#1 The A’s dropped two crucial games — one against Texas last Sunday at the Coliseum and another on Tuesday night in Anaheim. The A’s in never give up style, down 2-1 on Wednesday night in the top of the ninth, got a two-run jack from Matt Chapman his 34th to get the A’s a 3-2 one-run win.
#2 You look at that score last night in Anaheim 2-1 going to the ninth, manager Bob Melvin just had to have that bad feel in his stomach that the club was going to go down three in a row, but these never give up A’s have a hero every night when they win a game.
#3 Talk about A’s starter Frankie Montas’ return back in the rotation. He misses 60 games and he comes back pitches six innings and gives up four hits and an earned run, two walks and six strikeouts.
#4 Jerry talk about the relievers the A’s used four relief pitchers and they held it together to beat the Angels in the Big A. Everybody is up to beat the A’s in the wild card drive and the A’s are doing everything to stay at the top.
#5 A’s are headed for Seattle to open up a four-game series with the Mariners on Thursday, who can be tough customers in their own right. The Mariners, who got two hits and shutout 3-0 on Wednesday night by the Houston Astros, are not too happy and are looking to take things out on the A’s, but the A’s will scratch and claw to try to keep their heads above water in the AL wild card race.
Winning the final six games of a seven-game road trip was exactly what the playoff-hopeful A’s needed to move clear of the Indians and Rays in the hunt for the top wild card spot in the American League.
Except that it wasn’t. Now 30 games above .500 for the first time all season, the A’s are leading the race, but certainly not home free. Upon their return to Oakland for Monday’s home game against the Royals, their mission’s not complete.
So what’s next? Just keep it up for 12 more games.
“We have our eyes on hosting a wild-card game,” said Matt Chapman, who homered for the 34th time in the ninth inning, setting the franchise record for home runs in a season with 244.
“We know this time of year you have to win a lot of games and they’re doing it at the right time,” said manager Bob Melvin.
Sean Manaea turned in his third, straight fantastic start, limiting the Rangers to three hits and a walk in six innings. One day after Mike Fiers departed early due to numbness in his pitching hand, Manaea’s outing was exactly what Oakland needed, another indication that the big lefty could play a significant role in a postseason rotation.
Manaea hit the first batter he faced, then allowed a base hit, but settled in quickly after that, inducing Willie Calhoun to hit into a double play. Come the second inning, Manaea was cruising, on his way to retiring 16 of the last 18 batters he faced.
The A’s provided Manaea the working cushion he needed in the fourth when Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer and Seth Brown added a two-run double.
Sean Murphy knocked in a run, and Jesus Lazardo pitched the final, three innings as the A’s also got vital contributions from their youngsters, participating in their first playoff push.
Semien’s 30th homer gave the A’s a trio of 30-homer guys (Chapman, Matt Olson) for the first time since 2001. The A’s bashed 20 home runs in their six-game win streak, all coming after the club was embarrassed in a 15-0 loss to the Astros on Monday.
Now six games after they were shut out and humbled, the A’s have put themselves on the doorstep of a second, consecutive playoff appearance. The journey from last year’s humbling, lightning fast postseason to the possibility of a return all starts with the A’s losing to the Yankees in New York in October.
That one-game playoff at Yankee Stadium was unsatisfying, and maybe gives the A’s their biggest advantage in navigating the season’s final two weeks. Given last year’s experience, the A’s won’t want to go on the road in the one-game playoff. They’ll be doing whatever they can to host the game and win it, which will allow them a real, postseason experience.
Winning six straight on the road after losing 15-0 may be the best illustration of how they will react.
On Monday, the A’s will turn to Tanner Roark in a matchup with Kansas City’s Glenn Sparkman at 7:05p.m.
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.
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.
Oakland — The Oakland Athletics (83-59) did exactly what they had to do on Saturday night – beat up on a lesser opponent. The “Rooted in Oakland” crew demolished the lowly Detroit Tigers (42-99) by the score of 10-2. The Tigers have the worst record in all of Major League Baseball and have been eliminated from any possibility of playing in postseason in 2019.
The A’s realistically are destined to play in the AL Wild Card game. They want desperately to be the home team in that game. To be the home team, the A’s need wins and wins should come easier over teams that have losing records. It is truly a “survival of the fittest” environment from now until the end of the regular season.
The A’s have only four games remaining to play against a team with a winning record. They begin a four-game series in Houston on Monday night with the Astros who are tied with the Yankees for the best record in the majors at 93-50. Their other 16 games are with Detroit (1), Texas (6), Kansas City (3), LAA (2) and Seattle (4). The A’s must devour the weak in order to come out on top.
Chris Bassitt worked hard to earn a win
Bassitt struggled in the first two innings of the game on Saturday night. After giving up two hits in the top of first, Bassitt was bailed out by a 6-1-4 double play that is detailed later in this story.
In the top of the second, the A’s starter faced seven Detroit hitters. He gave up two runs off three hits and he hit a batter. The Tigers left two runners on base. Despite having some difficulties, Bassitt struck out three batters and appeared to be starting to find himself.
Bassitt would go on to pitch 6.0-innings giving up just the two runs (both earned) off eight hits. He walked none but did hit one Detroit batter. Bassitt struck out 11 Tigers in 6.0-innings on the mound. That is a career high for Bassitt and the most for an A’s pitcher in a game this season.
After the game, Bob Melvin said, “Bassitt often gets better as he goes along in a game. He also gave our bullpen a break by going six innings.”
Bassitt is now 10-5 on the season with a 3.64 ERA. This is the first time Oakland has had three 10-game winners since 2013 when they had five.
Wild Card Standings
The A’s now have sole possession of the second Wild Card slot in the American League. They are one game back of Tampa Bay (85-59) who is in the number one spot and would host the one-game playoff if the season ended today.
The Indians are 1.5-games behind the A’s for the second spot in the Wild Card race at 82-61. Boston is 7.0-games back and has an elimination number of 14. It would take a miracle and a massive collapse by the Rays, A’s or Indians for the Red Sox to become a part of the race.
Focus on the A’s
Matt Olson went 4-for-4 in the game. He hit his 29th home run of the season in the fifth inning off Jordan Zimmerman on 1-2 pitch that sailed into the right-field seats. Olson also added three RBI to bring his total for the season to 73. He also extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Jurickson Profar matched his career high for home runs when he hit number 20 of the season in the second inning off Zimmerman. Profar is batting .340 over his last 15 games. He has also been very helpful to his team by being able to play both outfield and infield as needed.
Matt Chapman hit his 32nd home of the season in the eighth inning which ties Eric Chavez for the most in a season by an Athletics third baseman.
Oakland now has six players with 20-plus home runs which is a franchise record.
A’s pitchers combined for a total of 19 strike outs on Saturday night – a season high.
Spotlight on Detroit
Jordan Zimmerman allowed six earned runs for the first time since July 19. He previously had allowed a total of seven earned runs in four career starts against the A’s. Zimmerman is now 1-10 on the season.
Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 in the game which gave him a team-leading 38th multiple-hit game for 2019. It was also the 804th multiple-hit game of his career tying him with Ivan Rodriguez for 39th-most in MLB history.
Harold Castro had 4-for-4 game with the bat with two RBI for the Tigers. That tied his season high.
The Tigers have not had a winning record versus the AL West since 2014. They are 53-112 against the division since 2015.
LHP Sean Manaea (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the ball for the A’s and make his second start of the season to close out this three-game series with the Tigers. He had a no-decision in first start of the season last Sunday in New York against the Yankees. The Tigers will counter with LHP Daniel Norris (3-11, 4.76 ERA). He had a no-decision in his last start on Tuesday in Kansas City.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM at the Oakland Coliseum.
Shouldn’t the infield fly rule have been called?
In the top of the first inning with runners at first and second and one out, the Tigers Christin Stewart hit an infield fly into foul territory on the third-base side. The wind then pushed the ball back into the field of play. Matt Chapman attempted to catch the ball but was unable to do so. Marcus Semien picked the ball up and tossed it to Bassitt who was covering third. The pitcher stepped on the bag and Harold Castro – the runner at second was called out. Bassitt then alertly threw the ball to Profar who stepped on second base and Miguel Cabrera – the runner at first was called out on what scored as a 6-1-4 double play.
As a former amateur umpire, I was immediately looking for one of the four umpires to have his right arm up in the air to indicate that the infield fly rule was in effect. I was shocked when no call such call was being made. So was Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire who immediately came out to discuss the situation with the Homeplate umpire – Dan Bellino.
The umpires explained that the infield fly rule is to be called when the ball can be caught with “ordinary effort”. The “men in blue” said in their opinion Chapman would have needed to use extraordinary effort to have made the catch of Stewart’s fly ball, so the infield fly rule did not apply.
In this reporter’s opinion (and as a former umpire), the umpiring crew was caught off guard when an apparent foul ball came back into fair territory.
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.
Oakland — A’s starting pitcher Chris Bassitt had to throw 31 pitches to get out of the top of the first against the Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon. That usually means two things:
The chances of that starting pitcher being in the game after the fifth inning is almost nil. In fact, a starter who throws that many pitches in the first inning almost never lasts past the fourth inning.
The other fact you can take the bank is that a pitcher who starts a game by throwing that many pitches will finish the game with a no-decision.
Someone forgot to tell Chris Bassitt that he needed to conform to the standards of baseball on Saturday. After that rough first inning, the A’s starter pulled things together in the second inning.
Bassitt was back in hot water in the top the third inning as the Astros scored two runs on three hits. When the inning ended, there were two Houston runners on base which means the inning could have been much worse.
Bassitt’s team members really picked him up in the home half of the third inning. The Athletics put five runs up on the scoreboard to stake their pitcher to a three-run lead. The amazing part of the third inning rally was the fact that the A’s scored those runs without hitting a home run.
Bassitt pitched a scoreless fourth inning and gave up one run to Houston in the fifth inning to make it a 5-3 game in favor of Oakland. The consensus in the press box was that we had seen the last of Bassitt for the day.
The Astros sent their starting pitcher – Rogelio Armenteros – to the showers and sent Chris Denvenski to the mound to face the A’s in the bottom of the fifth inning. Oakland took advantage of a walk, hit-by-pitch, two singles, and a sacrifice fly to put three more runs up on the board. That cleared the way for Bassitt to come back out for the sixth inning.
The first hitter to face Bassitt in the sixth inning was Yuli Gurriel who singled to left field and everyone thought that was going to be all for Bassitt, but Bob Melvin left the right-hander in the game. The next batter – catcher Martin Maldonado – hit a ball on the ground to shortstop Marcus Semien who fielded it and threw to Corban Joseph at second to erase Gurriel. Joseph turned and threw to first to get Maldonado for the double play. Bassitt was able to get Jake Marisnick to pop out to Joseph at second to end the inning.
Bassitt finished his six innings throwing a career-high 116 pitches. In his postgame comments, mangers Bob Melvin said that Bassitt had told him he was ready to go to 120 pitches to get the job done. That is just plain grit and determination.
With the help of his team on offense, the A’s won the game 8-4 and the winning pitcher was Chris Bassitt who now has a record of 9-5 for the season with a 3.61 ERA.
Focus on the A’s (71-52)
Chris Bassitt has posted a 2.36 ERA (11 earned runs over 42.0 innings) since the All-Star Break. The win on Saturday was his first victory over the Astros since July 11, 2018.
The Astros cannot keep Matt Chapman off base. Chapman went 3-for-3 at the plate in the game and two of the hits were doubles (31). He also walked once and he reached base after being hit by a pitch. Chapman also recorded his 70th RBI when he walked with the bases loaded in the third inning.
Matt Olson had a 2-for-4 game with a walk and two RBI (60). The A’s are 56-31 since Olson came off the injury list on May 7.
Catcher Josh Phegley made his return to the field by having a 2-for-4 game for his team. He went on the injured list on July 31. Phegley is batting .329 in 31-day games and .205 in 52-night games.
Take note of this factoid: this was only the third Oakland victory of the season in which they did not hit a home run. Bob Melvin said after the game that it is important for his team to know they can win without hitting a long ball.
Checking on the Astros (78-46)
Houston’s designated hitter – 6-foot-5, 242 pound – Yordan Alvarez pounded two more home runs on Saturday. He now has 19 home runs and 55 RBI in his first 52 major league games. That is really scary given the rest of the Astros lineup.
Michael Brantley (every team wants a hitter like him) extended his hitting streak to 11 games by going 2-for-4 in the game. He has four consecutive multi-hit games and 50 for the season – the most in the American League.
Alex Bregman put his 80th RBI of the year in the book today. He joins Devers, Bogaerts, Kepler, and Rosario as players in the American League with 80-plus RBI.
Without trying to jinx the A’s, they will go for the four-game sweep of the Astros on Sunday 1:07 PM at the Coliseum in what should be an excellent pitching matchup. The Astros will send RHP Zack Greinke to the mound. Greinke is 12-4 on the season with a 2.91 ERA. He was a winner in his last start in Chicago versus the White Sox when he worked 6.0 innings and allowed only two runs in a Houston 6-2 victory.
The A’s will counter with LHP Brett Anderson who is 10-8 with a 3.95 ERA. This will be his 21st start of the season. Anderson was tagged with the loss in his last start on Tuesday in San Francisco against the Giants. He pitched 6.0 innings allowing two runs (earned) off six hits. He walked none and struck out four.
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.
The Oakland Athletics have become the St. Louis Cardinals’ worst nightmare. Back in June, the A’s swept their two-game series in St. Louis. On Saturday night, the A’s never trailed in game one of the two-game series in Oakland.
The Athletics jumped on the Cardinals early on Saturday night when they scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning off the Cards starting pitcher Dakota Hudson. The A’s sent eight batters to the plate collecting two hits, two walks, and one hit batsman. It became very apparent that it was going to be a short evening for Hudson.
The A’s scored two more runs in the bottom of the second inning. Oakland sent seven hitters to bat in the inning taking advantage of a double, sacrifice fly, two walks and one passed ball.
The Cardinals closed the gap to 5-2 by the end of 6 1/2 innings, but Chad Pinder hit a two-out three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to make an 8-2 score. The Cardinals’ Lane Thomas hit a pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning which made the final score 8-3 in favor of the A’s.
Oakland is now 63-48 on the season — 8.5 games back of Houston in the AL West and 1/2 game out of the second Wild Card slot behind Tampa Bay. St. Louis falls to 58-51 and into second place in NL Central — 1/2 game behind the Cubs. The Cardinals now are in the number one Wild Card slot in the National League.
Focus on the A’s
Mike Fiers pitched 5.2 innings and allowed just one run en route to his 10th win of the season. Fiers now owns the second-longest active winning streak in the American League with eight wins. His last loss was May 1st. Fiers struck out four, walked just one while giving up six hits. He made 94 pitches. In his postgame comments, manager Bob Melvin said he wanted to keep Fiers pitch count down tonight.
Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-3 plus a hit-by-pitch in his first game back from the injury list.
Khris Davis extended his hitting streak to five games. He is batting .320 (7-for-20) over those five games. Davis scored a run in the fifth inning of the game.
Matt Chapman put a three-walk game into the scorebook for the second time this season. He did it versus the Rangers back on April 23rd. Chapman scored a run in the first inning of the contest.
Chad Pinder was brought to pinch-hit for Grossman in the bottom of the seventh inning with two out and two runners on base. Pinder hit an 0-2 pitch from Tyler Webb over the left-field fence for a three-run home — his 10th of the year. Skipper Bob mentioned after the game that this team really uses everyone on the 25-man roster. Everyone is ready to contribute at all times.
“Mr. I can play anywhere coach” — Mark Canha had a 2-for-5 night with the bat and drove in two runs. So far this season, Canha has played all three outfield positions and first base for the A’s.
Athletics roster changes
Stephen Piscotty has rejoined the team. He was placed on the 10-day IL back on June 30 with a knee sprain. Piscotty went to Las Vegas for a rehab assignment where he played three games in the outfield and two at designated hitter.
The A’s claimed catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. Garneau is a right-handed hitter while Chris Herrmann is a lefty (Josh Phegley is on the IL due to a deeply bruised thumb). Garneau is familiar with some of the Oakland pitchers as he played 19 games with the A’s in 2017 plus seeing them in head to head competition.
Infielder Franklin Barreto has been optioned back to Triple-A Las Vegas. He was hitting just .106 at the time he was sent down. Manager Bob Melvin commented that Barreto had nothing left to prove at Triple-A which means it could be the end of the road for the infielder and the Athletics organization.
Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson walked a season-high five batters in just 3.2 innings of work on the mound. His record drops to 10-6 for the season after being charged with the loss.
Paul DeJong had a 2-for-4 game with an RBI. He now has a career monthly best 43 RBI in August. He is second for the Cards in total bases with 185.
Lane Thomas hit his second home run of the season in the top of the ninth inning. Both of his home runs have come when he has been a pinch-hitter.
A’s fans will get their first look at RHP Tanner Roark on Sunday. Roark came to the A’s at the trade deadline from the Cincinnati Reds for minor league outfielder Jameson Hannah. Roark was 6-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 21 starts for the Reds.
The Cardinals will counter with RHP Adam Wainwright, who is 7-7 with a 4.47 ERA so far in 2019. Wainwright started against Oakland back on June 26 in St. Louis. He lost that game 2-0. Wainwright worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs (both earned) off seven hits. He walked one, struck out nine, but he gave up two home runs. Wainwright will be a free agent at the end of the season.
All photos by Charlie O Mallonee Sports Radio Service
by Charlie O. Mallonee
Oakland — The Athletics had lost three straight games going into their contest on Saturday night with the Texas Rangers. More importantly, the A’s were no longer in possession of a Wild Card Playoff slot.
Yes, there is slightly over two months of baseball remaining to play, but with the tight race for the Wild Card spots, no team can afford to fall very far behind. Two of the teams that have a realistic chance to grab a Wild Card slot are in the Western Division – the Angels and the Rangers.
Major start for Homer Bailey
The A’s made the trade with Kansas City for the veteran Bailey hoping that he would be able to shore up their starting pitching woes. While it true that the team added Bailey for very little cost, that did not mean the Athletics had low expectations for what he could bring to the mound.
Bailey was spectacular in his first game for Oakland as he picked up a 10-2 win over the Mariners. His second start was extremely disappointing. On July 22, he made the start against the Astros in Houston. Bailey lasted only two innings while giving up nine earned runs. At that point, the front office was not sure who they had added to their team.
On Saturday night, Bailey was in control on the hill. He worked 6.2-innings allowing three runs (all earned) while striking out seven and walking just one. The three runs he allowed came with two in the seventh inning. As manager Bob Melvin said, Bailey just could not get that one pitch over to get Danny Santana out. Santana hit a two-out two-run double to keep the inning alive.
In his postgame analysis, Melvin said that Bailey on Saturday night was is exactly who they wanted him to be when they traded for him. Bailey threw a total of 105 pitches (71 strikes). He faced 28 Texas batters. Bailey induced six hitters to groundout and four to flyout.
Bailey is now 2-1 as a member of the A’s. His overall record is 9-7 with an ERA of 5.33.
National Enquirer Story of the game
This story actually began back on June 8 in Texas when Rangers starting pitcher Adrian Sampson had a problem with Mark Canha when the A’s outfielder flipped his bat after hitting a home run. Words were exchanged and people were removed from Christmas card lists.
Flash forward to Saturday night, Canha came to the plate to face Sampson for the second time in the game, and you guessed it. The pitcher hit Canha with a pitch. Canha just trotted to first base like the man he is and was ready to play on.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Oakland center fielder Ramon Laureano hit his 21st homer of the season off Sampson. It was a “screamer” that landed halfway up the steps behind the left-field wall. Laureano did take a little time to admire his work and then began his home run trot. Sampson came off the mound and began yelling at Laureano to start running and stop looking. Words were exchanged. Again, names were crossed off the Christmas card list. The benches all stood up but nothing happened.
By the way, the Laureano home run was the fourth round-tripper Sampson had issued in the game.
Now for the rest of the story. In the bottom of the eighth inning, relief pitcher Rafael Montero was on the hill for Texas when Ramon Laureano came to bat for the Athletics with Canha on at first. Montero hit Laureano with a pitch and the benches along with the bullpens cleared.
There was lots of yelling and screaming. Some players were discussing their favorite IPA brands. It was stupid like most baseball bench-clearing situations. The umpires took charge and ejected Montero along with his manager Chris Woodward just as baseball mandates.
This time nothing bad happened, but it is only a matter of time before a situation gets out of hand. Commissioner Rob Manfred has to “suck it up” and take charge before one of these stupid situations becomes tragic.
Focus on the Athletics
All of the Oakland runs came via the home in this game. All were solo shots except Matt Chapman’s fifth inning 2-run home run off Sampson. Sampson gave up all four home runs.
Ramon Laureano went 2-for-3 in the game with a home run (21), a double (26) and a hit-by-pitch. He is batting .348 versus Texas.
Marcus Semien had a 2-for-4 night at the plate that included his 16th home run and he scored two runs. Semien is batting .400 against the Rangers this season.
Homer Bailey (9-7) was the winner. Liam Hendriks picked up his ninth save of the year.
The A’s scored five runs on six hits and left just four runners on base.
Adrian Sampson – who took the loss – allowed a season-high-tying four home runs in 6.0-innings pitched. He did the same thing versus the Red Sox on June 13. Sampson is 3-11 with a 5.77 ERA as a starting pitcher. He is 3-1 with a 3.15 ERA as a reliever.
Nomar Mazara went 3-for-4 with the bat on Saturday night. He is 7-for-15 in his last four games. Yes, he is starting on Sunday.
Elvis Andrus snapped an 0-for-11 streak at the plate by having a 2-for-4 game against the A’s on Saturday night.
The fourth and final game of this series is set to begin 1:07 PM on Sunday. The Rangers will send RHP Pedro Payano (1-0, 1.50) to the mound. It will be Payano’s third appearance in his Major League career. This makes Payano a bit of a wild card because the Oakland hitters will have to look at some pitches to figure how to hit off him. The scouting reports and videotape will be in limited supply.
The Athletics will counter with veteran RHP Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.57) who is hoping to take young Mr. Payano to school. Fiers is 7-0 with a 2.26 ERA in his last 14 starts.