Oakland A’s podcast with Jeremiah Salmonson: The hits keep on coming in A’s 17-0 laugher; A’s open up three game series in Texas tonight

Oakland A’s pitcher Cole Irvin wipes his brow as he will be the starter tonight against the Texas Rangers in Arlington at Globe Life Field (file photo from White Cleat Beat)

On the A’s podcast with Jeremiah:

#1 The Oakland A’s (67-48) in the first four innings were able to score big on Cleveland (55-58) starting pitcher Eli Morgan scoring five earned runs on three hits. The A’s jumped to a 5-0 lead.

#2 The A’s got two home runs from Mitch Moreland and starting pitcher Chris Bassitt won his 12th game.

#3 Bassitt and four relivers combined for a 17-0 shutout of Cleveland on Thursday

#4 The Cleveland crowd in the ninth inning realizing it was all out of hand and knowing Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman needed one more walk to tie the MLB all time most walks in a game at six stood and cheered for Chapman to get a base on balls. But after going 0-2 Chapman knew it was over and struckout.

#5 Jeremiah, the A’s make another trip to Arlington tonight for a three game series against the Texas Rangers (40-75). Starting pitcher for the A’s Cole Irvin (8-10 ERA 3.45) and for the Rangers Dane Dunning (5-7 ERA 4.07) a 5:05 pm first pitch.

Join Jeremiah for the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland crushes Rangers 12-3, could sweep on Sunday

The Oakland A’s Matt Olson swings for a two run double against the visiting Texas Rangers in the bottom of the third inning where Oakland scored seven times at the Oakland Ring Central Coliseum on Sat Aug 7, 2021 (AP News photo)

Texas 3 – 7 – 0

Oakland 12-16 – 0

By Lewis Rubman

Saturday, August 7 2021

OAKLAND–The A’s got off to a rocky start before they righted their ship in the third frame, finally anihilating the Texas Rangers by the score of 12-3 this afternoon.

Starter Cole Irvin got ahead of Texas rookie third baseman Jonny Hernández 0-2 with one out in the first but let the newcomer work the count full and then smack a single to center. That set up Adolis García’s 24th home run of the year, a 450 foot blast to center that had the home team down 2-0.

It took a spectacular leaping grab over the center field fence by Sterling Marte to catch Andy Ibáñez´s blast and keep Oakland from trailing by three before the home team even came to bat. It was not an auspicious start to the souhpaw’s quest for an eighth victory to offset the 10 defeats on the season that he brought with him to the mound.

Meanwhile, the Rangers’ rookie hurler Drew Anderson (0-0,0.00 in two games), a right hander who had a sip of espresso with the 2018 Phillies, looked unfazed in his first time through the A’s batting order in this, his second major league start.

He surrendered a single in each of his first two innings but didn’t let things go any further until the home third. A walk to number nine hitter Elvis Andrus, followed by another to lead off man Mark Canha set up a down the line double to right by the sterling Starling Marte that went for a two run two base hit to tie the game up. Olson doubled down by doubing to left, which put Oakland ahead with still nobody out.

Lowrie took a page from Canha’s book at got hit by a ptich. Anderson took a walk to the showers. He left after throwing 60 pitches, 34 for strikes and allowing three runs, all earned, on four hits, two walks, and a hit batter. He would end up the losing pitcher.

Anderson’s replacement, Jimmy Herget, who had coughed up Marte’s 11thinning walk off homer last night, served up a double to Yan Gomes, which plated Olson and sent Lowrie to third. Harrison fouled out to deep left, but Chapman doubled off the right field wall, driving in Gomes.

All of those runs except Gomes’s were charged to Anderson, leaving final total of runs allowed at five. Singles by Andrus and Canha hiked the A’s lead to 7-2. This has not been a kind week end to Mr. Herget. It was no surprise that Jharel Cotton opened the fourth on the bump for the Rangers.

Nor was it entirely unexpected that Gomes, who, along with Marte has added considerable umph to the Oakland batting order since their recent arrival, whacked a three run round tripper wto center with Olson and Lowrie on base before the hapless Cotton could retire a batter. It was Gomes’s 11th long ball of the season, the second since he donned the green and gold a week ago. And you thought Carmen Miranda was the Brazilian Bombshell!

Cotton sandwiched a couple of outs between a single by Harison and another by Andrus, followed by a bases loading walk to Canha, but he struck out Marte looking to staunch the hemorrage. Demarcus Evans replaced him on the reliever merry-go-round for the fifth.

Josh Harrison hit a two run homer to center off him. Evans was rewarded for this relatively successful performance by being kept in the game another inning to pitch a scoreless sixth, including two strike outs, before handing the ball to Josh Sborz.

Irvin’s afternoon ended after seven innings of excellent work. Think of the discipline it took to maintain his concentration and rhythm in such a lopsided contest. He allowed two runs, both earned and coming in the first inning, on four hits, three of them also in the initial frame, and two walks. He struck out four and lowered his ERA to 3.45, while bettering his won-lost record to 10-8. 62 of his 92 offerings were strikes.

Irvin’s successor, JB Wendelken, didn’t fare as well but still showed the same ability as Irvin to take a beating and keep on ticket . The Rangers combined three singles and a wild pitch to push a run across the plate with one out, but Wendelken buckled down and put an end to that nonsense.

Infielder Brock Holt pitched the eighth for the Lone Star state. He somehow managed to set the side down in order with a repetory that topped out with a 77 mph slider.

Burch Smith closed out the game for the A’s with a scoreless ninth.

Several Oakland batters had multi-hit games. Olson went four for five; Harrison, three for five; Andrius, two for three and Marte, Gomes, and Chapman, two for five.

Oakland will close out this homestand with on Sunday afternoon with James Kaprielian (5-4, 3.24) facingJordan Lyles (5-8, 5.25) at 1:07.

The A’s will play in Cleveland, Arlington, and Chicago before returning home to face the rampaging Giants at 6:40 in the evening of August 20.

A’s rally in 11th for 3 runs in comeback victory 4-1 over Rangers

Oakland A’s pitcher Chris Bassitt throws against the Texas Rangers line up in the first inning on Fri Aug 6, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)

Texas 1 – 6 – 0

Oakland 4 -4 – 0 (11 innings)

By Lewis Rubman

Friday August 6, 2021

OAKLAND–The big news from the Athletics today came before the game began. Ramón Laureano received an 80 game suspension .after testing positive for the performance enhancer Nandrolone. The team released a statement by their spirited and now sidelined outfielder in which he said, “I would never knowingly ingest any banned substance and put the game that I’ve loved all my life at risk. When I found out that I tested positive for nandrolone, I was shocked. I take great care of my body and have an extremely regimented diet. Based on the minuscule amount that was briefly in my body, I’ve learned that it is likely that it was a contamination of something I ingested.” Nandrolone is found in pork.

Oakland’s recent acquisition of Starling Marte couldn’t have come at a better time.

News of Laureano’s suspension came on the heels of another, more serious medical development. Ray Fosse, the A’s highly respected radio and television analyst, revealed today that he was taking a leave of absence in order to continue his 16 year battle with cancer, a battle that he and his wife, Carol, had been waging silently. He expressed their “gratitude to the baseball community, and community at large, for your thoughts and prayers.” I’m sure we all are pulling for Ray and his family.

The nature of Fosse’s announcement puts matters like Laureano’s troubles in a sobering perspective.

Leaving aside the big picture, in which Fosse’s announcement makes the Laurano situation insignificant, it might seem that, even from a purely baseball perspective. the news about Laureano, while boding ill for the Athletics’ pennant chances, would have little effect on tonight’s meeting with the Texas Rangers, but don’t let the visitors’ game time won-lost record of 39-70 fool you. Playing against them is no walk in the park for this year’s A’s. The teams are 5-5 against each other since opening day.

They also have split their three series against each other this season; each of them has won a series, and the remaining one was a tie. The Rangers have beaten the A’s in seven of their last 13 encounters and emerged victorious in two of their last three games at the Coliseum.

It’s easy to sneer at Ranger starter Mike Foltynewicz’s record of 2-10 ERA 6.00 going into the game, but one of those wins was against Oakland, coming on June 29 at the Nimitz Freeway funhouse, where he held his hosts to two runs on four hits in seven innings of masterful hurling.

Tonight’s game pitted him against Chris Bassitt, the A’s all star right hander, who brought an 11-3, 3.28 record with him to the mound. The result was a nail bitter that took three and a half hours and eleven innings before Oakland, out hit by six to four achieved a 4-1 triumph.

It started out, as most nail bitters do, as a pitcher’s duel. Foltynewicz held the A’s hitless over the first three innnings he pitched, although he allowed one base runner in that period, hitting Elvis Andrus with one down in the bottom of the third. Matt Olson put an end to that dominance by leading off the fourth with an aiutomatic double to right. Jed Lowrie filled the void behind Olson by walking. A full count walk to Sean Murphy loaded the bases with no outs, bringing up Mitch Moreland.

He bounced into a crisp 4-6-3 double play, sending Olson home with the game’s first tally and sending Lowrie to third. Harrison send Foltynewicz’s second offering to the deep center field, where DJ Peterss corralled it for the third ut. Not quite the Curse of the Lead Off Double, but another example of the A’s difficulty in scoring with RISP.

The Rangers didn’t score against Bassitt for four and a half frames, but they did rough him up a bit. They suffered the Curse of the Lead Off Double in the first and hit a pair of safeties in the third.

A one out double by Curtis Terry, followed by a two out single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa put an end to Oakland’s brief and slender lead. Bassitt got out of the inning when Kiner-Falefa, who had taken second on the throw, tried to steal third and was thrown out by Murphy.

Bassitt had put a half a dozen Rangers down on strikes by then. He would end up striking out eight by the time he left after pitching seven full frames and yielding one run, earned, on five hits. He didn’t walk anyone. 66 of his 94 pitches were strikes.

Foltynewicz left the game at the start of the home seventh. He had held the A’s to a single run, which was earned, one two hits, one of them a bunt single by Marte, three walks, and two hit batters. He threw 93 pitches, 52 of them considered strikes. His replacement was Brett Martin, who, after a perfect seventh, was replaced, in turn, by Joe Barlow.

Sergio Romo served as the A’s set up man and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Closer Lou Trivino entered the fray with the score still tied at one in the top of the ninth. Texas almost got a foot in the door with one out when Andrus’s throw on a grounder by Adolis García pulled Olson off the bag and Chris Guccione called him safe at first, a decision that was overturned on video review.

The Rangers proceeded to get two feet in the door when Nathaniel Lowe singled toright and Charlie Ciulberson, pinch running for him, stole second. But Trivino wiggled out of the jam by getting Jonah Heim to pop out to Chapman.

Oakland came to bat in the bottom of the ninth facing Danny Santana, who held them to a single, sending the game into extra innings.

Andrew Chafin took the mound for Oakland, and Heim took his position at second base as the zombie runner. He remained there while Chafin set down DJ Peters, Andy Ibánez, htting for Brock Holt, and Curtis Terry, who had scored the Rangers´s run that tied the game, in order.

Spencer Patton was tasked with shutting out the A’s, who started their half of the tenth with Gomes placed on second. He got Chapman on a fly to shallow right field. Tony Kemp batted for Andrus and flew into an 8-5 double play, another case of a mistaken Oakland baserunning decision.

So Yusmeiro Petit pitched the eleventh with Terry placed on second, where he remained while the veteran right hander mowed down Jonny Hernández, Kiner-Falefa,and Jason Martin.

It was Jimmy Herget facing the top of the order with Kemp on second in the Oakland eleventh. Canha tied the A’s team record for hit by pitches in a season when he was plunked for the 20th time to lead off the frame. Then Starling Marte sent us and the two runners home by blasting a definitve home run deep into the left field seats.

The win went to Petit, who now is 8-1, 2.91, and the loss fell to Jimmu Herget, 0-1, 6.00.

With tonight’s win and Houston’s 5-4 loss to Minnesota, the A’s now trail the Astros by three games in the AL West.

The A’s and Rangers will meet again Saturday afternoon at 1:07 with Cole Irvin on the mound for Oakland and Drew Anderson toeing the rubber for Texas.

Oakland A’s podcast with Jeremiah Salmonson: A’s look to Marte after Laureano’s 80 game suspension

Oakland A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano said that he is educated enough about banned substance abuse and that he would never dishonor teammates, family and coaches. MLB says they have found traces of banned substance in Laureano’s test and Laureano has been suspended from baseball for 80 games effective immediately (file photo from athleticsnation.com)

On the A’s podcast with Jeremaiah:

#1 Oakland A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano suspended for 80 games for traces of a anabolic steroid the traces were minimal enough for MLB to rule that Laureano violated baseball’s zero tolerance policy on steroid or illegal substance abuse policy.

#2 The A’s newly acquired outfielder Starling Marte who also was suspended for the same substance in 2017 when Marte played with the Pittsburgh Pirates will be heavily relied on to pick up the pieces of the loss of Laureano.

#3 The A’s can’t afford to get too relaxed with the Texas Rangers (36-69) who are without Joey Gallo who was dealt to the New York Yankees. Even so the A’s have split their first ten meeting with the Rangers who are looking for more wins.

#4 The right now would love to get within range of the AL West first place Houston Astros who have a 4.5 game lead on Oakland and the A’s are hoping to cut down some of those games before it gets away from them.

#5 For the first of the four games at the Coliseum the Texas Rangers will be sending Mike Foltynewicz (2-10 ERA 6.00) he’ll be matched up against the Oakland A’s Chris Bassitt (11-3 ERA 3.28) Jeremiah tell us how you see this match up tonight at the Coliseum.

Join Jeremiah for the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: Rangers always put on tough show against A’s; Series starts Friday at Coliseum

The Oakland A’s Matt Olson swings for a tenth inning double that scored runs for a walk off two bagger against the San Diego Padres on Wed Aug 4, 2021. Olson leads the A’s for average at .277 as the A’s host the Texas Rangers Fri Aug 6, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)

On the A’s podcast with Jerry F:

#1 Oakland A’s (61-48) host the Texas Rangers (39-68) and regardless where the Rangers are in the standings they always seem to be up for Oakland the A’s did take two out of three from the Rangers the last time the two clubs met Jul 9-11.

#2 Previous to the Jul 9-11 match up in Texas the Rangers took two out of three from the A’s at the Oakland Coliseum Jun 29-Jul 1. So you never know how a series with the Rangers will turn out.

#3 The Rangers and A’s open a four game series starting on Friday night the A’s top hitters Matt Olson .277, Jed Lowrie .259, Mark Canha .256, and Tony Kemp .251 can provide some offense. Matt Olson certainly did with a 10th inning double against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon.

#4 The Rangers top hitters Adolis Garcia .254, Isiah Kiner-Falefa .253, Willie Calhoun .254, and Nate Lowe .249, the Rangers last in the AL West struggling having won four of their last ten games.

#5 The Rangers will start Mike Foltynewicz (2-10 ERA 6.00) he’ll be matched up against the A’s starter Chris Bassitt (11-3 ERA 3.28) a 6:40pm first pitch at the Oakland Coliseum.

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

A’s rally for four runs in 11th to beat Rangers 8-4

Oakland A’s Stephen Piscotty (left) and Jed Lowrie (right) forearm bash after Piscotty’s two run home run in the top of the 11th at Globe Life Park in Arlington Sat Jul 10, 2021 (AP News photo)

A’s Win Marathon Against Rangers 8-4

By Barbara Mason

Saturday afternoon the Oakland A’s took on the Texas Rangers in game two of their series. In game one the A’s suffered a meltdown in the sixth inning after leading 2-0 failing to score again in the game losing 3-2.

They will attempt to get back on the winning track in this second game with James Kaprielian on the mound. The Rangers started Mike Foltynewicz.

The A’s came up empty in the first inning of this game but such was not the case for the Rangers. They hit two solo home runs, one by Gallo and a second by Garcia for a 2-0 lead.

The A’s answered in the second inning with two home runs of their own. Sean Murphy hit a solo homer and Seth Brown hit a second home run to tie up the game at 2-2. It was a sight for sore eyes to see those long shots once agains.

Oakland’s Deolis Guerra came into the sixth inning to relieve Kaprielien with the A’s still in the lead 3-2. James had completed six innings to qualify for the win. The seventh inning for Oakland was a 7 pitch appearance by Yusmeiro Petit and it was on to the eighth inning.

The eighth inning was a tough one for Diekman who allowed a Jonas Heim single and two walks. The Heim single brought in White to tie up the game 3-3. Lou Trivino would close out the inning keeping the damage to a minimum.

After a non-productive ninth inning the game would go into extra innings and a marathon would ensue. The A’s would take the lead in the tenth inning 4-3 when Sean Murphy scored and Oakland would try to hang onto the slim lead. The Rangers were stubborn and tied the game once again 4-4.

The eleventh inning was golden for Oakland. The hits started coming. Olson walked, Lowrie singled and Andrus scored. Olson scored on a wild pitch, the score now 6-4. The A’s sealed the deal with a Stephen Piscotti home run bringing in Lowrie and extending their lead 8-4. Oakland fought hard in this game and it paid off handsomely. The highlights of this game were the four home runs by Murphy, Brown, Lowrie and Piscotti.

While kudos to the team for staying in this game there were still some disappointing performances. The defense as always was solid but Andrus, Olson, Chapman, Bolt and Kemp did not have a single hit all day. Hopefully they will show up for tomorrow’s game to win the series. While it is not uncommon for players to have a slow game, it is curious that all five of these guys couldn’t manage a single hit. Tomorrow is a new day and a chance for another win.

First pitch in tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 11:35.

A’s lose to Texas despite early lead 3-2

Oakland A’s pitcher Cole Irvin gives up the ball to A’s manager Bob Melvin in the sixth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Fri Jul 9, 2021 (AP News photo)

A’s Lose to Texas Despite Early Lead 3-2

By Barbara Mason

Once again we saw the Oakland A’s build an early lead only to watch it disappear into a losing effort. It is happening far too often resulting in losing series. They had early leads in their series against the Houston Astros losing two of the three games. This team is really struggling right now.

Tonight the A’s seemed to have the game in hand. Cole Irvin had a nice start through five innings but it was the sixth inning that was his undoing. The Rangers Adolis Garcia hit a two-run single pushing Texas past Oakland 3-2. The early hits that the A’s had shut down after the sixth inning. What is even worse is the fact that the Astros lost to the Yankees. A lost opportunity to gain ground in the standings.

Where have the bats gone for Oakland? It has gone back to the same old pattern with a hit here, a hit there. There were no home runs for Oakland in this game and so that has gone stale. There just seems to be something about the Texas Rangers that has the A’s stymied. The Rangers have had their number all season and show no signs of letting up.

The beautiful start that Cole Irvin had through five innings crashed and burned when he allowed three runs in the sixth inning. That was all that the Rangers would need to secure this game. The A’s had the bases loaded in the seventh inning but could not take advantage of it.

The eighth and ninth innings were three up and three down for the Rangers The A’s just could not get a thing going. They will be taking on the Rangers tomorrow in game two hoping to turn this thing around. If they hope to get back into contention something has to change. The defense had a nice game with a number of double plays but ti was the offense that let the team down once agains.

First pitch in Texas will be 1:05 tomorrow afternoon.

Oakland A’s podcast with Jeremiah Salmonson: Montas’ pitching sets tone for A’s going into Texas; Irvin gets the start for A’s against Rangers tonight

Oakland A’s starter Cole Irvin will start for the A’s in Texas against the Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Fri Jul 9, 2021 (file photo from Athletics Nation)

On the A’s podcast with Jeremiah:

#1 Oakland A’s pitcher Frankie Montas pitched 6.2 innings five hits and one run quite a line against one of the best hitting line ups in the American League the Houston Astros.

#2 Jeremiah, Montas picked up his seventh win of the season against seven loses this one was a gem he really had good command and it set the tone for the team coming out of a tough place like Houston.

#3 Jeremiah, let’s talk about Montas’ strike outs he struck out ten hitters and when you strike out ten Astro hitters he got the right signals and had his velocity working.

#4 Jeremiah, real quickly on the new ball park issue side of things it was reported that the Oakland City Council was presented the entire Howard Terminal ballpark package one of the sticking points of the package was when it came to infrastructure of the tune of a $12 billion neighborhood redo the city council didn’t see any affordable housing in the A’s new residential or condos could that be a sticking point for city council vote or will David Kaval and the A’s work something out with that regard.

#5 Starting pitchers for Friday night’s game in Texas for the A’s Cole Irvin (6-7 ERA 3.56) for the Rangers Jordan Lyles (4-5 ERA 4.98) a 5:05 pm (PDT) first pitch

Join Jeremiah for the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Preview of the A’s series with the Houston Astros

Oakland A’s starter Chris Bassitt whose been on a role starts for the A’s on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Field in Houston (AP file photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s are on their way to the state of Texas to face the Astros and Rangers. The three-game series with Houston begins on Tuesday at 5:05 pm from Minute Maid Park. The A’s then go to Arlington for three more before the annual All-Star Game.

The A’s are having a hard time winning baseball games these days. They have lost ten of the last sixteen played. They lost series to the Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and Red Sox The A’s fell to second place in the AL West, 3and 1/2 games behind Houston.

They lost two out of three to Boston last weekend. All three games were decided by one run. The A’ lost 3-2 in ten on Friday night, won 7-6 in 12 on Saturday and lost a heartbreaker 1-0 Sunday. The A’s have had their chances but have not been able to get hits when needed to get the runs needed to win on the board.

They have a chance to reverse things the next six days. It will not be easy when they face the Astros in Houston. The Astros are 7-3 against the A’s this year. The Rangers, in last place in the AL West, have not rolled over for Oakland. The Rangers split the four-game series with the A’s in Arlington took two out of three last week in Oakland.

On Tuesday, the A’s will send their ace, Chris Bassitt, to the mound. Bassitt is 9-2 with a 3.04 ERA. Lefty Framber Valdez will oppose him. Many A’s fans were furious that Bassitt was not picked to play in the All-Star game a week from tomorrow in Denver. Sean Manaea will pitch on Wednesday. His opponent will be Luis Garcia. Frankie Montas will go on Thursday. Lance McCullers, Jr. goes for Houston.

The A’s pitchers will have their hands full with the Houston lineup. Alex Bregman, Houston’s slugging third baseman, is on the 10-day IL and will not be available. Houston still has players that can do damage. Second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, first baseman Yuli Guriel all are playing well. The Houston DH, Yordano Alvarez, is not an easy out. Michael Brantley is a hitting machine. The A’s cannot take Myles Straw or Kyle Tucker lightly.

The A’s are going to find a way to get their offense going. They miss their leadoff hitter, Mark Canha. Canha is on the 10-day IL with a hip injury. He may not be available until after the All-Star break. His presence in the lineup is missed. The A’s will need Matt Chapman, Ramon Laureano, Seth Brown, Stephen Piscotty, Elvis Andrus, and Matt Olson to come through with big hits.

Olson will be the A’s only player to participate in this year’s All-Star game. The A’s DH Mitch Moreland is also on the 10-day IL. There is speculation that the A’s will be active in the trade market before the June 30th trade deadline. There are rumors that they might be interested in acquiring Minnesota’s DH, Nelson Cruz. Another player of interest is the Rangers’ right fielder, Joey Gallo.

The Rangers are paying Gallo $6.2 million this season. Gallo has one more year of arbitration and will be a free agent after the 2022 season. He could play right field for the A’s or be used as a left-handed bat in the DH slot.

The A’s do not want to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. Major League Baseball has gone back to the format before the 2020 season. There will be three division champions and two wild cards. There will be a game-playoff between the two wild card teams. The A’s have not fared well in those games. They hosted the 2019 Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The outcome was a loss.

If the A’s are to gain ground against Houston, they have to take two out of three. They would cut the deficit to 2 and 1/2 games. A three-game sweep would leave them just 1/2 game behind. However, if the Astros sweep them, they will be six and 1/2 games behind. A’s manager Bob Melvin will have his troops ready. They know the importance of the next two series—the A’s need to make a statement this week. They will be able to enjoy the four-day break.

Aces Squeak Past Sparks 66-58

Las Vegas Aces center Liz Cambage, left, is looking to take a shot against the Los Angeles Sparks forward Lauren Cox at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Fri Jul 2, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Barbara Mason

Friday night the Las Vegas Aces took on the Los Angeles Sparks for a second time in as many days. The Aces are tied with the Seattle Storm for first place in the Western Conference. Both teams will be taking on 6-9 teams; the Aces taking on the Sparks and the Storm playing the Dream.

Of course as we have seen time and time again; it’s not the record at the time, it’s how the team is playing on any given day. Nothing is guaranteed but if I had to make a pick, I would predict that both first place teams come away with wins tonight.

The Sparks had a much better game in both the first and the second quarters than their last meeting with the Aces. They trailed in each quarter by four points. It was the Spark turnovers that really gave the edge to the Aces.

Las Vegas led at the half by the score of 38-30. This was a much closer first half than their prior meeting. Last Wednesday the Aces led by 19 at the half. The Sparks were more competitive in the first half than in their last meeting although it was the turnovers that really hurt them.

The Sparks although a smaller team were really disrupting the rhythm of the Aces in the first half. Las Vegas had 22 points in the paint while the Sparks only had 12. At the half Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson led in scoring with 13 points and for Los Angeles Te’a Cooper had 7 points.

The Sparks outscored the Aces in the third quarter by the slim margin of 14-13. Los Angeles really put the clamps on Las Vegas in the fourth quarter. The Sparks trailed by four points early in the final quarter really turning on some defensive prowess.

With 6:23 left in the game the Aces led by a single point. Las Vegas would have to dig deep to get by a stubborn Spark’s team that refused to go away. The Aces offense had gone cold in the fourth quarter. The Sparks had their first lead of the game with five minutes left 55-54.

The Aces offense came to life when it was so desperately needed giving Las Vegas the win in this hotly contested game 66-58. Despite the bumps the gritty Aces pulled this game out to remain in first place in the Western Conference. The Storm also had a heart stopper winning 91-88.

A’Ja Wilson finished with 20 points. Chelsea Gray had 14 and Liz Cabbage with 10 points.

Sunday afternoon the Aces will take on the Atlanta Dream. Tipoff is at 3:00.