Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: Hendriks and Chapman represent A’s at the All-Star game; Each player thrilled to be there

Photo credit: @nypost

On the Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 The Oakland A’s Liam Hendriks gets the call to represent the Oakland A’s after the Tampa Bay Rays’ Charlie Morton is a scratch. Morton, who pitched on Sunday, was not available for the All-Star game because he only got a day’s rest.

#2 Hendriks posted a 3-0 record (1.27 ERA). Hendriks is fourth in strike outs (58) and fifth in innings pitched (46.2).

#3 The Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman took Sunday off to rest up to play in the All-Star game in Cleveland. Chapman hit .265, 21 home runs, 52 RBIs, 59 runs scored.

#4 Chapman will participate in the Home Run Derby. He has been hitting quite a few of them during the season and should be a great challenger on Monday night.

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

A’s shutout Angels 4-0 on Saturday night in Anaheim

Halos Anderson
Brett Anderson gave up just two hits on Saturday night Photo: @Athltetics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics won their second consecutive game over the Angels on Saturday night 4-0. The A’s combined strong pitching and key hitting to stop “the Halos” in their tracks.

The win upped the Athletics record to 45-39 for the season and made them 4-1 on this six-game road trip. They are 7.0 games behind first-place Houston and 1.5 games back of second-place Texas. Oakland is now 1.5 games out of the Wild Card race.

Pitching was key for the A’s

Brett Anderson had an outstanding start for the Athletics on Saturday night. He was able to work 7.2-innings of shutout baseball. Anderson allowed just two hits, two walks and struck out three Los Angeles batters. He threw 100 pitches (63 strikes). Anderson’s record improved to 8-5 for the year.

Liam Hendricks came in to close out the game for Oakland. Hendricks worked 1.1-innings giving up one hit and striking out two. It was not a save situation for Hendricks.

A’s used their power to score

Halos Chapman
Chapman hit home run #20 on Saturday night Photo: @Athletics

Oakland put three runs up on the board in the fifth inning. Marcus Semien doubled to left field to send Jurickson Profar home to score. For Semien, it was his 19th double and 42nd RBI of the season.

Also in the fifth inning, Matt Chapman hit a two-run home run (20) with Semien on base. That gave the A’s a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the seventh inning, Josh Phegley hit a single to right field that allowed Profar to score again. That put the A’s up 4-0.

The four-game series concludes on Sunday

Oakland will send Chris Bassitt (4-3, 3.86) to the hill to face off against Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.99). The first pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM.

A’s enjoy Saturday at the park, down the Rays 4-2

Rays Scoreboard
Scoreboard celebrates the win Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND — The A’s jumped back into the win column on Saturday as they beat the  Tampa Bay/Montreal Rays 4-2. The win upped the A’s record to 41-37 on the season and makes them 6-3 for the homestand. The loss drops the Rays to 44-33 for the year.

Mike Fiers made the start for the A’s, and he fought for six tough innings on the mound. Fiers allowed just one run (earned) off four hits. He struck out two Rays and walked three. Fiers also hit three Tampa Bay batters which put him some peril that his defense helped put down several times. For all of his efforts, Fiers wound up with a no-decision for the outing.

Ryan Buchter relieved Fiers in the seventh inning but was ineffective, and Yusmeiro Petit was brought into the contest with two out and a runner at third. Petit struck out Kevin Kiermaier to end the inning.

Petit would come back out for the top of the eighth inning. Petit made short work of the Rays as he struck out the side. He faced four hitters and struck out all four. Petit would also pick up the win to make his record 2-1 for 2019.

Liam Hendricks entered the game in the ninth to close things out for the A’s. He sat the Rays down in order to earn his first save of the season.

Focus on the A’s

Rays Bobblehead
It was Matt Olson Bobblehead Day Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee
  • Matt Chapman continued to give Oakland big hits as launched his 18th home run of the season off Yonny Chirinos in the third inning. He then hit a double (20) in the seventh that drove Josh Phegley home to score the go-ahead run in the game. It was his 43rd RBI of the season. Bob Melvin said in his postgame comments that he really intended to give Chapman the day off, but his third baseman would not have anything to do with sitting on the bench.
  • Ramon Laureano went 2-for-2 in the game and was hit twice by pitches. In fact, a total of five batters were hit pitches in the game on Saturday (Rays 3, A’s 2). Laureano also made two fine defensive plays in center field. In the top of the third inning, he caught a fly ball off the bat of Austin Meadows. Brandon Lowe was at third and thought about tagging up then heading home. Laureano gunned the ball to Beau Taylor. Lowe had to hold at third. Then in the fourth inning, Joey Wendle hit a ball into the gap in left-center field. Laureano fielded the ball while Wendle decided to stretch his single into a double. The A’s centerfielder threw Wendle out at second base.
  • The A’s moved two runners up in the game twice via the steal. One was a steal of second. The other was a steal of third base by Laureano.
  • The A’s were 2-for-11 with Runners in Scoring Position. They left eight runners on base.

Tampa Bay notes

  • The Rays did not use an “opener” in the game on Saturday. Yonny Chirinos made the start and worked 6.0-innings giving up two runs (both earned) on two hits. He struck out three and walked two. Chirinos did not figure into the decision.
  • Diego Castillo came on in relief of Chirinos. He gave up two runs off two hits. Castillo (1-6) was tagged with the loss. Castillo was also the loser on Thursday night.
  • Ji-Man Choi has hit six home runs in his last 25 games. His home run (9) on Saturday off Buchter was his first versus a left-handed pitcher this season.
  • Avisail Garcia was hit by a pitch in each of his first two plate appearances.

Injury news update from the A’s

Rays Melvin
Melvin after the 4-2 win over the Rays Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Manager Bob Melvin announced during his postgame press conference that closer Blake Treinen has been placed on the Injury List for a “mild shoulder issue”. More details will follow.

Up next on the schedule

The A’s will send LHP Brett Anderson (7-4, 3.68 ERA) to the mound on Sunday to close out the 10-day homestand. The Rays are going with infamous “To Be Determined”. That probably means an opener followed by a group of relievers.

Twitter: @Charlieo1320

Oakland A’s podcast with Joey Friedman: A’s get that walkoff feeling as the comeback team in series with Cleveland

photo from mercurynews.com: Oakland Athletics reliever Liam Hendriks (16) throws in the ninth inning of their MLB game against the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

On the A’s podcast with Joey:

#1 The Oakland A’s came away on Saturday with their second straight walkoff win over Cleveland in a narrow 2-1 win. In baseball, the critics once said signs of a good club is one that can come back from behind.

#2 The A’s have improved their home record to 14-9 at the Coliseum and have taken the first two games of this current series with Cleveland.

#3 The Oakland A’s Liam Hendricks, who started the ballgame as an opener, succeeded in striking out a batter, surrendering one hit and pitching one inning the opener concept in this one worked out.

#4 The A’s reliever Aaron Brooks came in the second inning and pitched four innings giving up four hits and striking out four and his game plan worked out in setting the Cleveland order down.

#5 The A’s and Cleveland conclude this three-game series at the Coliseum. Jefry Rodriguez (0-2, 2.41 ERA) he’ll counter against newly recalled Daniel Mengden (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who was just recalled from the A’s triple A affiliate Las Vegas.

Joey does the A’s podcasts each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s win second consecutive game downing Cleveland 3-2 in a walk-off on Saturday

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Photo/Graphic: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND — Don’t look now but the Oakland Athletics are on a roll. After beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Saturday, the A’s have now won two consecutive games. They are 4-1 on this homestand versus teams from Ohio — Cleveland and Cincinnati. The A’s record at the Coliseum has improved to 14-9 for 2019.

This fact may come as a surprise to A’s fans — their team has a 5-4 record in the month of May to date. In what has seemed to be an atmosphere of gloom and doom for the A’s recently, in reality, things have actually have been going fairly well. Oakland is no longer in the cellar in the AL West and are just a 1/2 game out of third place.

The “opener” is back

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Aaron Brooks works against Cleveland Photo: @Athletics

The A’s used Liam Hendricks as an “opener” on Saturday against the Indians. Hendricks pitched one scoreless inning allowing just one hit and striking out one batter. This was the first time Oakland used an “opener” in 2019 while they employed the concept nine times in 2018.

Aaron Brooks took over in the second inning and worked four innings for the A’s. He gave up one run (earned) off four hits. Brooks struck out four Cleveland hitters and walked three. He also allowed one home in the fifth inning to Leonys Martin (6).

Cleveland used just two hurlers

Trevor Bauer made the start for Cleveland and lasted for seven innings. He threw 122 pitches and struck out 10 Oakland batters. Bauer allowed two runs, but neither run was earned. Bauer did not figure into the final decision.

A.J. Cole worked the final 1.1-innings and took the loss.

Cleveland tied it up in the top of the ninth

The A’s held a 2-1 lead as Cleveland came to bat in the top of the ninth inning. Blake Treinen was summoned from the bullpen to close out the game. Well, that is not how things would go for Oakland.

Jordan Luplow led off the inning with a single to left. Mike Freeman laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Luplow up to second base. Carlos Gonzalez came in as a pinch hitter and struck out swinging. Leonys Martin then hit a single through the hole on the left side of the infield that allowed Luplow to come home and score the tying run.

The A’s walk it off again

With the score tied 2-2, the A’s had the opportunity to end the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. With A.J. Cole on the hill, Matt Olson led off the inning with a walk. Kendrys Morales then singled to center moving Olson up to second base. Stephen Piscotty laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Olson to third and Morales to second. Ramon Laureano then singled to right field that drove Olson home to score the winning for Oakland.

The A’s are 1-14 when going homerless in a game

Oakland entered the game 0-14 when not hitting a home run a game. The A’s broke that streak today as they beat Cleveland without the aid of a round-tripper. Houston and Seattle have not won a game without hitting a home run.

Chapman loves playing Cleveland

Matt Chapman has reached base safely in his eight career games versus Cleveland. He is batting .483 (14-for-29) with nine runs, five doubles, a triple, three home runs, four RBI, and four walks versus the Northern Ohio team.

Up Next

The three-game series will conclude on Sunday when Cleveland will send Jefry Rodriguez (0-2, 2.41 ERA) to the mound in search of a win. The A’s will call on Daniel Mengden for the first time this season. The righthanded mustached pitcher has been recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas after making six starts in the minors. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Liam Hendriks for “openers”

Photo credit: athleticsnation.com

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

On Saturday, the Oakland Athletics against the visiting Cleveland Indians, started a game with Liam Hendriks, as an “opener” for the first time since October 3, 2018 at Yankee Stadium for the one-game Wild Card elimination game, which the Yankees won 7-2. After Hendriks was slated to open the game and pitch only the first inning, he allowed no runs, walked one and struck out one. A’s manager Bob Melvin followed with a parade of pitchers: Aaron Brooks, Yusmeiro Petit, Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen, who was accredited with the A’s 3-2 win over the Indians.

Thirty years ago, there were 622 complete games in MLB. Last season, just a total of 42 and just 13 pitchers threw for 200-plus innings. That was the way pitching has gone, and with just about every team hitting lots of home runs so far this season, with the exceptions of the Marlins and Giants, pitching is so deluded now, that I would not be surprised “openers” are here to stay.

I know it is the wrong sport, but the great Al Davis used to say “just win baby” and the same thing applies in baseball. Use whatever formula works. Soon the National League will adopt the DH rule. It is inevitable, you know it and everybody knows it. So there are some general changes and regulations that MLB will establish, but there are others that just happen and the “opener” is one of those.

Pitching is becoming a commodity as hard to find as diamonds, the hardest mineral to find on earth. Not many years ago, pitching coaches will tell their starters on the rotation “give me six good innings”.  Today, that is for the “opener” give me one good inning — three outs in the first inning and your are out of the game.

I am not the one who likes to predict the future, but I predict one record that will never be broken is that of Cy Young, who pitched 7,356 innings in 22 seasons. Of course, different eras. Back then, the only count was that of the attendance, but no count of pitches thrown. But that was then and it’s something that we will never see again.

Bob Melvin is one of the best managers in the game. In a perfect world, he would have had at least a semi-set rotation and would have never used the “opener”, but it is not easy to win a game in the majors.

After he retired and did TV commentary, I once asked my all-time favorite manager Sparky Anderson: “In your opinion how many games does a manager win during a season using pure strategy?” He told me: “Maybe 10 to 15 games.” Sparky and many others never had to manage “openers” because a pitcher that begins a game, if not abused in the first inning, is expected to go a long way.

The defensive shift, is slowly changing as hitters are adjusting. but you better get used to the “opener”, and if it becomes a common thing, there will also be a stats for openers and their success. Why not? Baseball is filled with changes. Remember there was no RBI recorded until 1920.

So, the tale of the story, you better get use to “openers”, because they could be as valuable as closers.

The A’s win for the 97th time, downing the Angels 5-2

LAA Hendriks
Liam Hendriks was the “opener” on Saturday night Photo: @NBCS

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics know what they will be doing next Wednesday night. They will be in the Bronx, New York at Yankee Stadium fighting for their very “baseball lives” in the 2018 American League Wild Card Game. The problem for the A’s is they have to finish the regular season in Anaheim before heading to the East Coast.

The Athletics have two goals for those final games on Saturday and Sunday at the “Big A”:

  1. Don’t get hurt and
  2. DON’T GET HURT!

Oakland has been a team that has been besieged by injuries this season and they cannot afford to lose any member of this team before heading into the playoffs. Of course, these proud athletes want to win, but staying healthy is more important than winning at this point in the season.

Fortunately, the A’s were able to win and stay healthy on Saturday night. Oakland set the tone of the game in the first inning in a very familiar way. With two out and Matt Chapman on at first base, Khris Davis hit a pitch from Tyler Skaggs over the right field wall for his 48th home run of the season to give the A’s a 2-0 lead. The two RBIs upped Davis’ total to 123 for the season.

The A’s decided to go with the “bullpenning” pitching philosophy in game two of this final series of the regular season. As usual, Liam Hendriks opened the game on the mound working the first for Oakland. Trevor Cahill became the “featured pitcher” taking over in the bottom of the second inning.

Oakland added another run in the top of the third inning when Jed Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Ramon Laureano to score from third. Laureano hit a double to lead off the inning.

The Angels took advantage of an A’s fielding error, added a stolen base and well-timed RBI single to score their first run of the game in bottom of the fifth inning.

Jim Johnson–yes, that Johnson who pitched for Oakland back in 2014–took over the pitching duties for the Angels. Jed Lowrie stepped in the batter’s box and hit his 23rd homer of the season off Mr. Johnson to up the A’s lead to 4-1.

Fernando Rodney took the ball for the A’s in the bottom of the seventh and he struggled. With the bases loaded and two out, Rodney walked in the Angels second run of the contest. He then had to face Mike Trout with bases loaded. Rodney was able to get Trout to fly out to right field and the A’s were still leading 4-2 after seven full innings.

In the top of the eighth inning, the A’s loaded up the bases with one out. Stephen Piscotty hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by Kole Calhoun. Ramon Laureano tagged up at third and scored the A’s fifth run of the game.

That would be it for scoring in the game and Oakland recorded their 97th win of 2018 with the 5-2 victory.

LAA 5-2
Graphic: @Angels

The “Bullpenning” A’s
Oakland used six pitchers in their win on Saturday night. Hendriks opened while Trevor Cahill filled the role of the featured pitcher going 4.0 innings giving up one run (earned) on one hit. He walked one and struck out one batter.

Shawn Kelley worked one inning walking one and striking out two. Fernando Rodney had very shaky outing as he wound up facing seven batters and giving up an earned run in the seventh inning.

Familia came in to set things up in the eighth inning and Blake Treinen closed it out in the ninth.

Cahill (7-4) was awarded the win while Treinen picked up his 38th save of the year.

Angels’ hurlers
LA starter Tyler Skaggs (8-10) took the loss after giving up the two-run home run to Davis in the first inning. The Angels used six pitchers who did not do a bad job. The gave up five runs off eight hits. They walked four A’s and struck out nine. It was the two home runs that really did the Angels in on Saturday night.

A’s at the plate

LAA Davis
Two guys who love the game Photo: @Athletics
  • Ramon Laureano continues to be amazing. He went 2-for-5 in this game scoring two runs. Yes, he scored each time he reached base.
  • Jed Lowrie does it again with a home run, sacrifice fly, two RBI and a run scored.
  • Khris Davis (yes, they must sign him to a long-term contract) had just another day at the office with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored.
  • Chad Pinder went 2-for-4 in the game.

LA Stars

  • Only four Angels managed to get a hit in the game–Jose Fernandez, Andrelton Simmons, Taylor Ward and Kaleb Cowart.
  • Five LA batters did reach base by way of a walk.
  • Ouch! The Angels left nine men on base.

Up next
Game 162 of the 2018 season will get underway at 12:07 pm PT on Sunday. All MLB games on Sunday will begin in the noon hour in their respective time zones. Brett Anderson (4-5, 4.42) will start for the A’s while Matt Shoemaker (2-2, 4.82) will take the mound for the Halos.

A’s can’t survive a night of bullpenning and home runs; Rays win 7-5

Tampa Bay Jake Bauers
Jake Bauers hit the game-winning 3-run home run for the Rays Photo: @RaysBaseball

By Charlie O. Mallonee

If the Tampa Bay Rays were in the National League, they would be in the fight for a spot in the Wild Card game. They are not a walkover team anymore. The Rays have an 81-66 record this season. Unfortunately for the Rays and their fans, they play in the American League East where the Boston Red Sox have clinched the division with a 102-47 record to date, and the Yankees are in second place with a 91-57 record.

The Rays brought their “A game” on Saturday night as they handed the A’s their second loss on this six-game road trip 7-5. The game featured 21 hits, 4 home runs, 14 runners left on base, 15 strikeouts and 12 pitching changes over 3 hours and 19 minutes.

The loss was very costly for the A’s in their chase for the AL West crown and the home field advantage in AL Wild Card Game. The Astros beat the D-Backs 10-4 on Saturday and increased their lead over the A’s to 3.5 games. The A’s elimination number is now 11.

The A’s (90-59) had the opportunity to move within a half-game of the Yanks for the top Wild Card slot because the Bombers lost to the Blue Jays 8-7 on Saturday. Because Oakland lost, they remain 1.5 games behind New York in the second Wild Card spot.

More Bullpening
It was another bullpenning game for the A’s. Liam Hendriks was “the opener” on the mound for Oakland. He pitched one inning, allowing one hit and striking out one.

Dean Kiekhefer took over in the second inning and things did not go well for him. He gave up two runs (both earned) on three hits. The big blow came when Brandon Lowe hit a two-run homer with one on and no outs. Ryan Dull had to come in to close out the inning.

Chris Bassitt was the “featured pitcher” of the game. He worked 3.0 innings giving up one run (earned) off two hits. He struck out three Rays and walked two.

Yusmeiro Petit was the next man up. Petit gave up a run (earned) off one hit.

The brightest spot of the night for the A’s may have been the performance of reliever Fernando Rodney in the seventh inning of the game. Rodney has really struggled recently but not in this game. Rodney gave up no runs while he struck out one and walked one.

Jeurys Familia would have rather stayed in the hotel. Familia was brought in to pitch the eighth inning. He only gave up one hit, but it was a go-ahead three-run homer by Jake Bauers that ultimately proved to be the game-winning hit. Familia (8-6) was tagged with the loss.

A’s with the bat

  • Matt Chapman went 3-for-5 and hit his 23rd home run of the season in the ninth inning off Sergio Romo.
  • The other Matt (Olson) had a 2-for-3 night at the plate and he hit his 27th homer of the year in this game.
  • Marcus Semien had a 2-for-4 night including a run scored. He was also involved in an incident with the home plate umpire that eventually caused A’s manager Bob Melvin to get ejected.

Rays’ notes

Tampa Bay Kelvin Kiermeier
The Rays Kevin Kiermaier hit a key triple in the game Photo: @RaysBaseball
  • The Rays went bullpening as well on Saturday. Ryne Stanek was the opener and then Yonny Chirinos was “the featured pitcher.” He lasted 5.1 innings.
  • Andrew Kittredge (2-2) was the eventual winner of the game.
  • Bauers not only hit a home run, he recorded four RBIs in the game.
  • Brandon Lowe had two RBIs, two runs scored in addition to his home run.
  • Kevin Kiermaier hit a triple and posted two RBIs

Up next

The A’s will send RHP Mike Fiers (12-6, 3.29 ERA) to the mound to face the Rays’ RHP Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.31 ERA) in the Sunday finale at 10:10 AM PDT.

15 runs, 18 hits, 14 pitchers–September baseball is here! M’s down A’s 8-7 on Saturday night

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By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND — If you are planning to come to the ballpark between now and the end of the season, bring seat cushion with you. Every team in the Major Leagues could expand their roster on Saturday. The A’s added eight players to their active roster, bringing their total of available players to 33.

A’s manager Bob Melvin talked about how much the club was looking forward to having the extra help down the stretch in September. After 136 games, a team is tired, bruised and battered from the rigors of playing every day. Melvin was also looking forward to having extra help in the bullpen.

Oakland lost the services of two starters last week. Sean Manaea was diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis and may not be available for the remainder of the season. Brett Anderson went down with a strained left forearm and is eligible to come off the disabled list on September 7. The A’s chose not to go out on the waiver trade market for a starter and instead bolstered their bullpen.

Saturday night was the beginning of a new experiment

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The Tampa Bay Rays shocked the baseball world earlier this season when they began using an “opener” instead of a starting pitcher in their games. Former Giants reliever Sergio Romo made headlines when he “opened” the game pitching one inning then turning it over to what would have been the starting pitching who was now a long relief pitcher. Confused?

There is a method behind the madness. First, the Rays really believe in the strength of their bullpen. Secondly, the Rays are adhering to the concept of limiting the number times hitters are allowed to see a “starting pitcher.” The prevailing thought is that batter should only see a pitcher twice because the hitters become too effective in the third time at bat.

The A’s decided to go with the same philosophy on Saturday night. Reliever Liam Hendricks was put into the role of “opener.”  He lasted 1.2 innings, giving up two runs off two hits. He gave up both runs in the second inning. Danny Coulombe came on to relieve Hendricks and gave up an RBI double to the only batter he faced. Emilio Pagan then took over from Coulombe and ended the second inning by getting Haniger to fly out in foul territory. That second inning set the tone for the rest of the game.

“Starter” Daniel Mengden entered the game in the top of the third inning and lasted 2.0 innings. He gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits. Mengden walked one and struck out one Mariner. You will want to listen to Melvin’s comments about Mengden’s performance.

The A’s newest pitcher–reliever Cory Gearrin–made his Oakland debut in the game in the fifth inning, and it was less than a stellar beginning. Melvin said that Gearrin is not used to pitching from behind (the A’s were down 8-1 at that point). Gearrin allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits. Melvin said Gearrin just needs to get his feet on the ground and he will be fine.

The A’s also used Hatcher, Buchter, Wendelken, and Familia as relievers in the game. For those of you scoring at home, that is a total of nine pitchers used by the A’s in nine innings.

Those nine pitchers gave up 8 runs (7 earned) off 12 hits. They struck out five M’s batters and walked two.

The M’s used six pitchers in the game even though their starting pitcher (who was a traditional starting pitcher) James Paxton lasted 5.0 innings. Seattle pitching gave up 7 runs (6 earned) on six hits. They walked six and struck out 18 Oakland batters. Paxton struck out 10.

Oh, you would like to know who won the game

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I am sorry. I am so tired from the length of the game (3 hours and 33 minutes) that I forgot to mention the Mariners won the game 8-7. Paxton was the winner and is now 11-5 on the year. “Opener” Liam Hendricks took the loss and is now 0-1 for the season.

The M’s (76-60) now lead the four-game series 2-1. The Astros (83-53) beat the Angels Saturday night, so the A’s (81-56) are now 2.5 games back of Houston for first-place in the AL West. The win moves Seattle within 4.5 games of the A’s for second-place and for the second Wild Card slot.

Just when you thought it was over–it wasn’t

The A’s were trailing 8-2 as they came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning. If it had not been a fireworks night, a good portion of the 28,760 fans in the crowd would have already been on the freeway headed home. Instead, the fans were still in their seats after three-plus hours and were ready to see their team make some fireworks of their own.

Alex Colome came out of the bullpen to take over the pitching duties for Seattle. The first batter he faced was Khris Davis who promptly dispatched a 2-1 pitch into the right field seats for his 40th home run of the season. The crowd came to life and this reporter got his focus back because the A’s are team of late-inning miracles.

Stephen Piscotty followed up the home run with a single. Matt Olson struck out pinch hitting for Pinder. Ramon Laureano singled up the middle and Piscotty moved up to second base. Mark Canha walked to load the bases with one out. Dustin Fowler entered the game as a pinch hitter and struck out.

That brought a pitching change by Seattle, who sent Edwin Diaz to the mound and Colome to the showers. Marcus Semien hit a double to left-center field that cleared the bases with the help of a fielding error charged to Denard Span and made the score 8-7. Matt Chapman struck out to end the inning.

Another wild ninth inning
In the top of the ninth, Jeurys Familia took the hill to stop the Mariners from scoring additional runs. Familia set the side down in order giving the A’s a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth.

The M’s brought in their closer Edwin Diaz to stop any thoughts the A’s had of winning the game. Jed Lowrie led off the ninth with a base-on-balls. Khris Davis went down swinging. Stephen Piscotty also struck out, so it all came down to Matt Olson with Lowrie at first. Olson also became a strikeout victim and Diaz notched his 51st save of the season.

Back to the need for a seat cushion
This game featured 15 runs, 18 hits, and 13 pitching changes. That required 3 hours and 33 minutes to complete. Trust me, you will want a seat cushion for any game that goes that long. Plus, get seats close to a restroom.

Up next
The A’s and M’s wrap up this four-game series on Sunday at 1:05 PM PDT.

Seattle will send RHP “King” Felix Hernandez (8-12, 5.49) to the mound to make his 401st MLB start. The A’s will return to using a traditional starting pitcher by sending RHP Edwin Jackson (4-3, 3.03) to the hill.

Athletics sweep the Rangers out of town by winning 8-1 on Sunday in Oakland

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Jed Lowrie loads up to hit a two-run double Photo Jordan Chapin Sports Radio Service

by Charlie O. Mallonee and Jordan Chapin

Oakland – The Athletics have now won seven games in a row after sweeping a three-game series from the Wild Card contending Texas Rangers. The A’s completed the sweep with an 8-1 win on Sunday in front of 18,706 fans at the Coliseum on “Hecho en Oakland” Day.

This was also the second consecutive series sweep for the Athletics who took a three-game series from the Tigers in Detroit to wrap up a nine-game road trip. Oakland has now won seven consecutive games. That is their longest winning streak of the season.

The Athletics (72-83) have won 14 games in September – the most in any month this year.

Warning!

Many experts will tell you not to fall in love with “September baseball”. There is some great wisdom in that statement. Rosters have been expanded. Players may be playing over their heads as they try to impress the front offices. Some veterans are just going through the motions. It is not a true barometer of what is going to happen in the future.

In the case of the Athletics, two very important things have happened in September that are worth noting for the future:

  • This young Oakland roster has learned to win on the road. The A’s have been tough at home all season but have been terrible away from the Coliseum. This newly constituted roster of “young guns” has taken on the challenge from Bob Melvin and learned how to win on the road. That is a lesson that can carry over into April of next year.
  • The Athletics also became a team that plays their division opponents tough. The A’s swept a four-game series from the Astros in September. Now they have swept the Rangers. Taking care of business with the teams in your division is the key to becoming competitive and moving toward becoming a playoff contender.

Pitching was a real key for the A’s

Jharel Cotton started the game for Oakland. He had to be scratched from his scheduled started start in Detroit due a strained groin. He showed no signs of having any problems with that issue during the game on Sunday.

Cotton threw his fastball at speeds of up to 95 mph and then would stop-down the change-up by as much as 15 mph. The Rangers hitters were just completely off-balance.

Cotton worked 5.0 – innings allowing no runs on just one hit. He walked one Texas batter while striking out six. Cotton threw 77 pitches (51 strikes).

Cotton set the side down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

After the game, Cotton had nothing but compliments for the way his teammates played in the game.

Cotton is now 9-10 on the season and has the most wins for any rookie pitcher in the American League.

It was revealed after the game that Cotton experienced some tightness in his throwing elbow and that is why he did not continue after the fifth inning. He appeared to be fine in the clubhouse after the game.

Oakland exploded for five runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and added one in the eighth

The Athletics insured the win for Cotton by posting five runs off Texas starter Martin Perez (12-12) in the home half of the fifth inning. Catcher Josh Phegley led the inning off with a base hit and eventually eight batters would come to the plate.

The big hit of the inning came off the bat of Khris – yes you can call me “Krush” – Davis who hit his 41st home run of the year off Perez. It was a two-run shot that hit off the concrete wall just under the windows of the suites in straightaway center field.

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Khris Davis at the plate against the Rangers Photo by Jordan Chapin Sports Radio Service

Athletics in the batter’s box

  • As a team: 8 runs on 10 hits, six men left on base, 5-for-13 with Runners In Scoring Position
  • Phegley 2-for-3 with a double (11) and an RBI (10)
  • Chapman 2-for-5 including two doubles (21) and two RBI (36)
  • Khris Davis also recorded his 105th RBI

Oakland relief pitching

The relievers did not have a perfect outing as all four were not able to post “Goose Eggs” in the run column. Simon Castro – who worked 1.2-innings of relief – did give up one run on a solo home run to Normar Mazara (20). That was the only run the Rangers would score.

Daniel Coulombe, Santiago Casilla and Liam Hendriks combined to work 2.1-innings of scoreless relief for the A’s and preserve the victory.

A’s manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his team after the game

Melvin also spoke about team goals, the health of Matt Olson and Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling.

Texas Rangers

There has not been much mention of the Rangers in this article because for all intensive purposes their season came to an end today. They came into this weekend series still contending for a potential spot as a Wild Card team in the American League Playoffs. After the loss on Sunday, the Rangers are 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot with seven games remaining to play.

The Rangers final seven games are all home games. They have a three-game series with the Astros that begins on Monday and a four-game series with the A’s that begins on Thursday.

The Twins are on a four-game winning streak.

Up next

The A’s begin their final three-game home series of the season on Monday night with Seattle Mariners. RHP Daniel Gossett (4-9,5.38) will start for Oakland while Seattle will send “King” Felix Hernandez (5-5,4.57) to the hill.