That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Changes in baseball coming to a park near you

The Major League Baseball 15 second pitch clock will now be joined by the hitters clock the batter has eight seconds to get in the batter’s box and hit or could be charged with a strike call these rules will be implemented for the 2023 season. (photo from

Changes in Baseball Coming to a Park near You

That’s Amaury News and Commentary–

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

“The Only Constant in Life is Change” – Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher once wrote. Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred is no Heraclitus, but under his tenure, he is changing the game of baseball. Well, trying anyway. We remember Mike Hargrove, who played in the 1970s and 1980s also better known as “The Human Rain Delay” because of his deliberate routine at the plate before each at-bat and before each pitch.

The record books show he played for 12 years in the major leagues, but if we could add all the time he spend at the plate, we can probably increase it by two more years. If he was playing this 2023 season he could not do those antics at the plate. To be fair there were others that took all the time in the world at the plate like, for example, Nomar Garciaparra.

Beginning this year, hitters will have to be ready inside the batting box and ready to hit in eight seconds. These are changes that you will “discover” this season if you attend a game or in your living room in front of the television, or if you watch the games on your telephone. When I was a kid growing up in Cuba, I can imagine what my grandfather Armando would have told me if I said to him, “Abuelo, I am going to watch the game on the telephone”. I know his answer, but I will not translate it here.

1-Pitch Clock.

Mike Moore, pitched for 14 years, four of those with the Oakland A’s, and I know I could shave, put aftershave, a t-shirt, and a nice shirt in between his pitches. He will also (if he were pitching today) could not take too much time in-between pitches.

Commissioner Rob Manfred is implementing changes after trying them in the minor leagues. Starting this 2023 season, pitchers will have 15 seconds to deliver the ball, with bases empty and 20 seconds with at least one runner on base. If a pitcher exceeds the clock time he could be charged with a balk (with runner(s) on base.

The hitters will also have to be ready inside the batting box and ready to hit in eight seconds. Years from now, when robotics are running everything, baseball could clone a pitcher like Hall of Fame Greg Maddux, because anyway by that time, bases on balls would have been banned, just like the Umpires, they all left us, like the Dodo bird, all extinct and if a pitcher can’t throw strikes, he is in the wrong line of work.

2-Defensive Shift

A team must have two infielders to the right of the second base and two to the left of the second base, all four on the outer part of the infield. It is expected to be more traditional and it could and should increase batting averages, therefore more people running which equals more action, and more excitement. Before the shift, (the baseball that we all knew) infielders didn’t play outside the infield. I do not believe Ted Williams would have supported the shift all the time, for every .220 hitter, as we have seen recently. After all, who can hit .400 anyway?

3-Larger Bases.

The bases that were 15 square inches, this season will be 18 square inches. The study revealed that this keeps players healthier as far as bases-related injuries with a decline of 13.5 % in the minor leagues in 2022, at every level of the minors. The minor leagues have become the experimental laboratories for baseball.

And who is getting more responsibilities? The Umpires will have to live and die by the clock. We will altogether see how it works. By the way, these changes begin during the 2023 Spring Training games in Arizona and Florida. Oh yes, the “free runner” at the second base starting each extra inning game in the top of the tenth inning is back and it looks like it is going to stay.

Manfred seems to be its biggest fan. Please excuse my cynicism, and with all respect to the Commissioner; if the purpose is to end the game right away; why not start with a runner at third base in the top of the tenth? Credit him with a triple which is still the most difficult to get. Make the player happy. Statistics have shown that if you have a runner at third with no outs it usually scores around 50% of the time. In Las Vegas, you have a 1 in 5 tries chance to win any price in a slot machine.

Like everything in life, some like it, and some do not. The biggest critic so far is ex-major league pitcher Rob Dibble. “It’s idiotic,” Dibble responded to a question about MLB’s implementation of a pitch clock, and he was just getting started. “I heard what Theo Epstein said [and] it was idiotic. He’s working for Rob Manfred who doesn’t love baseball the way we do. “I think the game is fine. You can have analytics, you can have the old-school mentality, it all works,” Dibble continued. “But when you start hating on the game and saying ‘we need a pitch clock, we need pitchers to work faster’ you know what’s going to happen? Guys are going to throw fewer strikes. There’s going to be less active.” Others like ex-A’s currently with the New York Mets, Mark Cahna like it. “I am open to change. I think I can evolve with the times, and be open-minded. I think the rules are just great. I think it’s really good for baseball”.

Robert Manfred is not going to win a popularity contest with those that love traditional baseball. Baseball takes its time, it is game of leisure and strategy and patience. I remember years ago Dusty Baker telling me he loves fishing, because it develops patience. Managers have to think ahead, and a pitching change still the biggest move a manager will make.

The clock will play a big role this year in major league baseball, but (so far) it is not sponsored by Seiko, Rolex or Longines. Just enjoy the game, do not get hang-up on the clock, because the clock never stops anyway.

Get ready, baseball season is coming soon.

Talking about things coming soon: A fascinating tour of Oakland sports history and a look toward the future of professional sports in the East Bay will be available soon in hard copy by April 11. A book “Goodbye Oakland, A Fight for Survival” by Andy Dolich and Dave Newhouse. Pre-orders on Amazon books, if you do not want to wait until April.

Adios muchachos!

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for his latest perspectives on sports on That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcasts Tuesdays at

Breathing, But Barely: A’s sweep the Astros on Canha’s walk-off hit, and avoid elimination in the AL West title chase

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–Too little, too late. Game 1 (through 6) counts just as much as Game 162. Save some of that offense (or defense) for tomorrow’s game. In 2021, the A’s have found themselves on the wrong end of all the familiar catchphrases that shape the confounding game of Major League Baseball.

A sweep of the AL West-leading Astros to end the home campaign sets up an exciting, and critical final week of baseball leading into the postseason. Yeah, the A’s did that by winning 4-3 on Sunday at the Coliseum, but their still six games out with six to play.

The wild card race? Not much hope there either. On Sunday, the Blue Jays and Yankees won, not to mention the huge issue of the Mariners being a game ahead of the A’s in both the division and the wild card race.

The good news? The A’s battled all weekend against long odds and came up winners against the second best team in the American League, and they made it happen in late game situations, which in 2021, have been often been problematic.

“There’s a lot of desperation in what we’re doing right now,” manager Bob Melvin said.

With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Mark Canha delivered an RBI single–scoring Sean Murphy–to earn the A’s a sweep against the team that more often than not (over the last six seasons) has gotten the best of them.

“We needed to grab some momentum and grab some good feels,” Canha said. “To sweep a great team like that feels really good, especially given the last homestand and what’s on the line.”

The A’s finish the season with three games in Seattle starting Tuesday, followed by the final weekend at Minute Maid Park in Houston for three more. Sunday’s win kept them from being eliminated in the division, and six more wins consecutively probably won’t help. According to ESPN, the A’s have a 0.6 percent chance to make the postseason.

“We’re just going to keep fighting. I think everyone is pulling in the same direction,” Canha said.

Across the board statistically, the numbers frame the A’s as a good team, just not good enough. They finished the home campaign with a 43-38 mark, the sixth, straight season they’ve been over .500 at home. But 43 wins isn’t how playoff teams eat. All seven AL teams in the postseason hunt have either won more than 43 games at home or have a chance to do so in the final week (Seattle, Toronto).

The A’s pitching has been just fine, except when it hasn’t. Starters Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea all averaged more than nine strikeouts per nine innings in 2021, which ranks them 1-2-3 in Oakland history besting previous high averages posted by Vida Blue (1971), Gio Gonzales (2011) and Todd Stottlemyre (1995). But all three weren’t what they could be in 2021: Montas’ best outings didn’t take place until the season was half over, Bassitt was terrific until he was felled by a horrific injury in August, and Manaea pitched equal parts dynamite and kryptonite.

The biggest number for A’s pitching in 2021 was a 5.20 ERA by the entire staff in September prior to Saturday. That and the bullpen collapsed at the end of August and beginning September resulting in a couple of disturbing losses and the demotion of closer Lou Trivino.

Offensively, the A’s collective batting average of .239 entering this weekend says it all. That number ranks fourth lowest in the AL, even as batting averages throughout the industry have plummeted. For the A’s who have wonderful numbers in drawing walks, hitting home runs and XBH’s along with a team record 93 passes issued from being hit by pitches, the batting averages lagged, dragging down the overall product. The result a 23-26 record in one-run games, along with one too many losses in which they scored zero, one or two runs.

Finally, the season was a rollercoaster. The A’s started 0-6, than won a major league-best 44 games over the next 65, than only 41 of their next 85 culminating with Sunday’s win. Too much up and down, and not enough in the stretch, which has been the calling card for the franchise under Melvin’s leadership.

Cole Irvin is the A’s projected starter for Tuesday’s series opener in Seattle. Chris Flexen is expected to get the start for the Mariners.

Home Run Happy: A’s stay hot in June with 6-3 win over the Royals

The Oakland A’s Matt Olson (28) gets a forearm bash from teammate Elvis Andrus (17) after hitting a fifth inning home run against the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland Coliseum Sun Jun 13, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–The 2021 A’s don’t miss many opportunities. When an opponent comes in limping, the A’s make sure they don’t get medical attention.

The A’s improved to 9-2 in June by defeating the Royals 6-3 on Sunday at the Coliseum. The A’s got big afternoons from their biggest names–Matt Olson and Chris Bassitt–in drubbing Kansas City, losers of 8 of 9 and 24 of 38 after an exemplary 16-9 start to their season.

Olson homered twice to back Bassitt, who pitched into the sixth inning, allowing five hits and two runs to win his seventh, consecutive decision. Bassitt survived a scary moment when he was hit by a batted ball and found himself face down on the turf in pain. Trainer Nick Paparesta and manager Bob Melvin nervously approached Bassitt, but the A’s ace popped up slowly and didn’t need to leave the game.

“It hit me in the perfect spot. That may sound weird,” Bassitt said. “It didn’t affect me at all.”

The Royals didn’t affect Bassitt much either. Nicky Lopez, who delivered the batted ball to Bassitt’s side also had an infield hit for an RBI single. An inning later, in the third, Andrew Benintendi touched Bassitt for a solo shot to close the A’s lead to 3-2. But Bassitt cruised from their and departed in the sixth due to his elevated pitch count, which hit 104.

Kris Bubic surrendered both of Olson’s home runs and one to Matt Chapman. That had the lefty headed to the showers in the fifth, trailing 5-2. The former Stanford pitcher has allowed nine home runs in his last four starts, after not allowing any over his first six starts of the season.

The A’s improved to 40-27 on the season, and maintained their two-game lead on the second-place Astros in the AL West. Hot Anaheim visits the Coliseum starting Monday with six consecutive wins under their belts. The Angels reside in third place in the division, but have climbed above .500 for the first time this season at 33-32.

Dylan Bundy faces the A’s Sean Manaea in the series opener at 6:40pm on Monday. Bundy failed to win any of his first 10 starts of the season, falling to 0-6, before he won his most recent start at home against the Royals. Manaea has thrown 15 innings in June, winning both of his starts via shutout while allowing just six hits.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: How tight are the A’s?; Who do you like in Super Bowl LV?

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast Tue Feb 2, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

A’s walk-off wonders once again in 5-4 win over the Angels

By Morris Phillips

The A’s game notes made it very clear: the Angels weren’t likely to prevail despite being locked up with Oakland, tied 4-4 in the late innings on Sunday.

And all that statistical momentum built up by the first-place A’s didn’t even take account how poor the Angels have been in close games this season. Accordingly, Mark Canha’s sacrifice fly in the 10th inning chased home Franklin Barreto in the A’s 5-4 win at the Coliseum.

“We’ve lost that game five times this year, maybe six,” said Angels’ manager Joe Maddon. “We’ve had leads and gave them up. And I am not banging on the pitching. Overall, we pitched pretty well today. It sticks in my mind losing some games with leads late. We just have to be better at that.”

The A’s became the first American League team to 20 wins, and at 20-9, their 4 1/2 game lead over the Astros in the division looms large in a shortened, 60-game regular season. The visitors fell to 9-20, as 2020 is trending toward a major disappointment for the high-priced Angels.

The game notes produced by the perpetually tuned-in Mike Selleck before each A’s game are always filled with statistics, numerical trends and historical perspective. But when the A’s are cooking, as they are now with the second-best record in baseball, the notes can be downright intimidating for advance scouts and opposing managers.

The A’s are experiencing one of their five best starts to a season in their East Bay history, and late game proficiency and heroics are at the root of it all. The A’s are 5-0 in extra innings after Sunday, and they’ve hit 15 homers in the seventh inning or later, third best in MLB. Add to that, the Oakland bullpen, with the trio of Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria and Liam Hendriks leading the way, has 10 saves so far this month, already their largest total in August in the last 15 seasons.

Want more? The A’s are 13-4 in their home ballpark, and one of two teams (Braves) that haven’t lost this season on a Sunday, a record that improved to 5-0 on Sunday.

So when the A’s rid themselves of Angels’ starter Dylan Bundy, trailing just 4-3 in the sixth, things figured to get better in a hurry. Against the beleaguered Angels bullpen, they did.

Two pitches in, Stephen Piscotty’s RBI single off reliever Mike Mayers pulled the A’s even.

Earlier the Angels got a big three-run homer from Shohei Ohtani, who has struggled with his bat ever since he was shut down earlier this month from pitching due to forearm tightness. But their 4-2 lead would stagnant as Mike Trout, whom Angels beat writers tweeted hasn’t looked like himself lately, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts while leadoff hitter David Fletcher and rookie number seven-hitter Jo Adell went 0 for 4 and 0 for 5 with three strikeouts respectively.

The A’s bullpen shut the door with 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Frankie Montas as J.B. Wendelken, followed by the previously mentioned trio, allowed just two singles.

Hendriks managed the greater degree of difficulty in the 10th, retiring Jason Castro, Andrelton Simmons and Fletcher without letting placed baserunner Adell advance.

“They keep shutting the door with that new extra-inning rule,” Canha said of the bullpen. “When you do that, it’s huge. Going into the bottom half just having to score one takes pressure off the offense and makes the job a little bit easier.”

The A’s won for the first time without the benefit of a home run. They had homered at least once in 23 of their first 28 games. Instead, they went small–and clutch–with four, two-out RBI and five knocks with a runner in scoring position.

The A’s open a four-game set in Texas on Monday, the first leg of a 10-game trip that continues through Houston and Seattle.

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

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

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

Tex a
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.

Yanks get four big flies–LeMahieu, Judge, and Sanchez (2), edge A’s 4-3 in 11

photo from @Athletics

By Jessica Kwong

NEW YORK — The Oakland Athletics lost to the New York Yankees for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon, 4-3 in 11 innings, after DJ LeMahieu hit a home run on Lou Trivino’s first pitch in the 11th inning.

Trevino allowed no runs in two innings before throwing a fastball that LeMahieu hit right field out of the ballpark, his second walk-off hit of the season.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said he has seen signs of Trivino and pitcher Blake Treinen, who allowed no runs in the ninth inning, “pitching better recently” and “hopefully it’s a trend.”

The Yankees gained momentum in the first inning when Gary Sanchez hit a home run on a fly ball to left field for a 1-0 lead.

Oakland responded in the fourth inning when Matt Olson hit a homer on a fly ball to right center field, and Matt Chapman scored, putting the A’s up 2-1. But in the fifth inning, Sanchez hit another home run on a fly ball to right center field to tie the game at 2-2.

The A’s took a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning when Chapman doubled on a line drive to left field, allowing Robbie Grossman to score. New York evened the score at 3-3 in the eight inning when Aaron Judge hit a home run off Joakim Soriaon on a fly ball to right field, and the game went into extra innings. All of New York’s runs were solo home runs.

“That was kind of the theme of the game today—solo shots,” A’s starting pitcher Homer Bailey said.

Oakland left 15 players on base and was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. A’s manager Bob Melvin did not think (too bad).

“You leave 15 on, it comes back to bite you at some time,” Melvin said. “But you know what, we came back and the lead and were one pitch away from going into the ninth inning with it and Chappie’s ball, unless you have a 10-foot outfielder in right field, it probably goes out.”

Melvin concluded “it’s a game of inches today,” and, “sometimes they don’t come through, most times here recently, they do.”

A’s batter Mark Canha said the bullpen gave them opportunities and “we just couldn’t do it.”

“We just have to have some better at-bats tomorrow because I felt like we were just bon the cusp of breaking it open a few times,” Canha said. “We just needed that one hit and it didn’t work out unfortunately.”

The A’s beat the Yankees 3-0 in Oakland and won Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The A’s (78-57) and Yankees (89-48) play the last game of the series, tied at 1-1, Sunday with first pitch at 1:05 p.m. ET.

After superior showing against the Astros and Yankees, A’s come up empty against the Giants, lose finale, 5-4

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–Well that’s not how great teams cap a superior home stand.

The A’s were flying high–and leading the wild card chase–after taking six of seven from the Astros and Yankees. But with two games remaining on their nine-game stand at the Coliseum, the A’s flopped dropping a second straight to the Giants on Sunday, 5-4.

Donovan Solano went 4-for-4 and Evan Longoria knocked in three runs as the Giants came across the Bay and achieved the two-game sweep. The A’s appeared to be in business after Mark Canha homered for the second time off San Francisco rookie Logan Webb to take a 4-3 lead in the fourth. But Webb and five relievers limited the A’s to a pair of hits the rest of the way, and the Giants kept their playoff hopes on life support with a second, straight win.

The A’s normally reliable bullpen played the culprit for the second straight game, as Blake Treinen allowed the go-ahead, two-run single to Longoria in the seventh. Treinen was on to pick up Jake Diekman, who walked Donovan Solano, and hit Mike Yastrzemski with a pitch, two of the only three batters he faced. After battling Buster Posey, Treinen allowed the hit to Longoria on the first pitch.

“I got a groundball,” Treinen explaned. “I can’t control where it goes.”

The A’s fell a half game behind the Rays in the wild card stack with the Indians a full game ahead, and in control of the top spot, and the opportunity to host the wild card game. All three teams fell on Sunday, putting greater focus on the A’s inability to pull out a win at home.

All three teams have concerns going into the season’s final 30 ballgames, mostly on the injury front. The Rays lost Brandon Lowe earlier this week, and now Kevin Kiermaier has bruised ribs. Tampa also just ended a lengthy, favorable portion of their schedule, and will face all playoff-worthy competition in the upcoming weeks.

The Indians placed Jose Ramirez on the injured list over the weekend, as they uncharacteristically lost a pair to the downtrodden Royals. Cleveland briefly lost control of the top wild card spot before regaining it on Saturday.

And the A’s are dealing with Stephen Piscotty’s high ankle sprain that will likely land him on the injured list. With Mark Canha getting hot, they might not miss Piscotty terribly over the short run, but Khris Davis’ prolonged slump continues to be an issue. Davis was benched Sunday in favor of Jurickson Profar as the designated hitter.

The A’s hope the schedule will aid their efforts with them visiting the Royals for four games, while the Rays visit Houston, then host Cleveland for the only three, remaining games between the three wild card hopefuls.

The A’s honored the 1989 World Series champs before the game, a chance for the fans to reconnect with Dave Stewart, Rickey Henderson and the other heroes of their most recent World Series title.

On Monday, the A’s open a week-long road trip at Kauffman Stadium with Homer Bailey facing Brad Keller.



Giants crush A’s 10-5 in game three of the Bay Bridge Series 2

Graphic: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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.

That’s a lot of fans! Graphic: @Athletics

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.

Up next

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.