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A’s-Seattle series has playoff implication, could be ‘inspirational’

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:39:07 UT

A’s-Seattle series has playoff implication, could be ‘inspirational’ ANAHEIM - The A’s have little to play for right now besides trying to sort through their young players and provide some good teaching moments for them, but they head to Seattle after Wednesday’s game for a four-game series that means a ton to the Mariners. Seattle, which won again today, is just a game and a half out of a wild-card spot, so the A’s could help play spoiler in the playoff race while giving all their many rookies exposure to a series that has major implications. Nothing is on the line for us, but whenever you’re in that atmosphere, there’s an intensity to it that’s similar to postseason. Kendall Graveman starts the opener Thursday against lefty Ariel Miranda, wrapping up a fine second season that saw Graveman really mature and turn into a true front-end-of-the-rotation pitcher. Graveman also is the only member of the Oakland rotation to make every start this season.

Daniel Mengden’s puzzling season with A’s ends with loss

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 06:00:48 UT

Mengden has a funky delivery with a bit of hesitation and a double pump that can throw batters off, but many scouts believe he is best suited as a reliever because he’s more hittable once opponents have seen the delivery. Calhoun led off the fourth with another double, starting a string of seven Angels batters to reach base. All of them scored, four of them on a grand slam by onetime Oakland farmhand Jefry Marte, the first of his career. Mengden exited with five runs allowed in the inning and two on and Zach Neal got grounders for the first two outs, one of which sent in a run, before Calhoun got his third extra-base hit in the first four innings, this one an RBI triple, closing the book on Mengden. The 23-year-old certainly will be in the mix for a rotation spot next spring, considering the flashes of excellence he showed, but he is no longer a lock. Neal, who worked three scoreless innings, allowed three hits and, as usual, didn’t walk a batter. Dillon Overton, who entering the day had allowed 12 homers in his 221/3 major-league innings, worked two perfect innings. Oakland’s only run came in the sixth, when Eibner reached on an error and scored on Ryon Healy’s two-out double.

A’s Sonny Gray all ready for short start

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 05:37:05 UT

ANAHEIM — Sonny Gray probably won’t work more than one inning in his start Wednesday night at Angel Stadium, but still, he is looking forward to it after nearly two months of watching from the sidelines. Whether it’s an inning or two innings, it’ll be great to pitch in a big-league game. Gray, who went on the disabled list Aug. 7 with inflammation in his right elbow and forearm, will be on a pitch count of about 30, but even if he is in the low 20s after the first, manager Bob Melvin said he isn’t sure he would send out Gray for a second inning of work. Angel Stadium is one of Gray’s favorite spots to pitch, too. Gray is the most veteran of the A’s current starters after journeyman Ross Detwiler, and he tries to be a sounding board for the youngsters, whose emergence he is enjoying. “It’s been fun, but obviously, it would have been much better and I feel like I would have been a little more involved if I’d actually been out there competing alongside of them,” Gray said. Gray will come off the DL on Wednesday; Detwiler, the originally scheduled starter, will be the second pitcher. Brett Eibner was asked to bunt with one on and no outs in the eighth Monday and didn’t fare well, fouling off his first attempt and popping up his next attempt foul and into the glove of first baseman C.J. Cron. (Eibner) probably hasn’t done a whole lot of that, and it didn’t work out for him, but sometimes you have to put them in the fire and make them do something that isn’t comfortable to try to sneak a run across, as opposed to waiting around to string hits together. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. at Mariners at Mariners Stephen Vogt threw out two baserunners in the first two innings, including Mike Trout by several feet. “Probably my best throw of the year by far,” Vogt said.

Bob Melvin would like to assess A’s bunting ability in final games

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 01:14:31 UT

Bob Melvin would like to assess A’s bunting ability in final games (Eibner) probably hasn’t done a whole lot of that and it didn’t work out for him, but sometimes you have to put them in the fire and make them do something that isn’t comfortable to try to sneak a run across as opposed to waiting around to string hits together. Typically, that doesn’t happen much against bullpen guys late in games, so it’s something we have to get much better at. … Melvin said that depending on the situation, the A’s could be putting down a few more bunts in the final six games, especially because Arismendy Alcantara, a good bunter and pinch runner, is out the rest of the way with a sprained thumb. The A’s didn’t hold batting practice Tuesday, so Valencia will go in without as much prep time in left as might be ideal, but as Melvin noted, going into the season, Valencia had played more games in left than he had in right (32 appearances in left compared to five in right).

A’s start slow again, waste Sean Manaea’s strong outing

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:58:33 UT

ANAHEIM — Perhaps one way to look at the A’s wild moods of September — hitting up a storm one week, scoring almost no runs the next — is that the month is providing many lessons for the team’s strong crop of youngsters. Oakland didn’t get a hit off the Angels’ Jered Weaver on Monday until there were two outs in the fifth and wound up on the losing end for the sixth time in seven games, falling 2-1 at Angel Stadium and letting another excellent outing by Sean Manaea go for naught. Albert Pujols’ bases-loaded tapper with one out in the eighth resulted in the winning run. [...] had rookie reliever Ryan Dull made a clean play on the ball, he might have been able to get the runner at the plate. Manaea, the A’s rookie left-hander, was super-stingy in his third start since returning from a bout of back soreness. Mike Trout ended Manaea’s string of scoreless innings at 151/3 with a solo homer in the fourth. Since coming back from what the A’s described as a strained left rhomboid muscle, Manaea has given up one run in 18 innings.

A’s Andrew Lambo healthy after cancer treatment, hopes to stay with team

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 02:38:29 UT

A’s Andrew Lambo healthy after cancer treatment, hopes to stay with team ANAHEIM - Andrew Lambo doesn’t know if he’s in the A’s plans for next year after missing the second half while getting treatment for testicular cancer. Lambo, who visited the team at Angel Stadium on Monday, was particularly touched that Oakland put him on the big-league roster and 60-day DL on July 4, which meant that he’d receive a big-league salary for half the season. Sure, the A’s had a practical reason for doing so; they wanted to get Patrick Schuster onto the 40-man roster. [...] it wound up costing them more than $250,000 to do so, and for Oakland, that’s not nothing, and Lambo is appreciative. “You’ve got a guy who hasn’t played in a year and a half and then gets hit with this, and we know this industry is very cold, that’s the way it goes,” Lambo said. After spending most of the first half with Triple-A Nashville, Lambo also hopes to stick with the organization because he is so impressed with the young players - including two pitchers acquired from the Dodgers after he went on the DL, Jharel Cotton and Frankie Montas, both of whom he’s faced in the past and raves about. Between the assemblage of talent and the generosity shown him, Lambo is now the front office’s biggest fan. “Billy Beane has gotten some heat for the last couple of years, but I tell you what, there’s been a tidal wave of injuries, he’s got like 2 million guys on the DL right now,” Lambo said, adding of his own situation, I’m so sick of people bagging on Billy. Lambo, who had surgery at Vanderbilt on June 17, is a full go to play baseball now and he took batting practice with the A’s on Monday. Nashville manager Steve Scarsone, who is in Anaheim with the A’s, was delighted to see Lambo fit and his usual boisterous self; the cancer diagnosis gave all of the Sounds and their coaching staff a scare. “He’s definitely a vocal person,” rookie third baseman Ryon Healy said with a laugh. The Sounds Face-Timed Lambo as soon as they wrapped up their division title, wanting to include him. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. On rookie dress-up day Sunday, pitcher Zach Neal was the “bride” in a bachelorette party - so chosen because he is getting married when the season ends.

A’s try to keep cool going into series at Anaheim

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 01:36:54 UT

Anaheim - It’s a scorcher in SoCal on Monday, with temperatures up to 104 earlier in the day and it was still in the mid-90s during batting practice, so the A’s curtailed their pregame activities a bit, with hitters doing some of their work indoors. The lineup for the series opener at Anaheim, with Jered Weaver going for the Angels: The A’s need to sweep the Angels in the three-game series to avoid losing the season series for the third year in a row. Oakland has dropped five of its past six games, but went 6-1 on the last road trip, while the Angels have won four of their past five games.

A’s mourn Jose Fernandez’s death: ‘To be gone so soon is so sad’

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 04:22:00 UT

A’s mourn Jose Fernandez’s death: ‘To be gone so soon is so sad’ Manager Bob Melvin said that all of baseball would have heavy hearts Sunday after the death of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, in a boating accident. “The impact he had on his teammates and fans, you could feel it, you could sense it,” Melvin said. First baseman Yonder Alonso, who is from Miami, had gotten to know Fernandez well over the years at offseason events and considered him a good friend. Alonso said that Fernandez’s public persona, always smiling, laughing, was who he was off the field, too. “How he was on the mound was a reflection of him,” Alonso said. A guy who had a lot of fun, was himself. ... A very talkative guy, he would come into the room and you’d know he was in the room. The loss of Fernandez, Alonso said, is really big for baseball. People don’t realize, his charisma, his energy. When he pitched, they would sell 6,000-7,000 more tickets. A big-time shock, for sure. Zach Neal and Fernandez were teammates in the minor leagues, and the reliever said, He was an awesome guy. When I played with him, he was so young, he was just starting to learn professional baseball, but he was so good. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Golden employees: Before the home finale, the A’s publicly acknowledged Harold Miller and Max Jacinto, who have worked at the Coliseum since its first event, a Raiders game on Sept. 18, 1966. Jacinto is a ticket taker at C Gate; Miller works in the press dining lounge.

Rookie Jharel Cotton superb again in A’s home finale

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:04:48 UT

In the A’s Coliseum finale of 2016, the offense appeared for the first time on the homestand and against a pitcher who usually gives Oakland fits. Better still for the A’s long-term outlook, Jharel Cotton continued a wildly successful start to his career, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings as Oakland beat Texas 7-1 to end an eight-game home losing streak. Cotton is the first A’s pitcher since ERA became a stat in 1913 to pitch five or more innings and allow no more than one earned run in his first four outings. Gray, on the disabled list since early August with elbow and forearm inflammation, will start at Anaheim and go one or possibly two innings, with Ross Detwiler, the originally scheduled starter, coming into the game afterward. Held scoreless their previous 19 innings, the A’s put up seven runs in the second inning against Colby Lewis, a onetime Oakland farmhand. Brett Eibner sent in Semien with a groundout, and Matt Olson walked and Joey Wendle singled to load the bases. Matt Olson, making his first appearance in right field, recorded his first big-league hit, a single in the third.

Sonny Gray to start for A’s on Wednesday at Anaheim

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 18:58:47 UT

Manager Bob Melvin said Sunday morning that Gray will go one inning, possibly two, with Ross Detwiler coming in after him. Gray has been out since early August with inflammation in his right elbow and forearm; he said Saturday that he doesn’t need to pitch again this season for peace of mind, but because it’s the next step in the rehab process and he’s ready for it. Gray, a 2015 All-Star, is having the roughest season of his career, with a 5-11 record and a 5.74 ERA. Oakland’s lineup in Sunday’s season finale, with right-hander Colby Lewis pitching for Texas:

A’s shut out again, go flat in final home stretch

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:25:07 UT

Playing well at home is always an emphasis for Bob Melvin, but his team has plumb stopped hitting the past week and, going into Sunday’s home finale, is in danger of being swept in a homestand of six or more games for the first time in Oakland history. The A’s haven’t scored in the past 18 innings, shut out Saturday for the second game in a row in a 5-0 loss to the Rangers. [...] on the other side, Elvis Andrus notched his first career multi-homer game, banging a two-run shot to dead center in the second off Raul Alcantara, and adding another two-run drive off the rookie in the sixth, a blast to left. Texas, which claimed the AL West title the previous night, rested many regulars, including A’s-killer Adrian Beltre, Rougned Odor and Jonathan Lucroy, but Oakland never mounted much of a threat against Yu Darvish, who went seven innings and allowed just two hits and one walk. Oakland has dropped all five games on the homestand, scoring just eight runs total, and falling back into last place in the division. The A’s have lost their past eight straight at home overall, their longest such streak since losing eight in a row from April 8-May 1, 2001, and their 33-47 home record is the second worst in the league. “We’ve kind of cycled back the other way as far as home here the last couple of years,” Melvin said, adding of the three previous seasons, We had a nice run here where there was great excitement at the park, artwork all over the place in the outfield.

A’s Sonny Gray on track to pitch in final week

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:12:44 UT

A’s Sonny Gray on track to pitch in final week Sonny Gray cleared his last hurdle before making an appearance the final week of the season, throwing 48 pitches Saturday and facing hitters for the first time since going on the disabled list in early August. “I threw everything I had and wasn’t holding back,” Gray said. Manager Bob Melvin said the team will see how Gray is feeling Sunday before making a decision on when he will get a few innings of work. “If he feels good, we’ll fit him in somewhere,” Melvin said, noting that Gray’s typical routine suggests he would start. Matt Olson, Eric Sogard and Chad Pinder stood in while Gray threw. “His stuff looked great,” Pinder said. “He threw me a couple of sliders with good bite, good spots,” Olson said. Radio broadcaster Ken Korach drove to Los Angeles on Friday to go see the ceremonies honoring Vin Scully, who is retiring at the age of 88. “It exceeded my expectations, if possible,” Korach said. There were no dry eyes, I looked around, people were crying. The ovation lasted forever, it must have been 10 minutes, the people just wouldn’t stop. [...] Vinny’s comments were so appropriate and so gracious, but you could tell he was very moved by it. Vinny was the first voice of my childhood. [...] baseman Joey Wendle said the swipe Jurickson Profar took at him when Profar was thrown out trying to advance in the fifth inning was just frustration. The A’s are 25½ games out of first, their largest deficit since Sept. 27, 1997, when they were 26 out. Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. For A.J. Griffin,, clinching the AL West at the Coliseum was extra sweet; he doesn’t mind sticking it to the A’s, who released him. Why do you think I signed with Texas?” Griffin said, adding, “I guess it’s fitting — I’ve clinched here three times.

A’s Khris Davis: Coliseum’s pretty cool

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:33:10 UT

Coliseum’s pretty cool The Coliseum can’t contain Khris Davis. The first A’s player with 40 homers since Jason Giambi in 2000, Davis said he enjoys the challenges of playing at the Coliseum and doesn’t mind that the facilities aren’t exactly up to big-league par. “It’s one of the reasons I chose Cal-State Fullerton over big-time colleges, because the facilities are not the reason you’re going to go out there and perform,” said Davis, who returned to Friday’s lineup after missing two games with a stomach bug. All in all, I like the facilities. Davis’ power plays well in Oakland, where he has 19 homers compared with 21 on the road. A story line entering the season was how much Davis would remain a power threat at the Coliseum, a pitchers’ park, coming off a 27-homer season in Milwaukee. [...] much for that angle. “I like that it’s not glamorized,” Davis said of the Coliseum. Asked about the dimensions and elements at the Coliseum, Davis said, I heard it was big, but I didn’t think it really mattered. The fans are more challenging. Oakland fans are a little aggressive. Fans should be elated with Davis, one of the few bright spots in a troubled season. John Shea is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Rangers Rangers at Angels Injured: Infielder-outfielder Arismendy Alcantara, acquired in the June trade that sent Chris Coghlan to the Cubs, won’t play again this season after spraining his thumb on a slide Wednesday.

A’s broadcaster Ken Korach had a blast at Vin Scully ceremony game

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:12:21 UT

A’s radio broadcaster Ken Korach has been a Vin Scully fan all his life, so he drove to Los Angeles on Friday to go see the ceremonies honoring the Dodgers’ play-by-play man. Korach bought a ticket and sat in the stands, as a fan, to help pay tribute to Scully, a Frick Award winner who is retiring at the age of 88. There were no dry eyes, I looked around, people were crying. The ovation lasted forever, it must have been 10 minutes, the people just wouldn’t stop. Korach grew up in Los Angeles and he said he was delighted to hear many of Scully’s most famous calls played during the pregame proceedings.

A’s lose despite Graveman’s 6 perfect innings, Rangers win West

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 05:41:37 UT

A’s lose despite Graveman’s 6 perfect innings, Rangers win West A’s starter Kendall Graveman pitched six perfect innings Friday night but surrendered three runs in the seventh, and the Rangers won 3-0 to earn the right to stage a party on the field and carry it into the visitors’ clubhouse. Before the game, Vogt received his third straight Catfish Hunter Award for his leadership and inspirational qualities on and off the field. The team’s most consistent starter, Graveman threw just 59 pitches through six, with plenty in reserve for the final three. Carlos Gomez opened the seventh by beating out an infield single, his high chopper gloved in the hole by Marcus Semien. Ian Desmond followed with a single, and Gomez scored on Carlos Beltran’s grounder to first. The next pitch, Graveman’s 68th, Adrian Beltre deposited over the left-field wall for his 31st home run. Rangers starter Cole Hamels exhaled, and the lefty completed seven innings of six-hit ball. The A’s best chance to get on the board failed when Renato Nuñez was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on one of Chad Pinder’s two doubles. The back end of our bullpen’s going to be back and healthy, so that’s exciting.