No “Rocky Mountain High” for Oakland: Rockies beat A’s 4-1 Saturday night

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“CarGo” hit one of his three doubles of the game Photo @KOANewsRadio

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The 2018 Oakland Athletics at Coors Field in Denver was supposed to a “power hitting show” that would send their fans into ecstasy as the seven-game road trip to Texas and Colorado came to an end. After the four-game sweep in Texas, could a seven-game sweep be a possibility? No, it is not a possibility. Now the question is — can the A’s avoid being swept by the Rockies?

The Rockies beat the A’s 4-1 on Saturday night to hand Oakland their second consecutive loss. The loss also means the A’s will lose their first series since back in June. The magic of “the comeback kids” has temporarily disappeared, but that doesn’t mean A’s fans should be calling their doctors for antidepressants. The A’s are just experiencing the “yin and yang” of a very long 162-game season.

Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela looked like he would have a very short night when he needed 32 pitches to get out of the top of the first inning. He gave up a run to the A’s on two hits, a sac fly, and a base-on-balls. The A’s held a 1-0 lead before the Rockies ever picked up a bat.

The A’s run did not come without controversy. Khris Davis hit a fly ball to right field that Carlos Gonzalez caught and then made an on-target throw to his catcher Tom Murphy. Murphy used his left foot to block the plate as he put the tag on the sliding Nick Martini’s jersey. Martini was called out, but the A’s challenged the call. After a long review by replay center in New York, the call was overturned and Martini was called safe.

Senzatela settled down and did not allow the A’s to score again. He gave up one run (earned) on five hits. Senzatela struck out six and walked four in his 5.2 innings of work. He was credited with the win and upped his record to 4-3 on the season.

Brett Anderson made his eighth start of the season for the A’s and after the first inning looked like his was going to have a great night. The Rockies figured Anderson out and scored on him in the second, third, and fourth innings. Those four runs were enough for them to win the game.

Anderson (2-3) gave up four runs (all earned) on eight hits. He struck out one and walked one. Two of those eight hits were home runs. Three of the hits were doubles and one was a triple. It was the kind of start that will keep a pitcher from sleeping well for a few nights.

It was also a night of missed opportunities for the A’s. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position while they left nine runners on base.

Rockies celebrate
Rockies celebrate win over A’s Photo @Rockies

Live by the late comeback — die by the lack of one
The A’s have been a very exciting team to watch because of their late-inning dramatic comeback victories. Seeing your team come back from a 10-5 deficit to eventually win the game 13-10 in 10 innings is as exciting as it gets for baseball fans. The problem is that the odds of being able to keep those late-inning miracles up over a long period of time are incredibly difficult and almost impossible to pull off.

That is not to say that those late-inning victory celebrations are over for the season, but is important for fans to remember that there will be momentary breaks in the action from time to time. Miracles do happen — just not every game.

Altuve headed to DL
No true baseball fan wishes for a player from an opposing team to sustain an injury that renders them unable to play. That being said, injuries are a part of a grueling 162-game season and teams must take advantage of situations when their opponents have players who have to go on to the disabled list.

Saturday night, the Houston Astros placed All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve on the 10-day disabled list – retroactive to July 26 – according to a tweet from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Altuve has been dealing with right knee soreness for the past several days and has not played since Wednesday.

Houston is now without their feared double-played combo of Altuve and shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa has been on the DL for over a month due to back problems and is not expected to return until sometime in August.

This is a situation that the playoff-minded A’s must take advantage of if they are still planning on playing baseball in October.

More trades to come before Tuesday at 1:00 pm PDT?
A’s fans are curious about whether their favorite team is going to make another trade or two before the non-wavier trade deadline on Tuesday. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle told the A’s radio announcers – Vince Controneo and Roxy Bernstein – that the team is looking, but will not break the bank.

Slusser said the team may look for another reliever if they cannot find a No. 3 or 4 starter available at a reasonable price.

Those thoughts are backed up by reports from MLB Trade Rumors that stated A’s scouts were seen in Miami looking at RHP Dan Straily who was an Athletic for three seasons. Those same scouts may also have been looking at 38-year old reliever Brad Ziegler. Yes, that Brad Ziegler who was an Oakland Athletic for four years.

Up next
The final game of the three-game series between the A’s and Rockies will be played on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 12:10 pm PDT. Oakland will send RHP Frankie Montas (5-2, 3.54) to the hill to start the game. Montas was recalled from Triple-A Nashville last Tuesday and made the start versus the Rangers in Texas. Montas pitched 5.0 innings giving up four runs (three earned) off five hits. He struck out three batters and walked two. Montas had a no-decision in the game which the A’s eventually won 13-10 in 10 innings.

Colorado will counter with RHP German Marquez (8-8, 5.00). Marquez will be making his 21st start of the season and his first since coming off the paternity list last Friday. He last pitched on July 20 versus the D-Backs back had a no-decision in the Rockies’ 11-10 win. Marquez gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits. He struck out six and walked three in his 5.0 innings on the mound.

Report: The battlin’ A’s may be back – Butler and Valencia “scuffle”in clubhouse

 

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

Multiple reports have the A’s Danny Valencia and Billy Butler involved in a clubhouse scuffle on Friday night in Chicago. The reported altercation resulted in possible injuries to Butler that kept him out of the games with the White Sox over the weekend.

The first report of the altercation came from the San Francisco Chronicle. Jane Lee of MLB.com reported she had received confirmation of the confrontation between the two players.

A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters on Saturday that Butler would be unavailable to play due to nausea and vomiting not related to the flu. Butler would normally been in the lineup at DH both Saturday and Sunday as the White Sox started left-handed pitchers.

Valencia started the game on Saturday night versus the White Sox and kicked off a mini-rally by hitting his 15th home run of season to lead off the ninth inning. He did not play on Sunday.

The Chronicle did ask Valencia about the incident on Sunday and he responded, “No comment. What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse.”

USA Today is reporting that the incident started when Butler told a shoe representative that Valencia was not wearing the cleats that he claim to be wearing.

Butler and Valencia were teammates in Kansas City in 2014 and then were reunited last season in Oakland.

Valencia has been with six different teams in his seven years in the major leagues. The rumors that have followed him have been that he is not a good teammate or that he is difficult to get along with in the clubhouse.

Eric Hosmer of the Royals would appear to disagree with that assessment:

Coco Crisp of the A’s seems to be in agreement with Hosmer:

Hosmer is a former teammate of Butler and Crisp is a current teammate and neither had any comment about the Designated Hitter.

There will certainly be more to this story and we will bring it to you as it breaks. It will be interesting to see who is in the lineup tonight for the Athletics. Cleveland is planning on starting the right-handed Carlos Carrasco so Butler would not be the starting DH.

Will Sacramento be the home of Giants Triple-A baseball in 2015?

ImagePhoto: Raley Field Sacramento

By Charlie O. Mallonee

 Rumors are flying that the owners of the Sacramento River Cats are looking to switch their affiliation from the Oakland Athletics to the San Francisco Giants. The rumor was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle who cited unnamed sources.

 The rumor has gained traction because the affiliation agreements for both the Giants and Athletics expire at the end of the season. Major League teams usually evaluate and sign agreements with minor league affiliates after the end of the regular season.

 The story has caused a flurry of responses from both Sacramento and Fresno.

 Mark Ling of the River Cats told KCRA-TV that it was just a rumor and no discussions are being held at this time. He went on to point out that Sacramento would be subject to tampering charges for talking to other teams during the season.

 The Fresno Bee talked with Derek Franks, executive vice president of the Fresno Grizzlies, who said his team believed that the Giants would renew their contract with his club. The Grizzlies have had a 17-year affiliation with the Giants.

 Both Sacramento and Fresno have first class facilities. Raley Field in West Sacramento opened in 2000 and seats 14,014 people with a beautiful view of downtown Sacramento from the stands. Sacramento leads the league in attendance.

 Chukchansi Park was built in 2002 in downtown Fresno and holds 12,500 fans with views of the downtown city center.

 This reporter has visited both parks and has found them to be comparable in all areas. Both facilities give fans a close up and personal experience at the games. The concessions are Major League quality. Ticket prices are affordable. Both clubs provide a very fan friendly experience.

 Why would the Giants want to change cities after a very successful run in Fresno? The fact is they might not be interested unless they get a better deal than they have in Fresno. It would be closer for team officials and players to shuttle back and forth to San Francisco. There might be a small bump in interest with the minor leaguers winding up with the Giants.

 The bottom line is the owners of the River Cats may see a potential monetary advantage by becoming an affiliate of the Giants. Sacramento is seen as a Giants town and the River Cats organization may want to exploit that association.

 The River Cats may also see the Athletics as a wounded team. No one knows where the team will be playing in the future. A new Bay Area stadium is just a pipe dream. At this point, who knows if the A’s will be in Northern California five years from now? The River Cats may want to bet on the sure thing which would be the San Francisco Giants at this time.

 Two areas favor the A’s when it comes to staying in Sacramento. First, the River Cats win. They are perennial favorites to win the PCL championship and are in first place in their division at this very moment. The Grizzlies have struggled to attain winning seasons let alone win a championship. Secondly, a starter – especially pitchers – in Sacramento tonight may be a starter in Oakland tomorrow night. Most of Oakland’s key players were once River Cats. Oakland is much more dependent on their farm system than are the Giants.

 The other possibility is the River Cats may be trying to get a better deal out of the Athletics. Sacramento may be setting up some competition to get more out of the miserly A’s. That is a very dangerous game to play with a team who believes less is more. The Athletics might be very happy to have their Triple-A team in Fresno in 2015.

Cal hosts Trojans in last home game

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By George Devine, Sr.

Cal ends its home season for 2013 by hosting USC at Noon on Saturday, November 9. The Trojans are coming off a 31-14 win at Oregon State on Friday, November 1 under interim coach Ed Orgeren who is 3-1. Marqise Lee is back in uniform for the visitors, and had 5 catches for 105 yards, including a 71-yare touchdown. He will be hard to stop in Strawberry Canyon. In addition, the Bears will be up against a formidable secondary which put the stop to the vaunted Beavers. USC is now 3-1 in the Pac-12 and 6-3 overall.

Cal, in losing 33-28 to Arizona, has continued its pattern of demonstrating impressive individual statistics in a series of losses (1-7). QB Jared Goff now is fifth on Berkeley’s list for single-season passing yards (2,881) but this is his team’s worst year in recent memory. Key factors are the predictability of Coach Sonny Dykes’ “Bear Raid” offense led by Goff, the inability of the offensive line to give Goff time to find his receivers, the tendency to overthrow so as to avoid effective coverage, and the inability to turn long passes into trips across the goal line. Add to that an injury-ridden defense which the San Francisco Chronicle last week referred to as “porous”, a description used earlier in this space.

Despite the loss, the score was close for much of the game and demonstrated the Bears’ most effective outing against a Division 1 team this year. A high spot for the Bears against the Wildcats was the performance of freshman Kenny Lawler, who caught three touchdown passes. He will be expected to challenge the USC defense. Another redshirt freshman, Cedric Dozier, started at cornerback against Arizona and may figure in the USC game as well.

Cal’s next two games are on the road: November 16 at Colorado and the Big Game at Stanford November 23. Kickoff times are TBD.