Craw Goes Cray Cray: Giants’ Crawford piles up 3 homers, 9 RBI in Giants’ sweep of Colorado

By Morris Phillips

Trying to form the best characterization of the San Francisco Giants mid-July 2019, and can’t seem to quite get it right using terms like buyers, sellers, winners or losers?

You’re not alone.

But try this phrase: movers, as in the Giants are riding a historic, offensive awakening and moving up in a crowded, but opportunity-filled National League Wild Card chase. On Monday, the Giants snatched a pair from the Rockies, winning 19-2 and 2-1 in a day/night doubleheader at Coors Field.

The formerly, offensively-challenged Giants have averaged better than seven runs per game in road contests since June 1, that after they piled up 24 hits and 21 runs on the Rockies, then cruised, going scoreless over the final five innings of the night cap, in which they pitched and defended in a 2-1 victory.

At 45-49 they’re not exactly winners, but they’re not losers either. The Giants are red hot, having won 10 of 12. As for moving up, the Giants are now just three games behind the Cardinals, who currently own the second wild card spot by percentage points over the Phillies.

With such a dramatic turnaround for a club that remains in last place in the NL West, and still has five clubs between themselves and the Cardinals, the occasion of the sweep is no time to tackle the Herculean effort needed to continue the ascent to a playoff berth. But it is an opportunity to celebrate Brandon Crawford, who smacked three homers in the twin bill. In the first game, Crawford became the first ever big league shortstop to compile five hits and eight RBI in a single game.

“I’m seeing the ball well,” Crawford said. “You expect to get hits when that happens.”

Crawford didn’t stop there. He and Stephen Vogt homered consecutively in the fourth inning of the second game, all the offense the Giants needed in a 2-1 win. Dereck Rodriguez was gifted the spot start and shined, going five inning while allowing four hits and a run.

Jeff Samardzija pitched into the seventh inning in the opener, picking up the win while allowing four hits (two home runs allowed) and striking out nine. Samardzija was awful in three, previous starts at Denver, but not this time. The veteran hurler evened his record at 7-7, and navigated his way through a 13-0 lead after four innings, and 16-1 through six.

Rockies manager Bud Black removed his starter German Marquez in the third inning after he allowed 11 hits and 11 runs. With four games between the clubs in a tight, three-day window, Black was in no mood to burn his bullpen. That’s when he turned to first baseman Mark Reynolds to pitch the ninth inning, and the slugger made it through in 21 pitches, but allowed the final two runs of the game. Afterwards, Black couldn’t recall ever in his career as manager and as a pitching coach resorting to using a position player to pitch.

“I really don’t like to do it, but I felt in this game I needed to because of saving arms in the pen and knowing where we are in the season, and what we have in front of us,” Black said.

After the first game of the doubleheader, the Giants had compiled 90 runs in their previous 11 games, the most runs the team has scored in an 11-game span since they moved to San Francisco in 1958. They had never scored as many as 19 runs in a game at Coors Field until Monday.

NOTES: Evan Longoria was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a plantar fasciitis issue in his left foot. For Longoria, the timing of the injury couldn’t be worse; the slugger just came off a stretch where he homered six times in 11 games, his hottest stretch in a year-plus as a Giant.

The trade front continues to heat up, especially in regards to Will Smith. The Brewers are rumored to be the Giants’ most likely trade partner for the closer, and the Giants’ win streak probably will not keep Smith from being moved, but with the Giants playing well, the team will likely listen to other suitors, and may only move Smith to an AL club that they don’t have to compete with in the wild card race.

As for Madison Bumgarner, the trade market continues to revolve around prospects at the lower levels of the minor leagues. With the market so tepid for the iconic San Francisco pitcher, would the Giants consider keeping him for the stretch run, and then resigning him in the off-season? The Giants’ hot streak definitely creates the possibility of some other options for the 2014 World Series hero.

Longoria wins it on home run in seventh SF wins 1-0

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, left, is congratulated by third base coach Ron Wotus (23) after hitting a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, July 7, 2019.

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Evan Longoria ended two things against Jack Flaherty with one swing of the bat.

Longoria hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, breaking up both a shutout and a no-hitter and it helped the San Francisco Giants to a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals before a crowd of 33,841 at Oracle Park.

This was only the third shutout of the season for the Giants and the first since April 24 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

On the afternoon, the Giants only got two hits, and this was the fewest hits in a game where they won since a two-hit over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 30, 2018.

Flaherty was throwing a perfect game until he walked Alex Dickerson to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning.

After the Longoria home run, Dickerson singled to left, but then Flaherty got Stephen Vogt to fly out to Dexter Fowler and then Kevin Pillar lined out to Paul DeJong to end the inning.

It was the 12th home run of the season for Longoria, and his fifth in his last six games. During the six-game stretch, Longoria is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with seven extra base hits (two doubles and five home runs), 10 RBI and eight runs scored.

Longoria is no stranger to breaking up no-hitter, as it was the fourth time in his career that he broke up a no-hitter in the 7th inning or later.

With DeJong on first base in the top of the seventh inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit a line drive into the right-center gap; however, Pillar flew through into the air and made a fantastic catch that kept the game scoreless.

The Longoria home run made a winner out of Jeff Samardzija, who pitched a tremendous game, as he went seven innings, scattering four hits and striking out two on his way to picking up his sixth win of the season.

This was the first time since August 28 and September 2, 2017 that Samardzija went seven innings with two or fewer runs. That was also the last time he pitched at seven innings in consecutive starts.

It was a tough loss for Flaherty, who also went seven innings, allowing one run on just two hits, walking one and striking out six and saw his record fall to 4-6 on the season.

Sam Dyson pitched one inning, allowing one hit and struck out three. Closer Will Smith came on in the top of the ninth inning and despite giving up a single to Goldschmidt, he picked up his 23rd save in 23 chances, as Fowler grounded into a double play to end the game.

Over his last 19 outings, Smith has not allowed a run in 17 of those games and is possessing a 0.96 earned run average (two earned runs in 18.2 ip) with 30 strikeouts and opposing hitters are hitting .156 against him.

NOTES: Pillar also drove in the only run of the game on April 11, when he homered against the Colorado Rockies in a 1-0 Giants victory that made a winner out of Samardzija.

The Giants are now 18-9 in one-run games and 4-7 in final games of the series.

This was the seventh time this season that the Cardinals have been shutout, and it was the first time that the Cardinals have lost a series to the Giant since May 19-21, 2017 at Busch Stadium.

UP NEXT: Following the All-Star break, the Giants begin a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Shaun Anderson will open the series against the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday night, followed by Madison Bumgarner and Tyler Beede. The Brewers starter has yet to be determined.

Giants come back from 8 down, win 12-11 behind Vogt, Longoria

Photo credit: @MLB

By Jeremy Kahn

This will be a game that Stephen Vogt will never forget for the remainder of his major-league career.

Vogt hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, and then Evan Longoria hit the tie breaking home run in the top of the 11th inning, as the San Francisco Giants came back from an 8-0 deficit to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 12-11 at Great American Ballpark.

This was the Giants first win at Great American Ballpark in three years, and were outscored 58-15 during a seven-game losing streak that ended with this thrilling victory.

As for largest comeback in Giants history, this was the fifth time in team history that the team came back from an eight-run deficit.

The four prior times came on Sept. 8, 1947 at Pittsburgh; April 14, 1970 at Atlanta; Sept. 23, 1970 at Los Angeles; and Sept. 4, 1989 at Cincinnati.

Derek Dietrich hit two three-run home runs, as the Reds jumped out to an 8-0 lead at the end of just three innings and it looked like this game was going to get out of control; however, the resiliency of this team did not allow to happen.

The Giants began to chip away at the Reds big lead in the top of the fourth inning, as they scored three runs off of former Oakland As pitcher Sonny Gray.

Brandon Crawford got the Giants on the board, as he grounded out to score Buster Posey, who led off the inning with a single.

After Kevin Pillar flew out for the second out of the inning, Steven Duggar cut the lead down to 8-3, as he singled to center to score Longoria and Brandon Belt.

It was a huge night for Duggar as well, as he backed up his first ever three hit game on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers and then went 3-for-5 in the opener of this three-game series.

Yaisel Puig then scored the ninth run of the game for the Reds, as he scored on a play that saw Nick Vincent commit two errors on ball hit by Dietrich.

Kyle Farmer extended the lead up to seven runs once again, as he hit a solo home run to extend the up to 10-3.

Then the Giants began to chip away even more, as they scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning, when Duggar hit a sacrifice fly to score Crawford, then Vogt doubled to right on a play where you saw Puig nearly throw Pillar at the plate after falling in the outfield and then Joe Panik launched a two-run home run to get within three runs.

Jesse Winker gave the Reds a four-run lead, as he hit a ground-rule double to score Tyler Barnhart in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Giants cut the lead down to one in the top of the eighth inning, as Brandon Belt hit a two-run single that scored Duggar and Vogt and then Longoria came up with the first of his two big hits on the evening, as he singled to score Tyler Austin.

With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Vogt hit the first pitch he saw from Reds closer Raisel Iglesias to tie up this wild game.

It would be tied until Longoria led off the inning, as he hit a solo home run off of Jared Hughes that barely landed into the left field seats that gave the Giants their first and what turned out to be their only lead of the game at the most opportune time.

Reyes Moronta pitched one inning, allowing a walk and striking out three, as he won for the first time this season.

Will Smith struck out two in the bottom of the inning to pick up his eighth save of the season.

Tyler Beede made his season debut, and it will be one that the rookie would like to forget as soon as possible. Beede lasted just two and one-thirds innings, walking two and striking out three and did not fare in the decision.

Gray, who liked he was on his way to his first win of the season, as he left the game with the lead and went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits, walking three and striking out two, as he did not fare in the decision.

Mike Gerber, who was President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidis first acquisition, but was designated for assignment during spring training was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento and he doubled and walked in four plate appearances.

NOTES: To make room for Gerber on the roster, the team designated outfielder Gerardo Parra for assignment. Parra, who signed a minor-league contract with the team in February, hit just .198 with one home run.

Erik Kratz was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hamstring.

UP NEXT: Dereck Rodriguez, who allowed six runs in his last start against the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon will take the mound on Saturday, while the Reds will send Tanner Roark to the hill.

Oakland A’s Sunday day off report: A’s may show what they’ve got to offer sooner rather than later this season

Oakland Athletics’ Yonder Alonso slides to score against the San Francisco Giants in the third inning of an exhibition baseball game Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. Alonso scored on a two-run double by Athletic’s Matt Joyce. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–The A’s enter Monday’s season opener at the O.co Coliseum against the Angels with this unsettling fact in the back of their collective minds: they haven’t won a game in more than a week, losing their last six exhibition contests and 8 of 9.

Luckily, regular season momentum isn’t always built in spring training.  But for a club that lost 93 games in 2016, scored an American League worst 653 runs, and lost 47 games at home where its offense was its most tepid, a fast start would be a welcome change, and quite obviously, a good sign.

But the A’s schedule doesn’t offer many soft landing spots, especially in the first two months, so whatever the A’s have to do to win, it likely will have to start with playing well.  In the first two months, the A’s play the Angels 10 times, the Twins three times and the Marlins twice.  Other than that, Oakland will  see a steady diet of teams that consider themselves playoff contenders and threats to win the AL pennant. The Mariners, Rangers, Yankees, Indians, Royals, Astros, Tigers and Red Sox comprise 38 of the A’s first 53 games and all eight of those teams figure to be in the mix for the AL postseason.

To counter all those talented clubs, the A’s have to get the most out of their youthful, but promising pitching rotation, their experienced bullpen, and their hopefully improved lineup.  But Sonny Gray, the presumptive ace, will start the season on the disabled list, and Ryan Madson, the guy most likely to earn a closers’ role, didn’t pitch well in the spring.   The A’s starting lineup offers Jed Lowrie, Matt Joyce and Trevor Plouffe as experienced additions, but this is an offense that has to build itself up from scratch based on last year’s inability to score runs.

If the A’s do overcome all the inertia that might be pulling them downward in the AL West standings, a couple of names stand out: Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Stephen Vogt.

Graveman made five spring starts, allowing just 13 hits in 19 2/3 innings of work.  He stuck out 16, and issued only three walks.

November is coming and things will be heating up for the A’s

 

hot-stove

by Charlie O. Mallonee

With the World Series almost over, that means the “Hot Stove League” is warming up. Let’s see what might be cooking for the Oakland Athletics.

Arbitration-Eligible Players

k-davis
Khris Davis swings away
  • Danny Valencia IF/OF is ARB 3 and will get a projected $5.3-million in arbitration if the A’s go there. The question is do they need Valencia at this point? The answer is probably not. They have Healy at third base and Valencia is not a great outfielder. Look for Valencia to be a free agent.
  • Yonder Alonso IF/DH is also at the ARB 3 level and is projected get a contract worth $4.1-million. With Billy Butler gone, the A’s will be using a platoon system at the DH spot. Alonso can supply some power at the plate and plays a decent first base. Look for the A’s to pony up the bucks to keep him around.
  • Khris Davis OF/DH is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. Coming off a 42 home run – 102 RBI season Davis is looking forward to the process which will probably get him a $5-million contract.
  • Sonny Gray RHP is also eligible for arbitration for the first time. Unfortunately for Gray, he is coming off an injury-riddled season that will keep his numbers down. The projection is that he will receive a $3.7-million deal.
  • Stephen Vogt C will also experience the arbitration process for the first time in his career. Coming off back-to-back All-Star seasons cannot hurt his negotiations. Look for him to get around $3.7 million.
  • Liam Hendriks RHP – the Aussie reliever – made 53 appearances for the A’s the in 2016. The Athletics have to decide if that production is worth a $1-million contract which is what he’s projected to get in arbitration.

Players file for arbitration in January and the teams then respond with contract offers or inform the player an offer will not be tendered. If a contract cannot be negotiated, an arbitration hearing will take place in early February.

Arbitration salary projections are from RosterResource.com that has a track record of being very accurate with their projections

Players for whom Arbitration is only a dream

dreamer

  • Marcus Semien SS arbitration eligible in 2018
  • Kendall Graveman RHP first arb year in 2018
  • Ryan Dull RHP the young reliever will not see arbitration until 2019
  • Sean Manaea LHP  will join Dull at the arbitration table in ’19
  • Ryon Healy IF/DH the young phenom will not see arbitration until 2020

Given the cost of MLB players in today’s market, you can see why the cost conscious Athletics like find talented young players that they can control through the pre-arbitration process and then trade during the arbitration years for … younger players.

Free Agent Moves

Lambo had his 2016 season cut short when it was discovered that he had testicular cancer. He had to undergo surgery but has recovered and is ready to get back to playing the game. Lambo batted .255 in 56 games a Triple-A Nashville.

Cubs in the World Series nets the A’s a pitcher

The A’s claimed LHP Giovanni Soto off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. He was designated for assignment to make room on the Cubs 40-man roster for Kyle Schwarber who went to the Arizona Fall League and is now on the Chicago World Series roster.

Soto made his Major League debut in September 2015 with the Cleveland Indians. Cleveland traded Soto to the Cubs in April 2016 for cash. He spent the season at Triple-A Iowa where he went 1-3 with 5.14 ERA in 33 relief appearances.

 

Royal pain: A’s pound the Royals again 14-5 and sweep the four game series

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: Oakland A’s third baseman Ryon Healy (48) celebrates the four game sweep of the Kansas City Royals with Matt Olson (back) Thursday night at Kaufman Stadium

Kansas City, Mo – The Amazin’ A’s swept the four-game series with the Kansas City Royals as they pounded them again 14-5. The A’s, without question, played the spoiler role as they just about ended any hope that the Royals may have had about making the playoffs this year. The Royals, defending World Series Champs, did not look like the team that won the AL Pennant in 2014 and the World Series crown last year. The A’s manhandled their pitching as they outscored the Royals 43-12 in the series. The A’s starter, Daniel Mengden, pitched effectively Thursday night, and he recorded his second win of the season. Mengden went seven innings and allowed no runs and just three hits. He struck out six and did not walk a single batter. J.B. Wendelken pitched a scoreless eighth inning and lefty Dillon Overton was roughed up for five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Bob Melvin had someone warming up just in case, but Overton was able to get the final out of the game.

The A’s scored the first run of the game in the top of the second to start the ball rolling. With two out, Ryon Healy and Marcus Semien hit back to back doubles for the score. The A’s continued to attack the offerings of Edinson Volquez as they plated five more runs in the third. Joey Wendle singled. Volquez walked Danny Valencia to put men on at first and second with no out. Stephen Vogt doubled down the right field line to drive in both runners. After a walk to Yonder Alonzo, Ryon Healy hit a mammoth home run to put the A’s in the lead 6-0. Healy’s ball traveled an estimated 480 feet.

The A’s scored three more times in the fourth. Vogt drove in a run when he walked with the bases loaded. Khris Davis doubled to drive in two more and Royals’ manager Ned Yost removed Volquez from the game trailing 9-0. The A’s continued the onslaught. They added two more in the sixth when Vogt unloaded with a man on board to up the lead to 11-0. The A’s hitters kept blasting away and sustained the night of torture for the Royals and their fans when Marcus Semien hit his twenty-fifth of the season with two men on to make it a 14-0 game.

The Royals score five times in the bottom of the ninth but it was too little, too late and the A’s completed their first sweep of a four-game series since 2012 when they turned the trick against the Cleveland Indians

Game Notes- Hitting stars were Joey Wendle, Stephen Vogt, Ryon Healy, Khris Davis and Marcus Semien. Wendle had four singles in six tries. Vogt had a double, RBI walk and a home run. Healy had a double and a monster three-run dinger as did Marcus Semien. The A’s had just one three-run dinger in September until this series with the Royals. They had four in this series.

The A’s travel to Arlington, Texas where they will play the Texas Rangers over the weekend. The Rangers own the best record in the AL, and they will not take the A’s lightly as they want to have home-field advantage throughout the playoff. Kendall Graveman will pitch for Oakland Friday night and the Rangers’ ace, lefty Cole Hamels, will try to shut the suddenly potent A’s offense down. The game will start at 5:05 PM PT.

Oakland A’s Sunday Game Wrap: A’s beat Cards 7-4 to win series 2-1 on the road

 

8-28-16by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics bats came alive on Sunday as they hit two home runs and three doubles to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4. The victory also gave the A’s the series win 2 games to one. To win a series from a potential playoff team on the road has to be very satisfying to an Oakland team that has struggled so much in the month of August.

The A’s offense was facing  left-hander Jamie Garcia who was seeking his 11th win of the season. The A’s served notice in the top of the first that they were not going to go down easy when Khris Davis hit a two-run home run (34) to right center field to give Oakland an early 2-0 lead.

The A’s never trailed in game as they scored seven runs on nine hits while leaving four runners on base. The A’s played error free baseball. The Cards scored four runs on eight hits and left three runners on base. St. Louis committed two errors in the contest.

The A’s are now 57-73 for the season and the Cardinals fall to 68-61 for the year.

In the Batter’s Box

Khris Davis continues to lead the way for the A’s by using his power to put runs up on the board. Davis hit his two-run home run with a 3-2 count, two out and Danny Valencia on at first. For Davis it was his 34th home run of the season and his 84th and 85th RBIs of the campaign.

Ryon Healy extended his major league leading hitting streak to 14 games as he went 2-for-3 on Sunday. Both of Healy’s hits were doubles off Garcia. He did score a run when he was driven home on Vogt’s home run in the third inning.

Speaking of Stephen Vogt, he had a 1-for-3 day by hitting his 11th home run of the year – a three-run shot and had a total of four RBIs in the game. Vogt has 40 RBIs for the season.

Danny Valencia was a real contributor on Sunday as he went 3-for-4 with the bat. He hit his 18th double, scored two runs and added an RBI. Valencia did all of that in seven innings as he was lifted in a double switch (inter-league game in a National League park).

Matt Carpenter was the man with bat for the Cardinals on Sunday. He had a 3-for-4 game that included a home run (17), two doubles (29), 3 runs scored and a RBI (58). Carpenter did all of that from the leadoff spot in the order.

On the Bump

Right-hander Andrew Triggs made his fifth start of the year for the A’s on Sunday and picked up his first win as a starter. He worked 6.0 innings giving up three runs (all earned) on four hits (one hit was the HR to Carpenter). Triggs struck out eight Cardinal batters and walked none. He threw 88 pitches (58 strikes) while facing 22 batters. Triggs should be very happy with his performance and the run support from his teammates.

Ryan Dull came on to relieve Triggs in the seventh inning. Dull gave up one run on two hits in his time on the hill. After allowing a single to Greg Garcia, Alberto Rosario hit a double to right field off Triggs. Eibner fielded the ball, threw it to Pinder -the cutoff man. Pinder decided to throw home. It was too late to put out Garcia who scored but catcher Stephen Vogt realized Rosario was heading for third. Vogt fired the ball to Healy who put the tag down and Rosario was the third out of the inning. For our Sabrmetrics readers, the play went 9-4-2-5. You will not see that scoring breakdown very often during the season.

Liam Hendriks worked an inning for the second game in a row. He allowed no runs on no hits while striking out one batter. It was his sixth hold of the year.

Ryan Madson came on in the bottom of the ninth because it was a save situation. The A’s closer did give up two hits in the inning but Madson kept things under control to close out the game and pick up his 27th save of the season.

Up Next

The A’s left St. Louis and traveled to Houston where they will begin a three-game series with the Astros on Monday night.

LHP Sean Manaea (5-8, 4.53) will be the starter for Oakland. Manaea’s last outing was a 7.0 inning performance versus the Cleveland Indians where he allowed just one run on three hits and struck out eight batters. He picked up his fifth win of the season in that game.

The Astros will counter with RHP Joe Musgrove (1-2, 5.20). Musgrove was called up from Triple-A Fresno on August 2nd. This will be his fifth start for Houston since being promoted. Musgrove has lost his last two starts. In his last start on Tuesday against Pittsburg, Musgrove lasted just 4.0 innings giving up five runs on eight hits. He was charged with the loss.

The A’s and Astros play a night game on Tuesday and wrap up the series with a day game on Wednesday.

The Cardinals left for Milwaukee where they will play a three-game set with the Brewers.

Oakland A’s Saturday game wrap: Sale too much for A’s hitters, Sox win 6-2

Abreu

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Chris Sale was the first pitcher to win 14 games in the major leagues. It took him six games and 49 days to book his 15th win of the season. Win number 15 came on Saturday night in Chicago against the Oakland Athletics by the score of 6-2.

Sale pitched eight innings of scoreless baseball and gave way to his bullpen to close out the game in the top of ninth inning. The A’s seized on the opportunity to face someone else other than Sale and had the tying run on deck when Chad Pinder flied out to deep center field just three feet from the fence with two men on base for the final out of the game.

The Oakland loss ties the series at one game apiece with the rubber game of the match to be played on Sunday afternoon.

On the Bump

Left-handed starting pitcher Chris Sale (15-6) was the story of the night for the White Sox. The 6-foot-6 Sale came out and took control of the game from the beginning. He gave up no runs on just three hits. Sale faced 29 hitters and walked three while striking out eight. Sale wanted the win so badly he threw 120 pitches (74 strikes) in pursuit of the victory.

Nate Jones came on in the top of the ninth inning to close the game out for Sale and proved to be no mystery for A’s hitters. Jones gave up two runs (earned) on three hits and managed to get only one out. He was responsible two runners on base when he left the game.

Closer David Robertson had to enter the game for Chicago. He managed to get Yonder Alonso to strike out and Chad Pinder to fly out to deep center field for the final out of the game. Robertson picked up his 31st save of the season.

LHP Ross Detwiler started for the A’s and had one of those games that a pitcher would like to have erased from his memory. Detwiler (1-2) gave up six runs (earned) on 10 hits in just 4.0 innings of work. He walked one, struck out two and issued one home run. Detwiler threw 81 pitches (55 strikes) in four innings of work. He faced 23 batters. Bottom line, it just was not Detwiler’s night.

The A’s bullpen did all they could do to keep their team in the game. Daniel Coulombe, Chris Smith and John Axford combined to hold the White Sox scoreless over the 4.0 innings. In fact, the A’s relievers did not allow a baserunner in final four innings.

In the Batter’s Box

Every White Sox hitter except DH Justin Morneau had a hit in the game off Detwiler.

Jose Abreu led the way for Chicago going 2-for-3 on the night driving in two runs and scoring two runs. One of his hits was his 15th home run of the season and the other was his 28th double of the year. Abreu now has 66 RBI for the season.

Melky Cabrera went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Sox Saturday night. Cabrera also drove in two runs and scored a run. Cabrera hit his 29th double and recorded his 56th RBI in the game.

Danny Valencia had a 2-for-4 night for the A’s. Valencia started the Oakland mini-rally in the top of the ninth inning by hitting his 15th home run of the season into the seats in right center field.

Chad Pinder made his major league debut on Saturday night in Chicago. Pinder who was called up from Triple-A Nashville when Tyler Ladendorf went on the DL will play second base against left-handed starting pitchers. Pinder went 0-for-4 for the night but made the game interesting when he hit a David Robertson cut fastball that was up in the zone to deep center field with two runners on in the top of the ninth inning. Unfortunately, the ball was about three feet short of going over the wall and White Sox CF Adam Eaton was fast enough to haul it in for the final out of the game.

You’ve got to be kidding me

In the top of the ninth inning with one out and Ryon Healy on at first, Stephen Vogt hit a ground ball on the right side of the infield that was fielded by second baseman Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez tossed the ball to shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson stepped on second base forcing out Healy and threw to first but Vogt was called safe.

A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call at second base. The video replay made it very clear that Anderson did not come within a foot of touching the bag. The call was overturned and Healy was called safe.

What happened next? Brett Eibner hit a line drive single to right that allowed Healy to score and moved Vogt up to second. Replay has changed the game.

Up Next

The plan was for Jesse Hahn to come off the disabled list and make the start versus the White Sox on Sunday. Those plans went on hold when Hahn did not feel right after throwing in the bullpen on Saturday. Hahn had felt good after pitching in Nashville on Tuesday but that was not the case on Saturday.

With Hahn on still on the DL, RHP Zach Neal – who had actually returned to the bullpen – will make another start for Oakland. Neal started last Sunday against the Mariners in Oakland. He worked 5.1 innings giving up five runs on eight hits. Neal has a record of 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA. He has a 7.98 ERA as starter and a 3.15 ERA as a reliever.

The White Sox will send LHP Jose Quintana to the hill on Sunday. Quintana in 9-9 on the year with a 2.85 ERA. This will be his third try at picking up win number 10.

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Cubs beat the A’s 3-1 to sweep the series

 

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND–The Chicago Cubs made it a three-game sweep over Oakland as they beat the Athletics 3-1 on Sunday. The Cubs supported the outstanding pitching of Kyle Hendricks with some timely hitting and the 104 mph pitches of Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning to nail down the win for Chicago.

The Cubs have now won seven consecutive games and 10 of their last 11 contests. Chicago is a season-high 28 games over .500 with a record of 69-41 which is best in the majors. This was their 10th series sweep of the season.

The A’s have now lost three in a row and eight of their last nine games. Oakland is now 15 games under .500 with a record of 48-63. This was the ninth time the A’s were swept this season.

On the Bump

Kyle Hendricks (11-7) has quietly been one of the most solid pitchers for the Cubs this season. He did not overpower hitters as his fastball topped out at 89 mph on a consistent basis. It was the sinking action of his fastball that caused Oakland hitters to groundout and the change up that kept the hitters off balance that Hendricks used to defeat the A’s.

Hendricks worked 7.1 innings giving up just one run (earned) on three hits. He struck out four batters and walked none. Hendricks entire outing was about control.

Pedro Strop worked 0.2 innings of relief for Hendricks.

Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth inning thrilling the crowd with pitches that hit 104 mph on the radar gun. Chapman did give up a single to the A’s Stephen Vogt, so he is human.

“He pitched great. A couple of swings ended up being two runs for them. Pitching deep into the game for us again. Getting the swings and misses. Using all three pitches. It’s a pretty good line up that other than two pitches he did a great job against,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin evaluating the pitching performance of Sean Manaea on Sunday.

Manaea (3-7) worked 6.0 innings giving up two runs (both earned) on six hits. He struck out four and walked two batters. Both runs came via the home run. Kris Bryant hit his 27th home run of the season off Manaea to lead off the top of the sixth inning and Jorge Soler hit his seventh homer of the year to lead off the seventh inning.

The A’s used five relief pitchers in the game. Reliever Liam Hendriks came in with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the eight and worked out of that jam without allowing a run. Manager Bob Melvin praised Hendriks for his effort after the game.

Chris Smith who was just added to the A’s roster closed out the game for Oakland working a scoreless top of the ninth inning.

In the Batter’s Box

Marcus Semien was the bright spot for the A’s at the plate against the Cubs. Semien went 2-for-3 on the day. That included him crushing his 23rd home run of the season into the left center field seats which accounted for the only A’s run of the day.

Stephen Vogt and Max Muncy were the only other A’s to pick up hits in the game.

The A’s left three men on base.

Kris Bryant went 2-for-3, scored a run, hit a home run and walked twice in the game. The home run was his 27th of the year which is a new career-high.

Jorge Soler enjoyed being the Designated Hitter as he went 2-for-4. He hit his seventh home run of the season off Manaea.

Anthony Rizzo had a 1-for-4 day that included an rbi. He has now reached base safely in 14 consecutive starts.

The Cubs left eight men on base and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Defense

Yonder Alonso executed the rare unassisted double play in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded, the Cubs Ben Zobrist hit a low line drive down the first base line that Alonso snagged with his glove hand. He then stepped on the first base bag to double up the runner – Anthony Rizzo – to end the inning and the Cubs scoring threat.

A rare call by first base umpire Paul Emmel preserved a good defensive play by the A’s. In the top the fourth inning, Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras struck out but the pitch was in the dirt so the batter was able to run to first. Catcher Stephen Vogt fielded the ball and made the throw to first. Contreras ran out of the runners lane to distract Yonder Alonso who was waiting to catch the ball. Alonso dropped the ball but Emmel called Contreras out for leaving the lane and interfering with the play. It is a call that should be made more often.

Notes

Sonny Gray has been placed on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season. Gray was lifted from the game on Saturday when he strained his right forearm in the fifth inning. Gray was on the DL from May 21 to June 4 with a strained right trapezius.

Right-hand pitcher Chris Smith has been promoted from Triple-A Nashville to take Gray’s spot on the roster. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Smith, catcher Josh Phegley has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

This is the 25th time the A’s have placed a player on the DL this season. That ties a club all-time record.

Up Next

The Athletics will stay in Oakland for a four-game series with the Eastern Division leading Baltimore Orioles:

Mon 8/8 RHP Kendall Graveman (7-7,4.46) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (3-8,4.08) 7:05 PM

Tue 8/9 RHP RHP Zach Neal (1-1,5.25) vs. LHP Wade Miley (0-1,7.20) 7:05 PM

Wed 8/10 TBA (probably a call up from Nashville) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-3,5.47) 7:05

Thu 8/11 TBA (possibly another Nashville call up) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (14-4,3.50) 7:05

The Cubs have the day off on Monday and start a two-game series with the Angles in Chicago on Tuesday.

It was a gray day for Sonny in Cleveland as the Indians win 8-0

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians
Tough day for Sonny Gray in Cleveland. Photo Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Cleveland Indians completed a three-game sweep of Oakland on Sunday by shutting out the Athletics 8-0. The Indians rode the strong starting pitching of Corey Kluber and the well timed hitting of the bottom third of the order to close out the A’s trip to Cleveland out on a down note.

The victory was the Indians 60th of season against 42 losses. The “Tribe” has now won three games in-a-row and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The win gives them a 4.5 game lead over second-place Detroit in the AL Central.

The loss drops the A’s record to 47-58 – 11 games under the key goal of getting to the .500 mark. The A’s have lost three straight games and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Oakland has dropped into last place in the AL West – 14.0 games back of Texas and 0.5 games back of the Angels in fourth place.

On the Bump

Sonny Gray looked strong in the first two innings of the game. He sat the side down in order in each inning and it appeared Gray was on track for a strong outing. Then came the third inning and the wheels came off for Gray.

Gray loaded the bases and then with one out, gave up single to right field to Jason Kipnis that was good for two RBI. Francisco Lindor then hit a sacrifice fly to center field that drove in Roberto Perez. Designated Hitter Mike Napoli then hit a two-run home run over the left center field wall to make it a 5-0 game in favor of the Indians.

The A’s were unable to find any runs in the top of the fourth to help Gray as he headed back to the mound to face the Cleveland batters.

Gray gave up another run on two singles and walk and his day on the hill was over. Daniel Coulombe came on in relief and gave up a sacrifice fly (run charged to Gray) before getting the final out. The Indians led 7-0 after four complete innings.

The Indians would score once more in the bottom of the fifth-inning.

Sonny Gray’s record fell to 5-10 for the year. Even more alarming his ERA rose to 5.84. On Sunday, Gray worked just 3.1 innings giving up seven runs (all earned) on eight hits. He struck out three and walked two. Gray threw 64 pitches (43 strikes).

Daniel Coulombe threw 1.2 innings in relief giving up one run (earned) on one hit while striking out two and walking two hitters. J.B. Wendelken worked three scoreless innings of long relief giving up just one hit, striking out three and issuing one walk.

It really was Corey Kluber’s day on the bump. The 2014 Cy Young winner was in great form as he threw 7.0 scorless innings distributing just five hits, walking just two A’s while striking out seven hitters. Kluber threw 103 pitches (67 strikes). It was the kind of performance that one would expect out of the number one man in the rotation of a first-place team.

The Indians used three pitchers to cover the eighth and ninth innings to close out the game.

In the Batter’s Box

Yonder Alonso had the only multi-hit game for the A’s. He had a double and a single in the game to raise his average to .250. Stephen Vogt, Jake Smolinski and Marcus Semien all hit doubles in the contest.

The A’s left eight runners on base and were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

DH Mike Napoli was the man at the plate for Cleveland on Sunday. He went 1-for-3 with a 2-run home run, scored two runs, had two RBI and added a walk.

The number seven, eight and nine hitters in the order collected five of Cleveland’s 10 hits and scored five of their eight runs. That is a pretty productive bottom third of the order.

The Indians left six runners on base and were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

On Defense

In the bottom of the fourth, Lonnie Chisenhall was at first when Tyler Naquin singled to right field. Josh Reddick fielded the ball and then threw a bullet to third base to try to cut down Chisenhall who decided to challenge Reddick’s arm. Rookie Ryon Healy took the throw, put down the tag and Chisenhall became the first out of the inning.

Who goes – who stays

The clock is ticking and the phones are ringing as teams are desperately trying to make deals before the non-wavier trade deadline hits at 1:00 PM PDT on Monday. There are several A’s players that the “experts” think could be on the move.

The two most prominent names are still pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick. The new wrinkle involving these two players is that several teams are trying to pick them up as a package. Peter Gammons of MLB Network says the Dodgers have asked about the two as a package deal. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is reporting that the Blue Jays are also pursuing the pair as a package.

With Hill on the DL due the blister on pitching hand, some teams have asked about a conditional trade that would reduce the compensation to the A’s if Hill is unable to become competitive for the rest of the season. The word is the A’s have said no to those proposals. Hill is a “as is” with “no warranty” trade. You buy it – you own it.

The name of Danny Valencia has dropped off the radar in the last 72 hours but do not be surprised to hear Valencia has packed his bags and is on his way to a contender tomorrow afternoon. His productive bat is too good to be ignored.

Up Next

The A’s traveled to Southern California after the game on Sunday and will have a day off before beginning a three-game series with the Angels on Tuesday.

Tue 8/2 @LAA LHP Sean Manaea (3-5,4.57) vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker (5-11,4.17) 7:05 PM PDT

Wed 8/3 @LAA RHP Kendall Graveman (7-7,4.15) vs. RHP Jared Weaver (8-8,5.14) 7:05 PM PDT

Thu 8/4 @LAA  To Be Announced for Oakland       vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (2-5,8.49) 4:05 PM PDT

The Indians will stay in Cleveland and will begin a four-game series with the Twins on Monday night.