Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: A’s obtain Marte for Luzardo; dealing isn’t over yet before trade deadline

Starling Marte and his new A’s cap fits just fine as Marte and the A’s who clobbered the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon Jul 28, 2021 at Petco Park in San Diego (photo from mlb.com)

On the A’s podcast with Jerry F:

#1 Jerry, the A’s were really interested in obtaining Texas Rangers Joey Gallo’s service but Gallo is now a New York Yankees as of Wednesday night. Had the A’s were able to get Gallo he would have added more punch into the Oakland line up.

#2 The A’s dealt pitcher Jesus Luzardo to the Miami Marlins for Starling Marte on Wednesday, the A’s are looking for some punch in the line up and at the trade deadline and heading into August they’re looking for a way to move up in the American League West and Marte could provide some much needed offense hitting .306, 71 hits and 7 home runs.

#3 You can have very little doubt that A’s vice president Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, and field manager Bob Melvin want find the right combination to move the A’s into first place in the AL West after acquiring Marte and pitcher Andrew Chafin A’s are looking to shop some more.

#4 Jerry on Wednesday afternoon the A’s bats came alive crushing the Padres 10-4. The A’s didn’t waste anytime kicking it off with four runs in the top of the first inning at Petco Park in San Diego. The A’s are looking to get their pitchers this kind of support with big run production and early.

#5 A’s open up a four game series against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels at the Big A in Anaheim tonight the A’s will be going with starter Frankie Montas (8-8 ERA 4.34) and for the Angels Alex Cobb (7-3 ERA 3.83) first pitch tonight at 6:38 pm (PDT)

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

Cut down at Camden Yards: A’s 13-game win streak ends with 8-1 loss to the Orioles

By Morris Phillips

Well, you can’t argue about a 13-game win streak, especially the A’s just concluded job with all the runs they scored and how lopsided many of the wins were.

No stretch to say that the A’s were hot enough that they weren’t going to lose to just anyone, not after constructing the biggest win streak in MLB in nearly four years.

Well, on Sunday afternoon John Means wasn’t just anyone. Means pitched into the seventh inning and refused to let any Oakland hitter get solid contact on his pitches outside Ramon Laureano’s solo shot in the fourth, his only blemish.

Austin Hays was the just the high-level sidekick Means needed, with homers in the second and fourth innings to give the Orioles a lead then give them lead for good. Baltimore added five runs in the bottom of the eighth to win convincingly.

Bob Melvin was philosophical after such a disappointing ending to a brilliant two-week stretch.

“I mean, you do want to win series but you also want to get greedy. And we’ve been greedy here recently,” the A’s manager said. “It’s about winning every game that you go out there and play. At the end of the day, if you leave and you win a series, that’s a good thing. But we wanted to win today. We wanted to win bad today.”

Means lowered his ERA in April to 1.50 by being the master of versatility, mixing in a moderate number of strikeouts (6) with a lot of weak contact on balls put in play, along with a hint of caution, three walks issued all at strategic junctures. On a day where Means threw more balls and had pitches fouled off (57 of 101 total pitches) than guys normally do and have success, the 28-year old veteran helped himself with a lot of patience and determination.

“He was exceptional today,” manager Brandon Hyde said of his ace. “The way he’s throwing the baseball right now — you feel good about your chances when John Means is on the mound. This is a guy who is going to pound the strike zone and be really competitive with multiple pitches to mix. He’s facing playoff-type lineups and going into the seventh inning.”

Means, a draft day afterthought who has worked himself into a staff number one, has seen just three starters perform better through the season’s first five starts: only Jacob de Grom, Corbin Burnes and Joe Musgrove have lower ERAs. The key for a Cy-Young level performer who has never had overpowering stuff?

Keep ’em off-balance.

“Because of the breaking balls, they can’t just look high-low anymore,” Hyde said of Means’ repertoire. “Being a little more unpredictable and his pitch mix is going to create guys not being on time. That’s the difference between this year and in the last couple years.”

The first-place A’s aren’t a playoff-type lineup just yet–not after the most fascinating and confounding 22-game start to a season in a lengthy period of big league history. But after Sunday, they know what needs fixing: an anemic team batting average of .218.

The best American League pitchers will take advantage of a lineup that makes too many outs and strikes out nearly nine times a game. The A’s and Bob Melvin are aware of it, as were Jose Berrios, Matthew Boyd and Jose Urena, the other starting pitchers that pitched well against Oakland during the 13-game streak. The A’s ability to draw walks, hit home runs, and make decisive, offensive plays in close games will only take them so far. In this case, 13 games into what could have a been a 14-game win streak.

The A’s head to St. Petersburg for a three-game set with the Rays that starts Monday. A potential rematch with Means looms for the opener of the homestand on Friday night at the Coliseum.

Not Socially Distant: Astros get closer to the A’s physically and verbally than with their play in a 7-2 loss

By Morris Phillips

Just to be clear: no masked men or well-to-do baseball players were seriously injured in Sunday’s un-socially, close-up basebrawl at the Coliseum. Combatants got face-to-face–a no-no in 2020 in itself–and choice words were exchanged, clearly audible in an empty stadium. But both sides were fully aware their actions will draw suspensions and hefty fines. More than bearhugs, the likelihood of penalties prevented things from escalating.

The dustup grabbed the headlines, but the bigger takeaway was that the A’s dealt the Astros a technical knockout with a sweep that gives them a sizeable, division lead in a pandemic-truncated season.

Simply, the A’s are hot, and that’s changing things in the AL West.

A 7-2 win completed the three-game sweep over the Astros, giving the A’s a 5 1/2 game lead (5 games ahead of second-place Texas) over their rivals. The A’s have won nine straight, and have their best record after 16 games since 2013.

“It doesn’t damper anything. We swept these guys, and that was our intent,” manager Bob Melvin said of the brawl. “That won’t damper what transpired.”

Jesus Luzardo pitched five plus innings to earn the win in just his second-ever, big league start. The 22-year old allowed two runs on five hits and outpitched 23-year old Cristian Javier in a matchup of up-and-coming arms.

Rex Grossman, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman homered off Javier as the A’s built a 5-0 lead after three innings. The A’s have homered 21 times in 16 games, the needed counterpoint to their 164 strikeouts and .214 team batting average.

Juli Gurriel’s two-run homer in the fourth put the Astros on the board, but they would be shut out the rest of the way. The A’s added on with Mark Canha’s infield single in the fifth that scored Marcus Semien, and Chapman’s RBI double in the seventh.

Laureano was hit in the back by rookie Humberto Castellanos’ pitch in the bottom of the seventh which prompted a jawing session between the batter and Houston coach Alex  Cintron who was yelling and gesturing on the dugout steps. The incident marked the second time Laureano was hit in the game, and the fifth time an A’s batter was hit by a pitch in the series.

Of course, these teams didn’t figure to be buddy buddy after A’s pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle on the Astro’s sign stealing scheme that aided their run to the World Series in 2017 and 2019. But the A’s somehow avoided confrontation with the earlier plunking, but not in the seventh inning with Cintron and Laureano yelling at each other as the batter moved toward first base.

“Ramon doesn’t go over there unless something completely offensive came out of the dugout,” Melvin said. “I think the league will know who that is. That person should get suspended. Hopefully, that’s the case. Nowadays, without fans in the stands and mics everywhere, my guess is they know who it was.”

“Everybody wants you to just control your temper, which you should, but sometimes things flare out of control,” Astros manager Dusty Baker admitted. Ironically, Baker was thrown out in the previous inning for verbally disputing balls and strikes’ calls made by home plate umpire Nick Mahrley. Baker departed without confronting Mahrley.

Laureano charged the Astro’s dugout, but was tackled and never reached Cintron, then Olson, from the on-deck circle, and Chapman arrived quickly in their teammate’s defense.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has promised heavy punishment for all on-field confrontations given the additional complications of the Coronavirus. Manfred delivered on that promise two weeks ago when Dodgers’ pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games after he threw a pitch in the vicinity of batter Alex Bregman’s head.

But no one charged the mound–or the opposing dugout–in the Dodgers-Astros’ bench-clearing incident. Laureano did. That probably will cost the valuable centerfielder five games or more.

The A’s travel to Anaheim for a three-game series with the Angels that starts Monday evening with Sean Manaea getting the start. Julio Teheran will pitch for the Angels.

The Angels and Bundy bounce back on Saturday to hand the A’s a 4-1 loss

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics were not able to capitalize on their big Friday night extra-inning win on Saturday. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim came out and played the game as if Friday night never happened. In a term every little leaguer knows, “they just flushed it!” and beat the Athletics 4-1.

Dylan Bundy made the difference for LAA

Bundy (1-0) made his debut as an Angel after having been with Baltimore his entire career. As a former number one draft pick, much was expected of Bundy, but many have graded his time as an Oriole as a disappointment. He posted a record of 38-45 in 127 starts with a 4.67 ERA. During most of that time, the Baltimore baseball operations department has been less than stellar.

Bundy came to the Angels in an off-season trade in exchange for four minor league players.

On Saturday, Bundy gave up just one run (earned) on three hits while striking out seven and walking none in 6.2 innings. He faced 24 batters and threw 90 pitches (64 strikes).

Manaea was not a mystery on Saturday

Justin Upton put the Angels up on the board in the fourth inning when took a 1-1 pitch from Manaea over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season. It was also the 299th home run of Upton’s career.

Manaea had retired the previous 11 hitters he faced.

The fifth inning proved to be Manaea’s downfall. The Angels scored three runs off four hits. That sent Manaea (0-1) to the showers as J.B. Wendelken came on in relief.

With their 4-0 lead, the Angels never looked back.

A’s threatened in the seventh

With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Stephen Piscotty doubled down the left-field line. After a pitching change, Robbie Grossman drove Piscotty home with single to left. Grossman was able to steal second base and Chad Pinder walked. Grossman moved up to third on a wild pitch by Keynan Middleton. Austin Allen then grounded out to end the inning.

That would be all of the scoring for Oakland in the game.

The highlight for the A’s

Jesus Luzardo entered the game in the top of the sixth inning for Oakland. Everyone was anxious to see if the young pitcher could pick up where he left off from last season.

Luzardo threw 3.0 scoreless innings allowing just one hit while striking out two and walking one batter. He faced 10 hitters and tossed 44 pitches (28 strikes).

Luzardo ended 2019 with four scoreless outings and now has a 10.0-inning scoreless streak. He has given up just two runs in 15.0 career innings with 1.20 ERA.

Up next

There will many eyes watching the game on Sunday. The Angels will send their two-way superstar – Shohei Ohtani – to the mound to make a pitching start for the first time since 2018. He was unable to pitch in 2019 while recovering from “Tommy John Surgery’. In 2018, Ohtani posted a record of 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts. He recorded a 1.16 WHIP.

Mike Fiers will make the start for the A’s. Fiers finished 2019 with a record of 15-4 in 33 starts and an ERA of 3.90. He worked 184.2 innings and struck out 126 batters with a 1.19 WHIP.

Youth Movement: A’s hope trio of top prospects make an immediate impact

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–The Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts, the Yankees signed free agent Gerrit Cole, who is anything but free, and the Twins struck late, adding Josh Donaldson to their collection of sluggers.

The A’s didn’t sign any big names, or little ones for that matter. But that doesn’t mean they stood put. A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo and Sean Murphy–each among the Top 60 prospects in all of baseball–are being counted on to be big league contributors starting on Opening Night July 24.

Luzardo, the A’s No. 1 prospect, has been cleared to resume workouts after testing positive for COVID-19, the timing of which threatened his availability for the opener. But while preparing to be cleared, Luzardo lobbied the coaching staff, and did whatever he could physically to gain preparedness.

“I figured out ways to get little lifts in my room while listening to my body,” Luzardo said. “If I was feeling good that day, I’d get after it. If I was a little tired, I took it lighter. I definitely tried to stay in shape.”

Originally tabbed as a starter, Luzardo could start the season in the bullpen, where he would remain ideally until he regains a starter’s stamina. Puk seems set as the fourth starter with Murphy assuming the starting catcher’s role after a successful, 20-game audition in 2019.

Puk, Luzardo and Murphy all saw time at the big league level last season, and given their performances, expectations are high that all three can excel and kiss the minor leagues farewell.

Murphy was a third round selection in the 2016 Draft and he’s moved quickly through the organization’s minor league structure,  compiling 90 extra-base hits in 235 games over four seasons. The 24-year old impressed manager Bob Melvin with his attention to detail in handling the pitching staff, so much so he was picked to start the AL Wild Card Game against the Rays. Murphy’s had issues with knee injuries so the shortened 60-game schedule may prove ideal for his adjustment to the majors.

Puk, the 6’7” flamethrower chosen sixth overall in the 2016 Draft, made ten appearances, all in relief, for Oakland in 2019. He was 2-0 with 3.18 ERA, striking out 13 batters in 11 plus innings of work. Despite missing all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery,  Puk compiled 262 strikeouts in 183 innings at the various minor league levels.

The 24-year old hasn’t experienced any setbacks in either spring or summer training, giving him jump on veterans Daniel Mengden and Chris Bassitt for a spot in the starting rotation. No official announcements have been made but Puk appears on track to get a start against the Angels opening weekend.

Luzardo was acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. His profile as a polished performer has the A’s brass excited to see more after the 22-year old made just six appearances at the big league level in 2019 while battling injuries. In 43 minor league starts, Luzardo won 14 times compiling a 2.53 ERA. He also appeared in the 2019 Wild Card Game, throwing three innings, allowing just one hit, all while the A’s failed to rally from a five-run deficit.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Maddon excited to face his old team Cubs; Will Matz meet the Mets; plus more

photo Angels manager Joe Maddon

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 What’s it like for former Chicago Cub manager Joe Maddon to play against his former team the Cubs as Angels manager.

#2 What does it say for the Angels organization formerly working in Anaheim picking up a manager like Joe Maddon.

#3 The New York Mets are inquiring about Steven Matz of the New York Yankees. Matz has a 4.05 ERA over the last four seasons and could turn free agent what are the Mets chances of getting Matz?

#4 The Oakland A’s Jesus Luzardo threw for three innings on Sunday in his second start this spring. Luzardo pitched for the Las Vegas Aviators last season in seven starts and had an ERA of 3.19.

#5 A’s manager Bob Melvin says that Tony Kemp may not end up being the A’s lead off hitter but he’s been getting some good at bats, Kemp hit a double and went 8-18 and Melvin says that Kemp is seeing left handed pitching pretty good too.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for A’s baseball on KIQI 1010 San Francisco hear all A’s home games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Amaury does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

The A’s beat the Mariners and secure home-field advantage for the Wild Card

AL Wild 1
Graphic/Photo: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on Saturday night to win their 97th game of the season which tied their win total from the 2018 season. More importantly, the win guarantees them home-field advantage for the single-game Wild Card contest with the Tampa Rays on Wednesday night.

The A’s are 52-29 at the Coliseum this season and are 7-3 over their last 10 games. The Rays are 48-32 on the road in 2019 and 7-3 in their last 10 games. The tarps will be off on Mount Davis and the crowd could be up to 59,000-plus fans on Wednesday night to cheer the Athletics on to victory and into the AL Playoffs. The Coliseum can be an intimidating place for a visiting team.

The difference on Saturday night

It was a home run by Ramon Laureno that made the difference for the Athletics on Saturday night. Laureno hit his 24th HR of the season off Seattle pitcher Marco Gonzales in the top of the third inning with two out and count of 3-2. The ball traveled 392-feet over the left-field wall.

The A’s have hit 35 home runs versus the Mariners this season tying their franchise record for the most home runs in a single season against a single opponent. Oakland also hit 35 home runs against the Rangers this season.

Anderson gets the win

Brett Anderson was credited with the win. He now a 13-9 record for the season with a 3.89 ERA. Anderson worked 5.0 innings allowing no runs off three hits. He walked one and struck out three Mariners.

“I was willing to let him go out for the sixth. He got a little bit of elbow tightness so we took him out. But, I mean, good stuff. The best [velocity] of the year. I know it’s been eight, or nine or ten days or whatever. But we saw some 94s, some 93s, it looked good. (He) just felt a little something after the fifth. We didn’t want to push that,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.

Luzardo gets the save

Jesus Luzardo worked 2.0 innings to earn his second save of the year. He allowed no runs off one hit. Luzardo walked none and struck out three.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said, “(He was) pretty calm. And we’ve seen him, in bases loaded nobody out situations in Texas too. I don’t think the nerves are really there. (He) hits a guy, then makes good pitches with his breaking balls in the last at-bat. And (Tim) Lopes is
swinging pretty good too. That’s kind of how we look at it today, we didn’t want him throwing too many pitches, but as long as he was under 30, we felt good about it. Now, three days rest for him as well…”

Melvin on Wild Card Home Field Advantage

“There’s going to be 50,000 people in Oakland, I got a feeling. When we get that bigger crowd at home, they have an effect. So, we’re excited about going home in front of our fans. There’s a great bond between us and the fans there, and they can get pretty loud.”



A’s beat the Astros 5-3 on Wednesday night to take a 2-1 series lead

9-11 b
Graphic @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

When you have to play a four-game series with the team who owns the second-best record in Major League Baseball, your goal has to be to go for a 2-2 split. That most certainly is a success level. You might not have gained any positions, but you will not have lost any either.

On Wednesday night, the A’s beat the Astros 5-3 to take a 2-1 series lead in their four-game series with the mighty Houston Astros. Now, the Athletics can play with “reckless abandon” on Thursday night and try to win the series. Not only would that help them in their pursuit of the AL Wild Card Slot #1, but it would really put them inside the heads of the Astros, who could be their first-round opponents in AL Playoffs.

LHP Brett Anderson has a strong start

9-11 d
Photo: @Athletics

Anderson worked 5.0-innings allowing just two runs (both earned) off seven hits (one HR). He walked three and struck out four hitters. George Springer hit his 34th home run of the season off 2-2 pitch from Anderson. It traveled 433 feet over the center-field wall.

Anderson threw 86 pitches (54 strikes). He was also credited with the win, which raised his record to 12-9 for the year. Anderson faced 23 batters in his 5.0-innings on the mound.

An A’s reliever stepped into the spotlight

Jesus Luzardo made his long-awaited major league debut on Wednesday when he entered the game as a reliever for Anderson. Oakland had scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to stake the rookie to a 5-2 lead.

Luzardo got off to a great start getting the first two hitters out, but then he gave up a home run to Martin Maldonado. He gathered himself and struck out Myles Straw for the third out of the inning.

Luzardo set the Astros down in order in the seventh and eighth innings.

The rookie LHP worked 3.0-innings giving up one run (earned) off one hit while walking none and striking out two Astros. He tossed 36 pitches (22 strikes).

Luzardo became the first player born in Peru to play in the major leagues.

Don’t forget the guy who got the save

Mr. Dependable — Liam Hendriks — recorded his 20th save of the season setting the Astros down in order including striking out two batters.

Focus on the A’s with the bat

  • Marcus Semien had a 3-for-5 night with the bat scoring two runs and posting one RBI. One of his hits was his 28th home run of the season.
  • Rookie Sean Murphy went 1-for-4 at the plate. He hit his fourth home run of the season in the sixth inning.
  • Matt Olson had a 1-for-4 night hitting with a double (24) that drove in two runs.

AL Wild Card Race

The Tampa Bay Rays are still in Wild Card Slot #1 but by just 1/2 game over the A’s. The A’s own AL Wild Card Slot #2 but are just 1/2 game ahead of the Indians.

It really is a three-team race. The Red Sox are now 10.0-games out the Wild Card and have lost five games in a row. They are now playing for next year.

Up Next

It will be a good pitching matchup in the season-series finale between the A’s and the Astros on Thursday night. The A’s will send RHP Homer Bailey (12-8, 4.87 ERA) to the mound to face possible Cy Young winner RHP Justin Verlander (18-5, 2.52 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM Bay Area time.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary with Barbara Mason: Canseco takes A-Rod up on boxing match over cheating accusations; plus more

Photo credit: @TheLedgeSports

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury Pi Gonzalez:

#1 Former New York Yankee Jose Canseco said in a tweet that former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez was cheating on his girlfriend , actress Jennifer Lopez. A-Rod then challenged Canseco to a boxing match via tweet and Canseco then challenged A-Rod to boxing match via Twitter. Canseco also said he would take a polygraph test and pass.

#2 US Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin had it all–a gold medal, member of the US bicycle team, winner of three straight bicycle championships at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Catlin died by suicide at age 23. This was a shock to her family and the Olympic community.

#3 The Stanford Cardinal Women (28-4) look prepared for March Madness. They’re coming off a 64-57 win over the Oregon Ducks Sunday. The Cardinal celebrated in the Pac-12 Tournament Title Game.

#4 Antonio Brown joins the Oakland Raiders over the weekend. The past six seasons for Brown, he has averaged 114 catches, 1524 receiving, and has had 15 touchdown catches in 2018 which is a career-high.

#5 Jesus Luzardo looks like he could get a shot in the rotation for the Oakland A’s. In just Sunday’s game, he gave up four hits, a walk, and one run against the San Francisco Giants in Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium against the Giants. He will not be going to Japan for the opening series against the Seattle Mariners.

Barbara Mason is doing That’s Amaury’s podcasts for Amaury Pi Gonzalez at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: After a complete rotation change last season, A’s try to keep pitching staff healthy

Photo credit: nbcsports.com

On the Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry:

#1 Jerry talks about the progress of A’s pitchers Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk. After both pitchers had surgery, how ready are they to come back this season?

#2 A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo has been impressive in spring training on Thursday. He struck out three batters and didn’t give up a hit in two innings. Do you see him winning a starting spot and what role will manager Bob Melvin use him in?

#3 A’s pitcher Daniel Mengden got rattled in facing his first three hitters and got behind 2-0, but recovered — not giving up a run for two more innings. Jerry talks about Mengden’s spring.

#4 A’s pitches Blake Treinnen and Lou Trivino both threw two perfect innings striking out two batters. With their experience and what they got in the tank, what kind of spring training have they had?

#5 With the A’s starting rotation turned over from last season, will they struggle to keep guys healthy this season? Their pitching looks very sharp this spring.

Jerry does the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com