The losing streak is over as the A’s beat the M’s 3-2 in extra innings

by Charlie O. Mallonee

With one out in the top of the 10th inning and Tony Kemp at second base as the new extra-innings rules require, pinch hitter Robbie Grossman stepped into the batters’ box to face Seattle reliever, Dan Altavilla.

Grossman hit a 2-1 slider into right-center field that drove Kemp home to score the go-ahead run for the Athletics. Grossman motored all the way to third base when center fielder Kyle Lewis threw up his hands that the ball was stuck under the wall. After an umpire review of the ground rules, Grossman was sent back to second base and his hit was scored as an RBI-double.

The bottom of the 10th would be a test

The A’s sent Liam Hendricks to the mound to close out the game and get the win for Oakland. The Mariners Shed Long started the inning at second base. Hendricks set the side down in order to finish the game by striking out J.P. Crawford.

Hendricks picked up his second save of the season and has an ERA of 2.70.

Oakland pitching was strong

Mike Fiers (0-0, 5.40) made his second start of the season. Fiers worked 6.0 innings giving up two runs (both earned) off four hits. He struck out three and walked just one batter. Fiers threw 79 pitches (48 strikes). It was exactly the kind of starting effort the A’s needed.

The Oakland relievers were outstanding on Saturday night. Jake Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit both worked a perfect inning of relief each.

Joakim Soria worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning and wound up picking up his first win of the season.

The A’s found some hits in their bats

The key hit was Grossman’s pinch-hit RBI double that drove home the winning run for the A’s. The Mariners defense had to play Grossman straight away because of his power which gave him some open alleys to place the ball. It was Grossman’s second double of the season. He is now 7-for-20 at the plate.

Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-4 in the game and raised his batting average to .190. The A’s really need Piscotty to get going as he usually provides some much-needed punch for the Oakland offense.

Mark Canha hit a double in the contest and raised his average to .273. The A’s need Canha’s clutch hitting to put them back into the playoff race.

Tied for first place

The victory on Saturday night raised the A’s record to 4-4. That puts them into a tie for first place in AL West with the Houston Astros. The 60-game streak is certainly going to interesting.

Up next

The A’s and Mariners play game three of this four-game wrap-around series on Sunday afternoon.

The A’s will send RHP Chris Bassitt to the hill to start the game. This will be his second start of the season. Bassitt earned a no-decision in his first start of the year.

The Mariners will counter with RHP Kendall Graveman who is 0-1 so far this season. Graveman lasted just four innings in his last start and currently has a 13.50 ERA.

 

A’s get back into the win column by beating the Royals 2-1 on Tuesday night

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Graphic: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland A’s got back into the win column on Tuesday night as they downed the Kansas City Royals 2-1 at the Coliseum. The A’s were down 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning when they bit back at the upstart Royals.

Matt Olson hit a 450-foot home run into the center-field stands off a 2-1 pitch from the Royals starting pitcher Jorge Lopez. Lopez then had the most logical response to Olson’s home run — he hit Mark Canha with a pitch. No, Canha was not pleased.

With Canha at first, Seth Brown doubled to left-center field and drove Canha home to score what would prove to be the winning run of the game. Brown, who has been “clutch” for Oakland since being called up to the majors, made Lopez pay for his stupidity of hitting the next batter after Olson hit his home run. Lopez should have been ejected from the contest.

Focus on the A’s

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Photo: @Athletics
  • Oakland is now 24-8 (.750) versus the AL Central Division this season.
  • Liam Hendriks, who picked up his 23rd save of the season, has struck out 116 batters as a relief pitcher to set a franchise record. The old record was 115 and was set by Rollie Fingers in 1975.
  • A.J. Puk earned his second career win in this game. He has pitched 2.0 scoreless innings in each of his last outings. He gave up one hit and struck out two batters on Tuesday night.
  • Matt Olson now leads the A’s and American League first basemen with 35 home runs (that is after missing the first six weeks of the season due to injury).
  • Mark Canha has now been hit by a pitch 17 times this season. That ties him with Shin-soo Choo for the most HBP in the American League.
  • Relief pitcher Joakim Soria has not allowed a run in his last five appearances.
  • The A’s are now in Wild Card Slot #1 with a two-game lead over Tampa Bay, who is in Wild Card Slot #2. Cleveland is 1/2 game behind Tampa Bay for the second Wild Card spot.

Spotlight on the Royals

  • Royals starting pitcher Jorge Lopez has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last three starts.
  • Cheslor Cuthbert recorded his first multi-hit game since August 8th in Detroit. He is hitting .341 with three doubles and one HR versus AL West teams this season.
  • Hunter Dozier is batting .345 with four doubles, a triple and seven RBI in the month of September.

Up next

The Royals and A’s meet in a getaway day game tomorrow that will get underway at 12:37 PM PDT. The Royals will send LHP Danny Duffy to the mound. He has a 6-6 record on the season with a 4.55 ERA. He had a no-decision in his last start in Houston.

The A’s will start RHP Homer Bailey, who they obtained from the Royals, on Wednesday afternoon. Bailey is 13-8 on the year with a 4.76 ERA. He won his last start versus the Astros in Houston.

A’s beat the Rangers 8-6 on Saturday night, but it might’ve been a costly win

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Graphic: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics won their fifth consecutive game on Saturday night in Texas as they downed the Rangers 8-6. The victory keeps the A’s in sole possession of the AL Wild Card Slot #1 by 1/2 game over the Tampa Bay Rays. The other Wild Card contender — the Cleveland Indians — have dropped back 2.5-games in the standings.

The A’s will go for the sweep in Arlington on Sunday.

It may have been a costly win

Mike Fiers started the game for Oakland Saturday night. Fiers set the Rangers down in order in the bottom of the first inning, but things changed in the bottom of the second inning.

Nomar Mazara led off for Texas by flying out to center fielder Mark Canha. Danny Santana then singled to left-center field. Fiers committed a balk that moved Santana to second base.

Fiers then threw a wild pitch to Odor and Santana advanced to third base. Odor then hit a two-run home run to center field. Fiers then issued a walk to Delino DeShields.

Bob Melvin and the medical staff came out to check on Fiers and removed him from the game.

After the game, Fiers explained that he felt a shot of numbness and pain in pitching hand after throwing a “cutter” to Odor. He went on to explain that he was trying to avoid feeling that again, but he did not want to alter his pitching motion.

Fiers went on to say that he will undergo more medical examinations on Monday in the Bay Area.

The loss of Fiers for any time as the A’s are in this stretch run would be devastating

Oakland used six pitchers in the game

Paul Blackburn relieved Fiers working 2.0-innings and gave up two runs off four hits. Ryan Buchter worked 1.1-innings giving up no runs on two hits. Buchter earned the win.

Lou Trivino, Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, and Liam Hendriks also pitched for the A’s. Hendriks was credited with his 22nd save of the season.

The A’s used their power again on Saturday night

Matt Chapman hit his 33rd home run of the season — a three-run shot — in the third inning off Mike Minor. Chapman’s 33 home runs are a franchise record for third basemen.

Josh Phegley hit his 12th round-tripper off Minor the fourth inning. Mark Canha put his 24th HR over the wall in the fifth inning — again off Minor. Matt Olson hit his 34th home run of the year in the sixth inning — a solo shot — but this time it was off reliever Luke Farrell.

Minor took the loss

Mike Minor was a trade target for many contending clubs at the trade deadline, but the Rangers decided to hold on to their star pitcher. He was charged with the loss on Saturday night, and his record is now 13-9 for 2019. His ERA stands at 3.33.

Up next

The A’s will send LHP Sean Manaea to the mound for the third time this season on Sunday afternoon. Manaea is 1-0 with 0.75 ERA and is coming off a win over the Tigers on September 8th.

The Rangers will start RHP Jonathan Hernandez (1-0, 1.93 ERA). Hernandez will be “the opener” in what will be a “bullpen game” for the Rangers.

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.

In A New York Minute: A’s go from winners to losers in game’s final, seven pitches, Yankees win 5-4

By Morris Phillips

In New York, the subway is ever active, and a train is always coming. In the Bronx, that same certainty exists at Yankee Stadium: Murderers Row is now a nine-man cycle with a home run off a Yankees’ bat every 21 plate appearances.

Yes, a Yankees’ home run is always coming, and that’s how the A’s found themselves in the cross hairs on Sunday, clinging to a 4-3 lead in the ninth with the Yankees somehow 32 plate appearances into their muggy afternoon without a homer.

Liam Hendricks was tabbed by Bob Melvin to complete a five-out save, entering with the bases jammed and Gary Sanchez–the ring leader of the high-scoring New York attack–at the plate in the eighth. But after Sanchez popped out, Didi Gregorius lined a two-run single up the middle to trim the A’s lead to 4-3.

Now, in the ninth, Hendricks would face the bottom of the Yankees’ order, a welcome break with a caveat: in 2019, Murderers’ Row provides no breaks, and the A’s closer would see Brett Gardner first–the number seven hitter–more than capable with 18 home runs coming in.

Afterwards, Hendricks would complain that on this occasion he was a little off, missing several pitches off the plate. Ahead in the count, 2-1, Gardner would pounce, sending the next pitch into the right bleachers to tie it, 4-4.

“We believe in ourselves right down to the very end even if we’re down by a few runs,” said Gardner. “Our fans, I feel like, feel the same way. So we feel that, we feed off that.”

Manager Aaron Boone elected to lift Clint Frazier for pinch hitter Mike Ford with the game tied. Boone, awash in options with the September 1st roster expansion, chose a career minor leaguer who had hit 10 home runs in his first 36 major league games after receiving his first promotion at age 27, over Frazier, not a bad option with 11 home runs in 53 games this season.

Boone’s decision paid off when Ford smashed Hendricks’ offering on a 3-2 count, the ball landing in the bullpen beyond the right centerfield fence. Afterwards, Ford said the moment was a blur.

“I didn’t hear anything, which is crazy,” Ford said. “Just a whole rush of emotion.”

The Yankees became the first club to reach 90 wins on the season, and they found a response to the challenge put forth by the A’s, who won the first four contests in the season series.

The A’s get to erase the disappointment of consecutive, walk-off losses with a cross country flight home before facing the Rangers on Tuesday at the Coliseum.

Sean Manaea made his season debut in the contest, and pitched beautifully, shutting out the Bombers for five innings, allowing just one hit. Manaea gives the A’s tremendous flexibility as a sixth starter in the season’s final month.

Relievers Jake Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit also pitched effectively before Lou Trivino and Hendricks ran into trouble.

Sheldon Neuse’s first major league hit drove in a pair of runs in the seventh to break the scoreless stalemate. Neuse had 58 extra base-hits at Triple-A Las Vegas, forcing himself into the A’s crowded but underwhelming situation at second base. Ironically, Neuse’s double came off Ryan Dull, the former Athletic making his Yankees’ debut.

 

Twins win 7-6, A’s high leverage act gets the best of them in Minneapolis

By Morris Phillips

That splashy new closer/setup man the A’s are shopping for in the trade deadline buyer’s market, they could have found a big spot for him Sunday at Target Field.

The A’s showed up fashionably late offensively–imagine the Oakland starting lineup taking in a trendsetter’s Sunday brunch at 4Bells in nearby Minneapolis Loring Park before venturing to the park, perhaps–scoring for the first time in the fifth inning, then never letting up. Trailing 4-0 in the fifth, the A’s scored in four consecutive innings, to take their first lead in the eighth, 6-5.

Then they carried the lead into the bottom of the ninth, and Bob Melvin summoned his All-Star closer Liam Hendriks to get the last three outs.

But not so fast. The A’s were tempting fate by frustrating the Twins’ home crowd, assuming a lead in the seventh inning or later for the third straight day. Not to mention the Twins’ hitters, who are threatening to become the first team to hit 300 home runs in a season, obliterating the Major League record, and the team as a whole, feeling pressure in the NL Central standings for the first time all season, and desperate to avoid a third straight, deflating loss at home.

“We have been playing good games but have been losing a couple of them,” said Max Kepler. “Teams have been coming back on us.”

And the pressure on Hendriks–who’s been lights out in a streak of 20 plus innings without allowing a run–couldn’t be discounted. The 30-year old Australian has thrown 460 innings at the big league level over nine seasons, but only has nine saves, eight of them since June 22, when he vibrantly morphed into an elite reliever. In fact, Twins’ fans remember Hendriks as a 23-year old free agent pickup who gave up 17 home runs in 16 starts and went 1-8 with a 5.59 ERA in 2012, his second of three seasons in Minneapolis.

A’s fans? They best know Hendriks as a forefather in the opener movement with eight starts in that role in 2018.

But Melvin embraced Hendriks last month, watched him run at world record speed in his new role, and gave little hesitation to tabbing him to close the door for a third, consecutive day for the first time in his career.

Melvin gave little consideration before–or after Hendriks allowed a game-tying triple to Ehire Adrianza, and a game-winning single to Kepler.

“They hit some good pitches,” said Melvin. “His stuff was no different today than any other day. At some point in time, he was probably going to blow one. It’s kind of the nature of the game.”

“These guys worked their tails off today, and I couldn’t bring it home. It’s disappointing in that regard,” Hendriks admitted.

The A’s blew a chance to remain within 5 1/2 games of the division-leading Astros with a three-game set in Houston starting on Monday. And their lead in the wild card race shrunk to one game over the Rays, and three games over the Red Sox.

So it’s just one game lost, but could it become more?

The organization’s thought process one the closer’s role is more complicated now given setup man Lou Trivino and former closer Blake Treinen are once again healthy and available. Not to mention whoever is acquired in the coming days as many assume the A’s will attempt to bolster their bullpen much like they did last season.

Remember last year’s post season push, and GM David Forst’s belief? One closer’s great, but why not have two or three? Well if that’s the case, the A’s have 10 days to make some decisions that could define their season. If the A’s add on, none of the candidates–Hendriks included–gets handed the task of a third save in three days again this season.

On Monday in Houston, Homer Bailey makes his second start as an Athletic, and Gerrit Cole goes for the Astros. This will be the first of 11 remaining meetings between the two contenders, but so far it’s been all Houston. The Astros have captured seven of the first eight meetings in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two out ninth inning Hit By Pitch leads to A’s 5-4 victory over the Twins

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Photo/Graphic: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

In the top of the ninth inning, the Oakland Athletics trailed the Minnesota Twins 4-3 with two outs when Mark Canha came to the plate to face Taylor Rogers. Rogers threw Canha a slider that hit the batter on the back foot to give the A’s a runner to keep the inning alive.

Ramon Laureano hit a double to left field that moved Canha into scoring position at third base. That set the table for Khris Davis who hit a line drive to the right side of the infield that deflected off the glove of first baseman Ehire Adrianza that allowed Canha and Laureano to score. The A’s took the lead 5-4.

The Twins did not go quietly into the night

The A’s brought in Liam Hendriks to close out the game in the bottom of the ninth. It was clear right from the first batter that Hendriks was not as sharp as he usually is on the mound. He had pitched on Friday night and that may have taken a toll on his effectiveness.

Hendriks ended up loading the bases with just one out. Mitch Garver came to bat and hit the first pitch from Hendriks on the ground to the shortstop Marcus Semien. Semien underhanded the ball to Profar who had plenty of time to make the throw to Olson at first to complete the double play. Just that quickly, the A’s had won the game 5-4.

A’s Spotlight

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Liam Hendriks celebrates the save Photo: @Athletics
  • Blake Treinen (3-3, 4.46) was credited with the win. Treinen pitched 0.2-innings giving up one hit and walking two hitters.
  • Liam Hendriks picked up his eighth save of the season while working his way out that ninth-inning jam.
  • Starting pitcher Brett Anderson did not figure into the final decision and had to leave the game due to a blister on the left middle finger. His status is listed as day-to-day.
  • Matt Olson extended his hitting streak to 15 games which is now the longest active streak in baseball. Olson is now hitting .295 (18-for-61) with four home runs over the 15 games.
  • Ramon Laureano recorded his 29th multi-hit game and fifth consecutive contest on Saturday night. The young outfielder has hit 20 home runs this season.
  • Mark Canha hit his 16th home run of the season on Saturday night. He is now just one home run short of tying his career-high of 17 which he set last season.

Twins Notes

  •   Taylor Rogers (2-2, 1.97) was the losing pitcher. Rogers was also charged with a blown save – ouch!
  • Minnesota starting pitcher Jose Berrios worked 5.2 innings and gave up no runs, but he did not figure into the final decision.
  • This was the first loss this season for the Twins when they were leading after eight innings. They are now 53-1 when leading after eight innings.
  • The Twins have hit 181 home runs this season tying them with the Dodgers, Brewers, and Braves for the most home runs hit in the Major Leagues.
  • Miguel Sano hit his 14th home run of the season in the game, but it was just his second round-tripper at Target Field this year.
  • Nelson Cruz hit his 379th career home run on Saturday night which allowed him to pass A’s coach Matt Williams on the All-Time list.

Up Next

The A’s and Twins wrap up this four-game series on Sunday at 11:10 PM PDT. Oakland will send RHP Daniel Mengden (5-1, 4.21) to face the Twins RHP Michael Pineda (6-5, 4.38).

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: All-Star Game? A’s Hendriks and Giants’ Smith both give up the home run ball in relief; A’s Chapman scores on DP ball

Photo credit: @athletics_fanly

On the Headline Sports podcast with London:

#1 After all the talk about the home run ball and plenty of them, the All-Star Game in Cleveland was a low scoring affair before the American League scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-1. Earlier, the American League scored a single run in the second and fifth innings and the American League got two runs in the top of the sixth. The National League tried to make a come back with two runs in the top of the eight but just couldn’t pass the AL in the 4-3 one run AL win.

#2 Representing the San Francisco Giants at the All-Star Game was reliever Will Smith, who got his 23rd save on Wednesday night against the San Diego Padres, which translate to a great first half, despite the Giants struggling in last place in the NL West. At the All-Star Game, Smith gave up a home run in the seventh.

#3 Representing the Oakland A’s were A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, who hit .265, 90 RBIs and 21 home runs, and relief pitcher Liam Hendriks, who is 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA.

#4 For Hendriks, he has saved 23 straight games without a blown save. The A’s are in the hunt for a wild card and are just seven games behind first place Houston and Hendriks closing games will be crucial in the home stretch. Hendriks — in the All-Star Game — gave up a home run for an earned run and struck out three batters.

#5 Meanwhile, the A’s Matt Chapman had some better luck scoring a run from third when the Boston Red Sox Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play.

London Marq does Headline Sports each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Charlie O: Hendriks and Chapman thrilled to be at All-Star Game in Cleveland

Photo credit: @hyphen18

On the A’s podcast with Charlie O:

#1 How thrilled must A’s pitcher Liam Hendriks and A’s third baseman Matt Chapman have to be about being selected for the 2019 All-Star Game?

#2 Hendriks has put up some great numbers in the first half of the season with 23 straight saves.

#3 It’s got to be monumental that Hendriks has pitched that long without a blown save.

#4 Chapman is hitting .265, with 90 hits and 21 home runs. He had a great offensive first half.

#5 A lot is on the line to win the derby; $1 million to win it at the All-Star Game.

Charlie O does the A’s podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com