game.” Melvin used Brett Anderson in relief.  Melvin said that he would keep him there for a while as the starting rotation is ok. Grant Balfour picked up his 36th save of the year but it was not easy. However, Balfour worked out the jam and Melvin commented that “Balfour had to find a little extra will and would have to make a pitch and get out of the game.”

Game two of the three game series will be Tuesday night at the Coliseum. Game time will be 7pm.

Bartolo Colon(14-5) will start for the A’s and the Rangers’ will send  lefty Martin Perez(8-3) to the mound.

Game time 2 hours and 28 minutes.

A’s are ‘Hitchin’ A Ride’ on the Sonny Gray express, beat Rays 2-0

By Emily Zahner and Kahlil Najar

OAKLAND, CA—“Pay attention to the cracked streets and the broken homes… some call it slums some call it nice. I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home… Welcome to Paradise.” Well, it may not be the most modern or high-tech stadium in the world, but many still call the O.Co home. Sure, our sewers back up on occasion, and we’ve tarped off the third deck, but hey, to A’s fans, this place is our own personal paradise. In front of a 35,067 sell-out crowd on Saturday evening, rookie Sonny Gray (2-2) with a little offensive help from Coco Crisp (3-4; 2 1B, HR), reminded us of just that. The crowds may have flocked to the coliseum to see Bay Area natives and Academy Award winning Green Day on their themed fireworks night, but they were treated to quite the show and reminded of the true passion this team exudes.

In their final game of August, the Oakland Athletics (77-58) and Tampa Bay Rays (75-59) engaged in a pitchers’ duel that saw a total of 2 runs scored on 12 hits. Sonny Gray had another spectacular outing, pitching 6 2/3 innings, only giving up five hits and striking out seven. After a tough outing his last time out in Baltimore, Gray returned to form and handed the Rays their sixth loss in seven days with a 2-0 dominating pitching performance. Gray appeared to be in control of every pitch and knew exactly where to place it. He started out strong to start the game as he struck out five batters in the first two innings. A’s manager Bob Melvin was impressed with his rookie starter. When asked about his performance, Melvin said he was “Great again, in a game like that, both guys are pitching pretty well and runs might be tough to come by and that was the case. And we got just enough and boy he did his job.”

Rays starter Alex Cobb was equally as impressive. Pitching a complete game loss, Cobb only gave up five hits, striking out seven in the process. Melvin knew what he was up against before the game even started, “Cobb has been tough on us. We did well then he started to settle down on us. He pitches backwards. He’ll get ahead of you and it’s hard to think ahead of him. He’s a tough guy to face.”

It wasn’t until the 6th inning that the A’s were able to solve Cobb. After a leadoff triple by Stephen Vogt, Coco Crisp singled up the middle for the first run of the game. Coco added another run to the tally when he homered off Cobb in the 8th to bring the lead to 2-0. Grant Balfour came in to pitch in the ninth, and made things a little interesting. The Rays tried to make a ball game when after a Myers double and walk off of Grant Balfour in the ninth, Desmond Jennings hit a single to center field that scored Myers but Balfour was able to calm down and get pinch hitting Kelly Johnson to ground out to first to end the game.

The A’s are feeling good after tonight’s win, Gray can feel the energy changing, “I feel like we’re playing great all around. Great defense, great hitting, this is a fun locker room to be in right now”.

Oakland looks to keep the good vibes going when they finish off the three game series with the Rays tomorrow afternoon before facing AL West leading Texas in a three game series starting Monday.