The losing streak is over as the A’s beat the M’s 3-2 in extra innings

by Charlie O. Mallonee

With one out in the top of the 10th inning and Tony Kemp at second base as the new extra-innings rules require, pinch hitter Robbie Grossman stepped into the batters’ box to face Seattle reliever, Dan Altavilla.

Grossman hit a 2-1 slider into right-center field that drove Kemp home to score the go-ahead run for the Athletics. Grossman motored all the way to third base when center fielder Kyle Lewis threw up his hands that the ball was stuck under the wall. After an umpire review of the ground rules, Grossman was sent back to second base and his hit was scored as an RBI-double.

The bottom of the 10th would be a test

The A’s sent Liam Hendricks to the mound to close out the game and get the win for Oakland. The Mariners Shed Long started the inning at second base. Hendricks set the side down in order to finish the game by striking out J.P. Crawford.

Hendricks picked up his second save of the season and has an ERA of 2.70.

Oakland pitching was strong

Mike Fiers (0-0, 5.40) made his second start of the season. Fiers worked 6.0 innings giving up two runs (both earned) off four hits. He struck out three and walked just one batter. Fiers threw 79 pitches (48 strikes). It was exactly the kind of starting effort the A’s needed.

The Oakland relievers were outstanding on Saturday night. Jake Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit both worked a perfect inning of relief each.

Joakim Soria worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning and wound up picking up his first win of the season.

The A’s found some hits in their bats

The key hit was Grossman’s pinch-hit RBI double that drove home the winning run for the A’s. The Mariners defense had to play Grossman straight away because of his power which gave him some open alleys to place the ball. It was Grossman’s second double of the season. He is now 7-for-20 at the plate.

Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-4 in the game and raised his batting average to .190. The A’s really need Piscotty to get going as he usually provides some much-needed punch for the Oakland offense.

Mark Canha hit a double in the contest and raised his average to .273. The A’s need Canha’s clutch hitting to put them back into the playoff race.

Tied for first place

The victory on Saturday night raised the A’s record to 4-4. That puts them into a tie for first place in AL West with the Houston Astros. The 60-game streak is certainly going to interesting.

Up next

The A’s and Mariners play game three of this four-game wrap-around series on Sunday afternoon.

The A’s will send RHP Chris Bassitt to the hill to start the game. This will be his second start of the season. Bassitt earned a no-decision in his first start of the year.

The Mariners will counter with RHP Kendall Graveman who is 0-1 so far this season. Graveman lasted just four innings in his last start and currently has a 13.50 ERA.

 

No power, no pitching, no win for the A’s in Seattle

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics (3-4) suffered their third consecutive loss on Friday night in Seattle as the Mariners won the opening game of the four-game wrap-around series 5-3. For the Mariners (4-4), it was their third consecutive victory.

Manaea was no mystery

Sean Manaea (0-2, 7.00) made his second start of the accelerated season and the results were less than spectacular. Manaea lasted just 4.1 innings allowing five runs (3 earned) on six hits while striking out four hitters.

Manaea’s ERA currently sits at 7.00 which is the kind of number that gets you sent to Triple-A or released in the normal baseball universe. In 2020, you might expect that two poor starting performances could mean a trip to San Jose to workout with the “taxi squad”, but that is not going to happen. With A.J. Puk on the Injured List, no front line starter is going to be sent anywhere.

Manaea is known as being a tenacious worker who will do everything he can do to get his “mojo” back on the mound. The fear in a situation like this is that it could be something physically wrong and not just something wrong with his pitching motion. The A’s have not given any indication that they think Manaea has any type of potential injury problem.

The bottom line is the A’s need Manaea to find a way to win games and win them right now. Each loss in this shortened season equals 2.7 losses. That means his two losses are the equivalent of 5.4 losses in a 162-game season. That many consecutive losses would cause major panic in the front office of any major league club.

The A’s need Manaea to find a way to get a win in his next start if they are to stay competitive for a playoff spot.

Three hits will not get it done

The A’s managed to collect only three hits in the game on Friday night in Seattle. Marcus Semien hit his first triple of the season in the top the eighth inning that drove in two runs for Oakland. Semien now has a six-game hitting streak and is batting .280 in those games.

Ramon Laureano hit his second double of the year in the game and Stephen Piscotty hit a single that eventually allowed him to score on Semien’s triple.

Laureano did hit a Sacrifice Fly that produced the A’s third and final run of the contest.

Oakland left four men on base. They went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and they left two runners in scoring position with two out.

For a team that is supposed to be known for its power, the A’s are experiencing a real power drought.

Walker was the Mariners star of the game

Taijuan Walker (1-1, 4.35) made his second start of the season for Seattle on Friday night and he was spectacular. Walker worked seven scoreless innings allowing only one hit and two walks while striking out eight Oakland hitters. He struck out the side in the fifth inning.

Taylor Walker picked up his second save of the young season in the game.

Seattle had a good night at the plate

J.P. Crawford went 2-for-4 and two runs on Friday night. He now has a five-game hitting streak with multiple hits in his last three games.

Kyle Lewis extended his hitting streak to eight games by going 2-for-4 and scoring a run in the win over the A’s.

Kyle Seager hit his fourth double of the season in the fourth inning which drove in two runs. It was his fifth extra-base hit of the season.

Up next

The first pitch for game two of the series is scheduled for 6:10 PM on Saturday night. The A’s will send RHP Mike Fiers (0-0, 9.00) to the mound to face off against the Mariners LHP Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 13.50).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: A’s go for it tonight as there’s a chance to sweep Yanks at Coliseum

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On the Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 With the Oakland Raiders playing just one preseason game in the Oakland Coliseum surface, the outfield always gets scuffed up. How much of a role does that play in the A’s injuries?

#2 The A’s have three players that were out due to injuries that are back in the lineup: First baseman Matt Olson (hand), DH Khris Davis (oblique), right fielder Stephen Piscotty (knee), and center-fielder Ramon Laureano (shin). Laureano was not in the lineup on Wednesday night against the New York Yankees.

#3 The A’s starting pitcher from Wednesday night Mike Fiers has one of the best records in the American League and pitched against the Yankees. Tell us about how Fiers does it all season long.

#4 We’ve talked about Chad Pinder has just about done it all covering for open positions and has pulled it off. Talk about how valuable Pinder has been for Oakland.

#5 The starters for Thursday for the Yankees Masahiro Tanaka (9-6, 4.56 ERA) for the Oakland A’s Tanner Roark (7-8, 4.01 ERA) to conclude the series in Oakland.

Join Jerry each Thursday for the A’s podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Charlie O: Pinder is doing it all, relieving 4 players during their IL

Photo credit: sports.yahoo.com

On the A’s podcast with Charlie O:

#1 Oakland A’s outfielder Chad Pinder is turning into a designated utility guy with the A’s injuries piling up and in the middle of the wild card chase.

#2 Injuries on the club include, first baseman Matt Olson (hand), DH Khris Davis (oblique), right fielder Stephen Piscotty (knee), and center-fielder Ramon Laureano (shin).

#3 Pinder has picked up the slack filling in for Olson, Davis, Piscotty and Laureano which speaks to his talents and ability. A’s manager Bob Melvin said that he very significant to the team.

#4 Taking a look at the A’s series with the New York Yankees that opens up on Tuesday night. The Yankees will start Domingo German (16-2, 3.96 ERA), and for the A’s, Homer Bailey (10-8, 5.22 ERA).

Charlie O does the A’s podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: After 10 days on the road, A’s host Astros on Thursday night

Photo credit: athleticsnation.com

On the A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 Stephen Piscotty has been out with the flu and had an injury earlier this season. How important is it to have him back in right field and back in the lineup?

#2 A’s second baseman Jurickson Profar continues to struggle with the glove and the A’s have called up minor leaguer Corban Joseph. Joseph was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. Joseph hit .371, an OPS of 1.006, 13 homers, 73 RBIs, 63 runs in 381 at-bats.

#3 The A’s started Chad Pinder at second on Tuesday night against the Giants’ Pinder, whose been clutch in late innings, and wasn’t able to help the A’s overcome a one-run deficit. He struck out four times and was 0-4 against the Giants at the plate.

#4 A’s pitcher Sean Manaea is a work in progress, going 5 2/3 innings against in rehab at Triple-A Las Vegas in the game. He gave up a run and had 10 strikeouts and A’s manager Bob Melvin is anxious to get him back.

#5 The A’s host the Houston Astros on Thursday night. It’s the A’s first time back home after a 10-day road trip. The Astros, who lead the AL West will start Aaron Sanchez (5-14, 5.60 ERA) and for the A’s Mike Fiers (11-3, 3.30 ERA).

Join Jerry for the A’s podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Fiers is on fire, leads the A’s to an 8-3 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday

Cards 1
Chris Herrmann celebrates scoring a run Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

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

Fiers line
Graphic: @Athletics
  • 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 watch

  • 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.

Up next

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.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM PDT.

Oakland A’s podcast with Joey Friedman: Piscotty working on a come back rehabbing in Vegas; Canha filling just fine in right field; plus more

mercurynews.com file photo: Stephen Piscotty #25 is helped off the field by by manager Bob Melvin #6 and Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics after he injured his right leg as he avoids the tag by Luis Rengifo #4 of the Los Angeles Angels sliding into second base in the sixth inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 29, 2019

On the A’s podcast with Joey:

#1 A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty who has been out for a month due to a sprained knee who injured himself on June 29th in Anaheim is not too sure when he’ll be back but has been rehabbing.

#2 Piscotty will be joining the Las Vegas Aviators the A’s Triple A affiliate for rehab the Aviators will be using Piscotty as a designated hitter in his first game back and as an outfielder in his second game back.

#3 The A’s Mark Canha has started in right field in 18 of his last 20 games during Piscotty’s absence Canha has hit 18-68 for average .265 and on base percentage of .375.

#4 The A’s opened up Mount Davis for fireworks night on Saturday night sections 335-355 are obstructed views of the outfield but the tickets for those locations are half off.

#5 Starting pitchers for Sunday’s game at the Coliseum for the Texas Rangers Pedro Payano (1-0 ERA 1.50) for the A’s Mike Fiers (9-3 ERA 3.57).

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

MLB podcast with Daniel Dullum: M’s fire sale comes early, Encarnación dealt to Yankees; Ortiz will recover, but a look at the damage; plus more

photo from seattlepi.com: Former Seattle Mariners’ slugger Edwin Encarnacion, right, hits a two-run home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy watches during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif.

On the MLB podcast with Daniel:

1 Seattle trades AL home run leader Edwin Encarnación to Yankees

2 Big Papi’s surgeons reveal the extent of damage from gunshots

3 A’s rout Mariners 11-2; A’s Stephen Piscotty has surgery for melanoma

4 Braves’ Sean Newcomb OK after taking a 102-mph liner to the head

5 Bambino’s game-worn jersey sets record: $5.64 million at auction

6 Mitch Garver is the fifth player in Twins history to break a 0-0 tie with a home run in the eighth inning or later

Daniel Dullum does the MLB podcasts each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Frustration City: A’s ejected, then dejected in 6-4 loss to the Astros in 12 innings

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND — For the A’s, losing to the Houston Astros is inherently frustrating enough without the exhausting efforts needed for extra innings, or the itchy umpires’ hair trigger ejections.

And the mood swings associated with winning and losing streaks, not to mention all four of the squandered, solo shots, along with the other big at-bats

Sunday was the conclusion of a cautionary tale in two parts, as the A’s fell to the Astros 6-4 in 12 innings, a real tooth-and-nail battle, on the heels of the Astros’ dominating 5-1 win Saturday night, starring the ageless Justin Verlander.

And the message sent emphatically by the division-leading Astros, who were minus three of the American League’s most dynamic players?

Oakland, you’re not there yet.

“They’re running out great pitchers. They’ve got plenty of arms,” said Matt Chapman, who hit a big home run leading off the eighth inning that would ultimately send the game to extras. “We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us. They’ve had our number obviously the last couple of years. It’s their division until somebody knocks them off their reign.”

The Astros swept the series, and increased their advantage over the third place A’s to 10 1/2 games. They’ve won seven of the first eight meetings this season between the clubs, after winning 12 of 19 last season.

And the A’s haven’t exactly sat idle during all this. They’ve fought, scrapped and more often that not, come up short. On the heels of a 10-game win streak, they’ve lost five in a row, and as talented as they are, the A’s can’t seem to put it together–within a game, or for an extended stretch.

“We had the 10 in a row going and couldn’t back it up. It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster for us,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We have to find a way to be a little more consistent.”

On Sunday, a lot of good things transpired for the A’s. They got a quality outing–and a return to form–from starter Chris Bassitt. The Oakland defense took a beating from the Astros’ running game, featuring dynamic fill-in Myles Straw, who was 3 for 4, stole second  base three times and scored three times. But the A’s relievers battled, and the entire lineup came up with big at-bats.

It just wasn’t enough.

The Astros first exhausted Blake Treinen then wore down Lou Trivino in the second of his two innings providing the visitors a breakthrough in the twelfth. Straw singled, then stole second. With one out, Michael Brantley and Yuri Gurriel came up with back-to-back RBI singles to give Houston a 6-4 lead.

“I think for any power pitcher, the second inning would be tough,” Melvin said. “We use him a lot and we have to find a way to maybe use him a little bit less. When you’re that good, you want to try to stay in the game and win it.”

After Chapman’s game-tying blast in the eighth, 10 of the final 18 A’s to bat struck out.  Of the eight that didn’t succumb to strikes, none drew a walk. And the highlight at-bat–Ramon Laureano’s 11-pitch battle with Ryan Pressly–ended with the centerfielder looking at strike three with two runners aboard to conclude the eighth.

Laureano’s reaction? A swift grab and slam of his batting helmet to the Coliseum turf.

Somehow, Laureano’s act of frustration flew below the radar of home plate umpire Alan Porter. Two innings later, Stephen Piscotty struck out to end the tenth. A magic word or two later, Piscotty was tossed, and Melvin too, coming to Piscotty’s aid.

Porter also ejected Marcus Semien on Saturday, an extension of the rancor built up by Semien’s pop down the left field line that drew chalk, but was ruled foul, then held up by replay.

Curiously, neither Piscotty or Semien had ever been ejected–at any level of their careers.

That should tell you a lot,” said Piscotty of the circumstances of Porter ejecting players with no previous history on consecutive days.

The A’s get Monday off before starting a road trip in Anaheim with the Angels on Tuesday night.

HOU 2
Photo/Graphic: @Astros

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Coming home to the Oakland Coliseum has not been a good thing for the Oakland Athletics. After winning 11 consecutive games, the A’s have now lost four games in a row at home. They have also lost a second consecutive series at home.

The first-place Houston Astros downed the A’s 5-1 on Saturday night at the Coliseum behind the “lights out” pitching of Justin Verlander (9-2, 2.27 ERA). The perennial All-Star pitcher worked 8.0-innings allowing just one run (earned) off four hits. Verlander struck out eight Oakland hitters while walking just two.

The A’s only run of the game came in the second inning when Stephen Piscotty hit the first pitch from Verlander over the wall in right field for his seventh home run of the season.

Brett Anderson (6-4, 3.95 ERA) made the start for Oakland. He worked 5.1-innings giving up three runs (all earned) on eight hits. Anderson struck out two and walked two.

The A’s used two relief pitchers in the contest. Yusmeiro Petit pitched 2.2-innings of perfect baseball while striking out two Astros. Joakim Soria closed out the game pitching the ninth inning and giving up two runs off two hits (1 HR).

A’s Spotlight

HOU3
Marcus Semien ejected Photo: @Athletics
  • Anderson has allowed five home runs in his last four starts after he gave up just one homer in his previous eight starts.
  • Ramon Laureano recorded his sixth assist of the year on Saturday. The center fielder threw Robinson Chirinos out as he attempted to advance to second base in the fourth inning.
  • Speaking of Laureano, he extended his career-long hitting streak to 14 games when he singled off Verlander in the fifth inning.
  • Marcus Semien was ejected in the fifth inning of the game. It was the first time Semien has been ejected from a game in his career.
  • Stephen Piscotty has possessed the hot bat for the A’s during this homestand. He went 2-for-4 on Saturday and he is batting .417 (10-for-24) with five runs, two doubles, two home runs, and four RBI in the eight games.

Houston Notes

HOU 4
Graphic: @Astros
  • Justin Verlander passed Cy Young for 21st on the all-time strikeout list (that’s impressive). Verlander is now for tied for the most wins in the Major Leagues with nine victories.
  • Josh Reddick is happy to back in the Coliseum. He has hit home runs in consecutive games for the first time since September 15 and 16, 2018. Reddick is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with three home runs and five RBI in four games in the Coliseum this season.
  • Michael Brantley now leads the MLB in multi-hit games after going 2-for-3 with a walk on Saturday. He has posted 27 multi-hit games. Brantley has recorded 72 hits already this season and is tied for first in the American League.

Up Next

The Astros and A’s will wrap up their series on Sunday at 1:07 PM PDT. Houston will send RHP Gerrit Cole (5-5, 4.04 ERA) to the mound to try and make it a sweep over Oakland. The A’s will counter with RHP Chris Bassitt (3-1, 3.27 ERA) in order to try and stop their losing streak.