Oakland A’s outfielder Mark Canha seen here slugging a double against the Seattle Mariners on Sun Sep 27, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum says the clubhouse will be a lot different without former A’s infielder Marcus Semien around (file photo AP News photo)
On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:
#1 In a recent interview with NBC Sports Oakland A’s outfielder Mark Canha said that the impact of losing Marcus Semien will be felt and his presence will be lost in the clubhouse.
#2 Canha said that when he and Semien first came to the A’s in 2015 the clubhouse culture at that time was veterans ran the clubhouse and the rookies and younger players were expected to keep quiet and follow along.
#3 After some time Semien was instrumental in changing the clubhouse culture and was a positive presence and younger players and rookies were inclusive to say what was on their minds.
#4 There has been heavy criticism about the A’s letting pitcher Liam Hendriks and Marcus Semien that the organization is cheap and won’t spend the money. Critics feel that the team is less competitive without them. How does this image bode going into the pre season this month?
#5 Turning to the NFL and Super Bowl LV: A lot of anticipation Amaury is riding on this Sunday’s Super Bowl LV with two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks going head to head. For the Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes and for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady in a game that could be one for the ages.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s at Spanish radio flagship station 1010 KIQI Le Grande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com
Oakland A’s shortstop Marcus Semien signed a one year deal worth $18 million with the Toronto Blue Jays leaving the A’s after six years on Tue Jan 26, 2021. Ironically Semien will not play in the city of Toronto proper as all Blue Jays home games will be played in Florida (USA Today file photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND–The Oakland A’s brain trust now has the unenviable task of replacing star shortstop Marcus Semien. Semien, who had been with the A’s for six years, signed a one-year deal worth $18 million with the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday.
Semien was the third player the A’s have lost to free agency this season. The A’s lost one of the best closers in all of baseball, Liam Hendriks, to the Chicago White Sox. Robby Grossman, who was in left field, headed to Detroit.
Semien’s departure continues a pattern that has haunted the A’s for many, many years. Because of financial considerations, the A’s cannot afford to pay players that have become stars. A’s president, Billy Beane, and General Manager David Forst have become adept at finding value in players discarded by other teams or finding and developing prospects from their farm system.
The A’s traded for Semien after the 2014 season. They sent pitcher Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox for Semien. Semien was a second baseman there. The A’s wanted him to move to shortstop. His first season at that position did not go well.
He made both fielding and throwing errors. The following season the A’s hired Ron Washington as a consultant to work with him. Washington had been a coach with the A’s and was credited with helping Eric Chavez win six Gold Gloves.
Washington and Semien worked for hours pre-game on his fielding and throwing. Fans could see Semien improve daily. Semien had other skills that helped the A’s win. He could hit and hit with power.
Semien was fleet of foot. The A’s missed the playoffs in 2016 and 2017. They made them in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The A’s were hoping to make it to the World Series this year. Their last appearance in the Fall Classic was in 1990.
Since then, the A’s failed to advance out of the first round with two exceptions. They advanced to the AL Championship round in 2006. The Detroit Tigers sent them home. They made it past the Wildcard round beating the Chicago White Sox. The Houston Astros beat them to advance to the AL Championship round in 2020.
Semien’s best year with the A’s was in 2019. He hit .285 with 33 homers and 93 RBIs. He finished third in the voting for Most Valuable Player.
A’s fans will be sorry to see him leave. They will wish Semien well in Toronto. Hopefully, the A’s will find capable replacements. The fans are hungry for a Championship team. It’s been a long drought.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (19) scores a touchdown as San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tarvarius Moore (33) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. Ross D. Franklin/AP
That’s Amaury’s podcast for News and Commentary:
#1 The San Francisco 49ers were coming off a big win against the Los Angeles Rams from week 12 and last night they played host in Glendale at State Farm Stadium against the Buffalo Bills. One thing about the switch from Santa Clara to Glendale is the 49ers will be not be doing much traveling in three of four games.
#2 The Las Vegas Raiders narrowly beat the winless New York Jets last Sunday on a Hail Mary pass from quarterback Derek Carr to receiver Henry Ruggs for a 46 yard game winning touchdown and as a consequence that last play was Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams who was fired right after the game.
#3 The MLB winter meetings started on Monday and for the Oakland A’s they are expected to keep things on the down low due to the pandemic the A’s have taken a financial loss which included refusing to pay rent at the Oakland Coliseum just before the beginning of last season’s brief 60 game schedule.
#4 Like the Philadelphia Phillies who are also feeling the pinch and had a hard time trying to sign TJ Realmuto which they didn’t the report is out that Philadelphia lost $ 2 billion because of overall loses. The Oakland A’s may not have lost that much but they are behind the financial eight ball during these winter meetings.
#5 Also talk is that the A’s most likely will not offer A’s infielder Marcus Semien a deal because it will be relatively much lower than what other clubs are expected to offer him which has been in the neighborhood of $100 million. Who have you heard that is interested in obtaining Semien, Cubs, Cardinals, Reds, Yankees, Astros, Dodgers or maybe others?
photo from uk.movies.yahoo.com: New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone shows the location and how much a pitch call was squeezing his pitchers after he was ejected for the fifth time for this season on Saturday at Yankee Stadium by Umpire Joe West against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays
On the MLB The Show podcast with Daniel:
1 Craig Kimbrell blows another save now 0-4, 6.53 ERA, Cubs start to regret $43 million contract
2 A’s Marcus Semien reaches base six times against Texas, chasing 200 hits
3 Padres fire manager Andy Green after four seasons 274-366 won loss record.
4 Tampa Bay Rays keep rolling with third straight walk-off win
5 Umpire Joe West ejects Yankees skipper Aaron Boone a day after blowing a strike call
He is the Oakland Athletics shortstop since he came in via trade with the Chicago White Sox in 2014. I would be pressed to find any A’s player that has shown more improvement during that period than Marcus Semien. His glove and his bat are at an all-time high during the 2019 season, his last one under a one-year contract by the A’s.
Semien plays the shortstop position considered the most valuable defensive position in the infield except for catcher.
In 2015, Semien lead the league for a shortstop with 35 errors. To date, he only has committed 12 miscues. Ex-A’s coach Ron Washington and current coach Matt Williams have a lot to do with that.
Semien has played 153 games, leading the American League in that department.
Semien leads the team in runs scored, which is one of the most important stats for a player. After all, scoring runs is the most important. If you have any doubts, please ask Mike Trout.
Semien’s over .280 batting average, with 31 home runs and 87 runs batted-in, which are by far his best offensive numbers ever.
Semien’s OPS (On Base Plus Slugging) is over .800 and is one of the new sabermetric baseball statistics.
Aside from A’S MVP in 2019, Semien will get some consideration for American League MVP, although the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Astros’ Alex Bregman and the Yankees’ D.J. LeMahieu will get more recognition nationwide.
Semien is a good teammate who works hard. He was born and raised in the Bay Area.
The A’s will have a decision to make, but Semien already said he would like to stay here and sign a multi-year deal.
Amaury Pi-González is a pioneer is establishing Spanish radio play-by-play in the Bay Area since the mid-1970’s with the Oakland A’s. He is also a longtime contributor on sportsradioservice.com
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.
For the A’s: 3 runs, 6 hits, 1 error, 5 Left on Base
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.
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
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.
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.
This morning on my Oakland A’s podcast with Lee Leonard, I told our listeners not to panic about the A’s 15-0 loss to the Astros on Monday night. Baseball is a funny game and sometimes a game will just get away from a team. Just as frequently, when a team scores a bundle of runs in a game – they will not be able to repeat that feat in the next game no matter how hard they try. It’s just a “baseball thing”.
The A’s turned the table on Tuesday
Oakland showed up on Tuesday night ready to play and scored seven – that’s right seven – runs in the top of the first inning before the Astros ever had a chance to pick up a bat. The Houston starting pitcher – Wade Miley – was credited with working 0.1-innings while giving up seven runs (all earned) off seven hits. He walked one and struck out none. Miley entered the game with a record of 13-4 and an ERA of 3.74. His record is now 13-5.
It was like the A’s had all of this pent-up energy that just had to be released and they took it all out on the Astros on Tuesday night. The A’s scored two runs in the second inning, two in the third, six runs in the fourth, two more in the fifth, one in the sixth and tacked one more on in the top of the ninth inning for a total of 21.
Oakland won the game 21-7.
Tanner Roark picked up the win
Tanner Roark picked up his 10th victory of the season in this game. He worked 5.2-innings allowing five runs (all earned) off eight hits. He walked one and struck out three. He did give up three home runs. Roark threw 105 pitches (65 strikes).
Ryan Buchter faced one-hitter and Daniel Mengden worked 3.0-innings giving up two runs (both earned) on four hits. He walked two and struck out one. Mengden did allow one home run.
Focus on the A’s with the bat
Mark Canha: went 3-for-6 with three runs scored and one RBI.
Chad Pinder: also had a 3-for-6 game scoring one run and adding an RBI.
Khris Davis: joined the 3-for-6 club with two runs scored and three RBI. Davis hit his 20th HR in the game.
Sean Murphy: had a two-home run game. He went 3-for-5 at the plate with three runs scored and four RBI.
Matt Olson hit two home runs and now has 31 for the year.
Marcus Semien hit his 27th round-tripper of the season in this contest.
For the A’s, it was 21 runs off 25 hits and just eight men left on base.
Wild Card Race
Tampa Bay, Oakland, and Cleveland all were winners on Tuesday. The Rays stay in Wild Card Slot #1 with a 1.5-game lead over the A’s. The A’s own Wild Card Slot #2 with a 0.5-game lead over the Indians. The race is tight and very competitive.
After the Houston series, the A’s do have a game versus a team with a winning record.
Game three of the four-game series will be played on Wednesday night at 5:10 PM PDT. LHP BrettAnderson (11-9, 4.08) will start for Oakland while RHP Jose Urquidy (1-1, 5.33) will take the mound for Houston.
OAKLAND — The A’s literally snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory on Saturday night as they watched a 4-2 lead going into the top of the eighth inning be wiped out when the San Francisco exploded for eight runs on seven hits off five Oakland pitchers. It was simply a stunning rally that the A’s did not see coming.
For the Giants, it felt like they had pent up emotion and energy that just had to be released. Madison Bumgarner did his best to keep his team in the game to give them the chance to win. When the A’s pitching staff gave the Giants the slightest of openings, the men from across the Bay took the opportunity and did the most with it.
The Giants took game one (game 3 of 4 total) of the Bay Bridge Series in Oakland 10-5 on Saturday night before 56,367 fans who were treated their money’s worth for coming out to the ballpark. The Giants scored 10 runs off 13 hits and left six men on base. For the A’s, they put five runs up on the board on 10 hits while leaving 10 men on base and committing one error. The game took three hours and 50 minutes to complete.
The Giants record for the season improved to 64-65 with the victory while the A’s fell to 74-54 on the year. San Francisco is now 5.0 games out the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The A’s are 0.5 games behind the Rays for the second Wild Card slot in the American League.
In this type of game where 14 pitchers were used, determining the winning and losing pitcher is almost “voodoo” science. Sam Coonrod (3-0) gets credit for the win while Yusmeiro Petit(3-3) was tagged with the loss.
Neither starter figured into the final decision
Chris Bassitt pitched 5.2 innings for the A’s on Saturday night. The right-hander ran into some trouble as he started through the Giants order for the third time. He gave up a home run to Brandon Crawford on 0-1 pitch with two out in the top of the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth inning, Evan Longoria drove in Alex Dickerson from second base to tie the game at 2-2. That would be all for Bassitt as he was replaced on the mound by Jake Diekman.
Bassitt gave up two runs (both earned) off four hits (1 HR). He struck out five Giants and walked none. Bassitt threw 92 pitches (64 strikes).
Madison Bumgarner worked 5.0 innings for San Francisco in the contest. He also gave up two runs. The first run came off a leadoff home run by Mark Canha in the home half of the second inning that easily cleared the left-field fence. The A’s touched “Mad Bum” for another run in the bottom of the third inning.
Jurickson Profar walked to lead off the third for Oakland. Josh Phegley then singled to left field which moved Profar to second base. With one out, Matt Chapman hit a double to left that drove Profar in from second base to score the A’s second run of the game. The A’s took a temporary 2-0 at that point.
Bumgarner also gave up two runs (both earned) on two hits (1 HR). He struck five A’s and walked one. Bumgarner threw 97 pitches (64 strikes).
Did I just see a sacrifice?
Jurickson Profar was the leadoff hitter for the A’s in the bottom of the seventh, and he hit a double to right field. Catcher Josh Phegley then laid down a sacrifice bunt on the third-base side of the infield that moved Profar to third base (yes, everyone including the Giants was surprised). Marcus Semien followed up with an RBI single to left field. Matt Chapman singled to center sending Semien to third base. That would all for Giants reliever Jandel Gustave who would be replaced by Fernando Abad.
Matt Olson was the first Athletic to face Abad, and he hit a single to right that drove Semien home to score the fourth run of the game for Oakland. That would end the scoring for the A’s in the seventh inning and gave them a 4-2 lead, which proved to be not enough.
Focus on the A’s
Mark Canha hit his 20th home run of the year off Bumgarner in the second inning of the game. He also extended his hitting streak to eight games.
The A’s now have five players with 20-plus home runs on the season: Canha (20), Chapman (29), Laureano (21), Olson (26), and Semien (22).
Oakland has a record of 22-11 versus left-handed starters in 2019.
Spotlight on the Giants
Brandon Crawford hit his 10th home run of the season in the win on Saturday night and his first home since July 15 at Colorado.
Kevin Pillar has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games and is hitting .397 over that stretch.
Evan Longoria went 2-for-4 in the game, was hit-by-pitch and posted two RBI. He is hitting .347 since June 30.
The Bay Bridge Series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1:07 PM at the Coliseum. The Giants will send rookie RHP Logan Webb (1-0, 1.80 era) to the hill to make his second start of the season. He made his major league debut last Saturday in Arizona picked up the win. Expect quite a few fans in the stands rooting for Webb who grew up in Rocklin just east of Sacramento.
The A’s will counter with LHP Brett Anderson (10-9, 4.06 era). Anderson has been having a rough go of things as he is 1-4 with a 5.02 ERA in his last five starts. Run support has been a big issue for Anderson. The A’s have provided three runs or fewer in 14 of his last 17 starts. Anderson was the losing pitcher in the game with the Giants in San Francisco on August 13.
Player’s Weekend Uni’s
The black and white themed uniforms created an interesting effect on the field Saturday night. It was really a throwback feel. In fact, I felt like I was watching the movie “Eight Men Out” at times.
I really liked the all-black uniforms the Giants wore as the visiting team. They were as the guy says in the SUV commercial — “sharp!”. The all-white worn by the A’s were had a very clean look, but the lettering and numerals were washed out. If they had outlined the lettering and numbers in black, the home uniforms would have been “sharp”.
The A’s pitchers did wear black hats because it was determined that the hitters were having trouble picking the baseball up against the all-white caps.
The Oakland Athletics (66-51) lost to the Chicago White Sox (52-63) 3-2 on Saturday in Game two of their three-game series. The A’s were held scoreless until the top of the ninth inning when they scored to two runs on an unusual play.
With two out and Alex Colome on the mound for the Sox, Marcus Semien hit a single to left-center field. Chad Pinder then doubled to left field and Semien moved to third base. Matt Chapman hit a hot drive down the third baseline that Ryan Goins could not handle and it traveled into left field. Semien and Pinder were able to score easily while Chapman stopped at second base on what would be scored as a two-base error.
With the score 3-2 and the tying at second base, Khris Davis was the next batter for Oakland. Colome was able to strike Davis out to end the game and earn the win for the White Sox.
Focus on the A’s
Tanner Roark was tagged with the loss in his second start for the A’s. His record drops to 7-8 for the season. Roark worked 6.2 innings giving up three runs (two earned) off six hits. He walked none and struck out seven batters. Roark is 1-1 with the A’s with a 2.41 ERA in two starts.
The A’s are 4-1 versus the White Sox this season. Oakland has outscored Chicago 30-8.
The A’s have loved playing American League Central teams this season. They are 16-5 versus AL Central teams this year.
Mark Canha has hit safely in each of his last 11 games versus the White Sox.
Matt Chapman is batting .400 (10-for-25) against the Sox this season.
Stephen Piscotty has gone 8-for-25 (.320) with two homers and five RBI over seven games since coming off the injured list on August 3rd.
Checking in on the Sox
The White Sox ended a four-game losing streak with their win over the A’s on Saturday.
This was the Sox first victory over the Athletics in more than a year.
Game-winning pitcher Reynaldo Lopez earned wins in consecutive starts for the first time since September 2018. He is now 7-9 for the season.
Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Leury Garcia has reached base safely in a career-high 20 games.
Eloy Jimenez hit his 19th home run of the season off Roark in the fifth inning. It was a 410-foot blast right-center field.
The A’s and White Sox will wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Oakland will send RHP Chris Bassitt (7-5, 3.80 ERA) to the mound. He earned a no-decision in his last start against the Cubs when worked six innings giving up two runs (both earned) off eight hits. Bassitt will face Lucas Giolito (12-5, 3.44 ERA). Giolito was a winner in his last start versus the Tigers when he pitched six innings giving up three runs (two earned) off eight hits. He walked two and struck out eight batters.