MLB The Show Postseason 2019 podcast with Daniel Dullum: Taking a look at wild card matchups; Bochy gets ready for retirement; plus more

photo from the olympian.com: Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano makes his way through the dugout after hitting a solo home run on a pitch from Seattle Mariners’ Marco Gonzales during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Seattle.

On the MLB The Show podcast with Daniel Dullum:

1 Playoff pairings are almost set: A’s to host AL Wild Card vs. Tampa Bay

2 Giants hope to give Bochy a good sendoff against Dodgers

3 Verlander gets 3,000th K, Astros clinch home field; Mets’ Pete Alonso sets MLB rookie HR mark

4 Look for managerial changes in the next few days

5 After 72 seasons, Cubs play final game on WGN-9

The MLB The Show podcast with Daniel is heard every Sunday and through the postseason on http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s beat the Astros 3-2 and win the series 3-1

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Graphic: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

First, the Oakland Athletics defeated Justin Verlander (18-6) for the first time since 2013 on Thursday night. Secondly, they won the four-game series from the Astros 3-1 by winning the final game 3-2. The A’s record improved to 87-60 for the season.

The Athletics have now won three consecutive games and are now in sole possession of AL Wild Card Slot #1 by ½-game over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays lost on Thursday night to the Texas Rangers 6-4.

The A’s got to Verlander early

If you are going to beat Justin Verlander, you have to get to him early in the game. Oakland scored their first run of the game in the top of the first inning when rookie Seth Brown doubled to left field to drive Marcus Semien home to score the first run of the game.

In the top of the third inning, Marcus Semien led off with a single to left. With one out, Matt Olson hit a towering fly ball for a two-run home run into the upper deck in right field off a Verlander fastball. It was Olsen’s 32nd home run of the season.

That would be all the scoring for the A’s in the contest, but it would prove to be all they would need.

The A’s starter won the game

Homer Bailey made the start for Oakland and recorded the win (13-8). He worked 5.1-innings allowing just one run (earned) off three hits. Bailey struck out four Astros and walked three.

The A’s used five pitchers in the game.

Liam Hendriks picked up his 21st save of the season closing out the game for the A’s.

Final Totals

For the A’s: 3 runs, 6 hits, 1 error, 5 Left on Base

Up next

The A’s have to play outside in the heat and humidity of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex versus the Rangers. It should be about 92-degrees with 58-percent humidity at game time on Friday night.

The A’s will send RHP Chris Bassitt (10-5, 3.63 ERA) to the hill to face the Rangers LHP Brock Burke (0-1, 3.52 ERA). Bassitt won his last start versus the Tigers at the Coliseum last Saturday night.

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

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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

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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 podcast: A’s open homestand Tuesday night against LA hoping to hang onto wild card hopes; Panda gets ready for Tommy John surgery after send off; plus more

Photo credit: bleacherreport.com

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

#1 The Kansas City Royals challenged the A’s when they were at Kaufman Stadium and so did the New York Yankees to conclude the road trip. Even through the pit falls, the A’s are only a 1/2 game out for a wild card berth. This thing could go right down to the end of the season?

#2 Pablo Sandoval, the man that San Francisco fans call the Panda, took a curtain call hitting for as a pinch-hitter on Sunday in the seventh inning in what can be considered the Panda’s last game in San Francisco. Sandoval played numerous positions for the Giants and will be having Tommy John surgery.

#3 The Houston Astros continued to prove their a force to be reckoned with after their starter Justin Verlander threw his third career no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. It was the second time that Verlander threw a no-hitter at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

#4. The Oakland Raiders get to open the season at the Coliseum against the Denver Broncos for Monday Night Football. The Raiders had a successful preseason and head coach Jon Gruden is confident about the team going into week 1.

#5 This is the Raiders’ last season at the Coliseum. Gruden certainly wants it to be a great send off for the Raiders and wants to drive them to a postseason that could get them to the AFC Championship to the finally the Super Bowl. He would love to bring a trophy to Oakland for the final year there.

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play-by-play announcer heard on KIQI 1010 San Francisco. Also, join Amaury for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Verlander, Springer, and Altuve lead the Astros to another win over the A’s, 4-2

Photo credit: @lasvegasbetting

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s finished their seven-game road trip with a 3-4 record. They split the four-game series with the AL Central leader, the Minnesota Twins, and lost two out of three to the AL West leading Houston Astros. The Astros, behind their ace Justin Verlander beat the A’s 4-2 at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The A’s scored the first run of the game in the first inning. Marcus Semien reached on a throwing error by Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman. He scored on a Matt Olson single to right field. Josh Reddick committed a rare mistake, and that allowed Semien to score.

A’s starter Chris Bassitt was sharp as he retired the first seven hitters he faced. He struck out the last five. Astros catcher Robinson Chirons, who had tormented the A’s over the years, broke the spell with a double. He came around to score when George Springer blasted his 23rd of the year to put Houston ahead 2-1.

In the fifth, Bassitt plunked Chirinos on the hand to start the frame. Chirinos scored again when Jose Altuve hit his 15th of the season over the fence in center field. The Astros led 4-0.

The A’ added their second run of the game in the top of the ninth. Astros’ closer Roberto Osuna gave up a run. The A’s failed to score, and the game was over. Houston won 4-2.

Game Notes: Chris Bassitt gave the A’s six innings of work. He allowed five hits and four runs. Bassitt is now 7-5 for the year. Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen each worked an inning and did not allow Houston to put any runs on the board.

Verlander, who probably will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame when he is finished playing, improved to 13-4. His line was six innings, two hits, one unearned run, two walks, and 11 strikeouts.

The A’s drop to 58-45 and trail the Astros by 7 1/2 games in the division. The Astros improved to 66-38.  The Astros continue to dominate the A’s as they lead the season series 9-2.

Up Next: The A’s return home to face the Texas Rangers for four games starting Thursday night. Brett Anderson (9-5, 3.82 ERA) will go for Oakland. Game time will be at 7:07 pm.

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Photo/Graphic: @Astros

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Coming home to the Oakland Coliseum has not been a good thing for the Oakland Athletics. After winning 11 consecutive games, the A’s have now lost four games in a row at home. They have also lost a second consecutive series at home.

The first-place Houston Astros downed the A’s 5-1 on Saturday night at the Coliseum behind the “lights out” pitching of Justin Verlander (9-2, 2.27 ERA). The perennial All-Star pitcher worked 8.0-innings allowing just one run (earned) off four hits. Verlander struck out eight Oakland hitters while walking just two.

The A’s only run of the game came in the second inning when Stephen Piscotty hit the first pitch from Verlander over the wall in right field for his seventh home run of the season.

Brett Anderson (6-4, 3.95 ERA) made the start for Oakland. He worked 5.1-innings giving up three runs (all earned) on eight hits. Anderson struck out two and walked two.

The A’s used two relief pitchers in the contest. Yusmeiro Petit pitched 2.2-innings of perfect baseball while striking out two Astros. Joakim Soria closed out the game pitching the ninth inning and giving up two runs off two hits (1 HR).

A’s Spotlight

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Marcus Semien ejected Photo: @Athletics
  • Anderson has allowed five home runs in his last four starts after he gave up just one homer in his previous eight starts.
  • Ramon Laureano recorded his sixth assist of the year on Saturday. The center fielder threw Robinson Chirinos out as he attempted to advance to second base in the fourth inning.
  • Speaking of Laureano, he extended his career-long hitting streak to 14 games when he singled off Verlander in the fifth inning.
  • Marcus Semien was ejected in the fifth inning of the game. It was the first time Semien has been ejected from a game in his career.
  • Stephen Piscotty has possessed the hot bat for the A’s during this homestand. He went 2-for-4 on Saturday and he is batting .417 (10-for-24) with five runs, two doubles, two home runs, and four RBI in the eight games.

Houston Notes

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Graphic: @Astros
  • Justin Verlander passed Cy Young for 21st on the all-time strikeout list (that’s impressive). Verlander is now for tied for the most wins in the Major Leagues with nine victories.
  • Josh Reddick is happy to back in the Coliseum. He has hit home runs in consecutive games for the first time since September 15 and 16, 2018. Reddick is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with three home runs and five RBI in four games in the Coliseum this season.
  • Michael Brantley now leads the MLB in multi-hit games after going 2-for-3 with a walk on Saturday. He has posted 27 multi-hit games. Brantley has recorded 72 hits already this season and is tied for first in the American League.

Up Next

The Astros and A’s will wrap up their series on Sunday at 1:07 PM PDT. Houston will send RHP Gerrit Cole (5-5, 4.04 ERA) to the mound to try and make it a sweep over Oakland. The A’s will counter with RHP Chris Bassitt (3-1, 3.27 ERA) in order to try and stop their losing streak.

Verlander again, and even more devastating

By Morris Phillips

Justin Verlander was so good Thursday, it didn’t matter that he repeatedly challenged Oakland hitters with fastballs that they normally salivate over.   The A’s were so concerned with Verlander’s other pitches—particularly his curve which baffled them in Game 2–they were mental messes, guessing, wailing but ultimately whiffing.

The team that built their late-season surge on big swings, big results was well on their way to the off-season in great part due to managing just one base hit in the first seven innings against their nemesis reborn in Verlander.

How good was Verlander?  Historically good.

Verlander stopped the A’s dead in their tracks in last year’s Game 5, throwing 122 pitches, striking out 11 and pitching a complete game shutout.  On Saturday night, in Game 2, he was dazzling again, shutting the A’s down for seven innings while surrendering just four disjointed base hits.

But on Thursday, he was even better, commanding four pitches and making the A’s look foolish.  The big righthander saw the A’s swing and miss 24 times, as the stubborn Oakland hitters refused to jump out of character, hoping to catch one of the heaters and send it a long way.

But the long balls never materialized.   Hits were hard enough to come by and trying to figure out Verlander was next was impossible.  Detroit manager Jim Leyland described it succinctly.

“He was locked in tonight,” Leyland said.  “He used the fastball a lot tonight and when you got that fastball, he’s got three well-above average Major League pitches and another one that’s at least average and maybe a little bit better.  When you’ve got four pitches above average and a couple of them really above average, you can shut down a lot of teams.”

Verlander’s pitched 30 innings against the A’s in post-season now and not surrendered a run.  That’s a new Major League record, one that hasn’t been messed with since 1911.  Christy Mathewson threw 28 scoreless, post-season innings against the A’s back then over a period of seven seasons.

“We weren’t getting very good swings on him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin admitted.  “I thought maybe when it started to get darker, we would get better swings, but he kept throwing fastballs.  I haven’t seen the video to see if he was on the corners all night.”

If Verlander wasn’t on the corners, he was conveniently off the corners.  Throughout his command was flawless and his location as well.  That the A’s had to wait nearly seven innings just to get a hit says it all.  Once all that’s digested, it’s nearly impossible to comprehend that the six-time All-Star had an off-season, struggling with his command and his velocity while his ERA hit nearly 5.00 from May through August.

All the problems ceased in September.  Verlander finished the season with a 2.27 ERA over his final six starts and his confidence soared.

“I’m pitching the way I’m supposed to,” Verlander said.  “I worked my butt off all year to try to get consistent and get myself where I needed to be.  I feel like it finally paid off at the end of the year.”

“He’s getting downhill now,” Leyland chimed in.  “He’s gotten mechanically back in sync, got all his pitches.”

And once Verlander steadied, the A’s presented themselves as Detroit’s first playoff opponent.  It was a match made in historical heaven.

The A’s struck out 57 times in the series, which set a new LDS record, breaking the record established by the Rangers in 2010 when they struck out 55 times against the Rays.   Verlander accounted for 21 of the 57, all at the Coliseum, the biggest enthusiasm and rally killer imaginable.

Give Verlander the ball in a series clincher?  That’s an obvious.  The 6’5” starter joined Sandy Koufax as the only starters to throw consecutive, 10 strikeout, shut out performances in the post-season.   Koufax—arguably the greatest pitcher ever—built his reputation in 1965 when he accomplished the feat by shutting down the Dodgers in Game 5, and then again in Game 7.

The A’s established a more dubious record for getting stopped cold in the ALDS for the second straight season.   Oakland’s 0-6 in the Divison series when it goes the full five games and that’s something they can’t do anything about for a long time, at least not before next October.

A’s play most important elimination game in 25 years

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That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

OAKLAND–Tonight(5:07PM) the Oakland Athletics will face the Detroit Tigers in an elimination game. The winner travels to Boston to open the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox, the other team goes home.

But why is tonight the most important game in the past quarter century for the A’s?

–For starters, they will face again the same pitcher that eliminated them last year, Justin Verlander on the fifth and final game of the Divisional Series.

–For over 25 years the Oakland Athletics have not been able to go “deep into the postseason”, under three different ownerships.

–I was there for those great championship seasons, the five pennant and three consecutive trips to the World Series in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Those were the days when the Oakland A’s rocked the bay. The Walter Haas ownership was without a doubt the best ever for the A’s and one of the best ever in the history of professional sports in the bay area.

–One year prior to that great run (1987) the Athletics hosted the Major League All Star Game, Oakland was the talk of the Bay Area. I remember as a part of the Oakland A’s All Star Committee, appointed by the A’S, we met with then Mayor of Oakland Lionel Wilson. Oakland was a city on the move. Good things were happening in Oakland, and the Oakland A’s greatly helped into that great civic pride.

–Today the Oakland Coliseum is an antiquated place to play baseball in a time in history were every other team seems to have a brand new and fan friendly park. A victory tonight, puts the A’S in the American League Championship Series and just four more wins from a fifth World Series title.

–An A’s team than wins a World Series this year could be extremely important for the future of this franchise, where they are going to play, and if they will be able to move to San José, per owners Wolff and Fisher desires. The Athletics in the World Series this year, would put the baseball park issue ‘front and center’, no way Commissioner Selig could hide from that. His blue ribbon commission has spent over 4 years trying to make a decision on the move of the A’s to San José, four years and no decision(World War II lasted around six years).

–But most important a win tonight for Bob Melvin’s A’s is a huge step in returning the prestige the luster back,of this franchise, after the last few years of the “party”across the bay at a truly beautiful stadium.

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One of these teams will win the 2013 World Series, in alphabetical order: Athletics, Cardinals, Dodgers, Red Sox and Tigers,  that’s it – it will be reduced tonight by one more team leaving and going home. They are all traditional franchises that have been operating in one same town for over a century, except the Athletics and Dodgers)

Vogt, Gray lead the A’s past the Tigers in Game 2

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Justin Verlander was filthy and Sonny Gray surprised everyone with his poise and confidence, but ultimately Stephen Vogt and his inside-out, single through a drawn-in infield stole the show on Saturday night.

Vogt’s single with the bases loaded scored Yoenis Cespedes with the game’s only run in the A’s 1-0 win that evened the ALDS series with Game 3 scheduled for Detroit on Monday.

You come up bases loaded, nobody out, and that’s what you dream of,” Vogt said.  “Look for something over the plate, stay in the middle of the field, just fortunate to come through.”

Prior to his game-winning moment, Vogt looked like a lot of other frustrated hitters on Saturday.  Verlander and Gray not only dominated the proceedings to that point, they embarrassed hitters along the way, combining to strike out 20, marking the first time in Major League post-season history that both starting pitchers struck out at least nine batters and didn’t allow a run.

Verlander and Gray both scattered four singles over the length of their outings, with the Detroit starter going seven while striking out 11.  Gray went eight innings and struck out nine.

Verlander’s big outing wasn’t a surprise, but when he produced one of the best starts of his career, the fact that Gray was able to match him nearly pitch-for-pitch was.   While Verlander backed off the heat just a little and had A’s hitters guessing what pitch was coming next, Gray stuck to his fastball-curveball combo to perfection, blowing up the strike zone and using his devastating curve as his out pitch.

Remember, Verlander’s a 30-year old veteran with six All-Star appearances while Gray’s made just 10 starts at the Major League level.

“You know, Sonny did one heck of a job,” Verlander said.  “He was able to use his angst and energy for a positive and a lot of young guys it works against them.  That’s why veterans usually seem to do better in post-season pressure.  He handled himself like a veteran and it was impressive.”

Both starters allowed a pair of baserunners to reach in the fifth inning, but they turned up the pressure at that point instead of letting the pressure cook them.  With two on and one out, Gray struck out Austin Jackson and Vogt threw out Jose Iglesias attempting to steal second base.  Verlander allowed the first two runners to reach and then retired Josh Reddick and struck out Vogt and Eric Sogard.

In the A’s ninth, Cespedes and Seth Smith singled off Al Alburquerque and Reddick was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Detroit manager Jim Leyland opted for Rick Porcello—normally a starter—at that point and he allowed Vogt’s game-winning hit on a 1-1 pitch.

The A’s avoided falling behind 2-0 in the series and will need to win just one of the two games in Detroit to force a series-deciding Game 5 back in Oakland on Thursday.

Miguel Cabrera went 1 for 4 with a strikeout and Detroit leadoff man Jackson struck out in all four of his plate appearances.  The Tigers’ Don Jackson joined Cespedes and Seth Smith as the only hitters in the game to produce two hits.

On Monday, Jarrod Parker will face the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez at 1:07 EST in Detroit.

Tigers beat A’s, 3-2, in ALDS Game 1

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By George Devine, Sr.

Last year, when Detroit played in a postseason game, it was their fourth straight loss to a Bay Area team, in this case San Francisco in the 2012 World Series. This year, the Tigers came to Oakland determined to show their stuff, and now they are 1-0 in the ALDS.

Before a national TV audience, and a sellout crowd of 48,401 in a balmy O.co Coliseum, the defending American League champions took charge in the first inning. Austin Jackson led off with a double to right and advanced to third as Torii Hunter walked. Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder to center field and brought Jackson home, but then Prince Fielder hit into a 6-4-3 double play which scored Hunter. Victor Martinez hit one of Bartolo Colon’s pitches just above shortstop Jed Lowrie, grazing the tip of his glove, and reached second, then came home when Alex Avila singled to right.

The only other scoring of the evening was a two-run homer to left by Yoenis Cespedes with Brandon Moss on base. Cespedes had tripled to left in the second off Max Scherzer and is one of only two Oakland Athletics to hit both a triple and a homer in a postseason game, the other being Rickey Henderson in Game 4 of the 1989 World Series at San Francisco. Coco Crisp obviously was someone Detroit did not want to pitch to; he walked three times and sruck out once.

Colon is the loser (6 ip, 10 h, 3 er, 4 k) and Scherzer the winner (7 ip, 3 h, 2 er, 2 w, 11 k, 1 hr). Joaquin Benoit picked up the save,

The two teams meet again at 6:07 p.m. on Saturday, October 5, with Sonny Gray facing fellow RHP Justin Verlander.