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An SB Nation blog for Oakland Athletics fans



Updated: 2017-04-25T22:57:27-07:00

 



A’s Lose Mirror Match 2-1

2017-04-25T22:57:27-07:00

The A’s and Angels went blow for blow in a pitcher’s duel, but Oakland just couldn’t close it out in extra innings. At least Jesse Hahn was awesome. Sigh. Jesse Hahn pitched one of the best games of his career, going 8 innings and allowing only 3 baserunners, but the A’s were unable to generate enough offense to get the win. This game was not only slow offensively, but there was a constant sense of déjà vu as each team matched the other almost perfectly through the night. Ultimately, the A’s wasted multiple opportunities with a runner on first and 0 outs and those mistakes came back to haunt them. This game was a straight-up pitchers’ duel through regular innings. Both JC Ramirez and Jesse Hahn pitched fantastic games. Ramirez went 7 innings, giving up only 2 walks and 2 hits while striking out 7. He located his 97-98mph fastball with precision and had incredible movement on his 90mph slider. Hahn, likewise, showed excellent control of his full arsenal, with his curveball in particular inducing tons of swings and misses throughout the Angels lineup. Hahn went 8 innings, giving up only 1 hit and 2 walks and getting 6 strikeouts. As someone fighting to keep a spot in Oakland’s rotation once Sonny Gray returns, Jesse Hahn made an extremely strong case for himself. Jaff Decker got the first hit of the game to lead off the 4th. He was promptly erased on a leisurely steal attempt where he just kind of…trotted into the tag at second. A moment later, we saw Decker in the dugout wincing as the trainer wrapped his leg. It seemed for a moment like yet another outfielder had gone down and we had entered the age of LaMarre as early as April, but Decker stayed in the game and ultimately had probably the best night offensively of any Oakland hitter (and by that, I mean he reached base twice). Andrelton Simmons notched the Angels’ hit of the game, a single with one out in the 5th. And just like Decker, he was immediately picked off on the basepath. After leading off too far, Simmons got in a pickle, and though the A’s made it more difficult than it should have been, he was eventually tagged out. Jed Lowrie’s defensive turnaround continues. He put up a web gem, robbing Danny Espinosa of a base hit thanks to the magic of the shift in the 6th. Lowrie came right back with a perfect bunt single to start the 7th, but as had happened multiple times already, the A’s were powerless to even get him into scoring position. Finally in the 8th, one of the starting pitchers stepped down and Blake Parker came in to pitch for the Angels. Plouffe took a leadoff walk which Joyce narrowly avoided erasing with a double play. And yet again, the A’s couldn’t get the runner past first. In the 8th, Matt Joyce, not exactly renowned for his defense, made a fantastic diving catch for the first out of the inning. Jesse Hahn gave up a walk as he was approaching 100 pitches, but once again escaped the inning unscathed. This truly was one of the best pitching performances we’ve seen from Jesse Hahn in Oakland, and a reminder of what he is capable of when he has full command of his pitches (especially that beautiful curveball). David Hernandez got the heart of the order for the A’s in the 9th. Healy, looking like he had never even heard of a slider before, earned the golden sombrero with his fourth strikeout of the night. We saw something promising at least in the 9th. Sean Doolittle had a quick inning and did something we’ve never seen before - he threw 3 sliders in a row to strike out Kole Calhoun! The first pitch was somewhat hittable, but the other two were a mile off the plate. Doolittle seems to have developed a legitimate second pitch that could make him as effective a pitcher as he was when he could consistently throw 96. Extra Innings Jose Alvarez pitched the 10th for Angels. Josh Phegley came in to pinch hit for Stephen Vogt. On the first pitch he saw, he did what both teams had failed to do all night and managed to advance past first base. And by that, I mean he hit a deep home run to right center field to final[...]



Game Thread #20: A's at Angels (2)

2017-04-25T21:39:34-07:00

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plz score runs

EXTRA INNINGS RALLY THREAD




Game #20: A's at Angels

2017-04-25T21:23:36-07:00

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Can Hahn get a firm grip on Trout?

After a restful off day, the A's are back to the grind. In their quest to play an entire season's worth of inter-divisional games in April, the Athletics find themselves headed to Anaheim for 3 games against the Angels before jetting off to Houston. But not Arlington. Why? Because, that's why.

Jesse Hahn is doing the throwing for Oakland today. Hahn, always a mystery, is coming off a start against Texas where he walked 4 but gave up only 1 run in 6 innings. As we've been saying for a couple years now, the potential is clearly there, and with Gray still out of the rotation for now, this is a good opportunity for Hahn to prove that he can stick in the big leagues and control all of his pitches.

On the mound for the Angels is JC Ramirez. Ramirez started the season in the bullpen before taking over starting duties after Garrett Richards went back on the DL. It has not been a smooth transition for Ramirez thus far (8 runs yielded in less than 11 innings), though I suppose it rarely is unless your name is Andrew Triggs.

You'll note that certified power hitter and team glue Adam Rosales is batting 9th - sad time :(

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Jaff Decker - CF Yunel Escobar - 3B
Ryon Healy - DH Kole Calhoun - RF
Jed Lowrie - 2B Mike Trout - CF
Khris Davis - LF Albert Pujols - DH
Stephen Vogt - C Jefry Marte - 1B
Yonder Alonso - 1B Andrelton Simmons - SS
Trevor Plouffe - 3B Cameron Maybin - LF
Matt Joyce - RF Danny Espinosa - 2B
Adam Rosales - SS Martin Maldonado - C
Jesse Hahn - RHP JC Ramirez - RHP

Game time is 7:07 PT today, because if there is one thing the Angels are lacking, it is money - 2 extra minutes of ads should make the difference!




Oakland A’s recall Cesar Valdez and Ryan LaMarre, put Rajai Davis on DL, DFA Raul Alcantara

2017-04-25T15:21:55-07:00

The Oakland A’s announced a flurry of moves Tuesday afternoon. In terms of arrivals, they recalled RHP Cesar Valdez and OF Ryan LaMarre from Triple-A Nashville, and to make room on the roster they placed OF Rajai Davis on the 10-day disabled list and designated RHP Raul Alcantara for assignment. Valdez has already pitched for the A’s this season, making a spot start last Thursday in place of the injured Kendall Graveman. In that game, he did a decent job of eating a few innings (4 ip, 3 runs, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 5 hits) in an eventual Oakland victory. Click here for more on who he is. He was optioned back to the minors on Friday, and normally a player has to wait 10 days to be called back up, but he was able to get around that rule since he’s replacing a player going on the DL (Rajai). Although Valdez started last time he was here, this time around he’ll be used as a long reliever, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. In related news, Graveman will return to the rotation to start Thursday’s game, notes Slusser. LaMarre was acquired from the Angels on Sunday in a minor move, and now he’ll immediately travel back to Anaheim to take on his old organization. Manager Bob Melvin calls him a “plus defender at all 3 OF spots” (via Joe Stiglich, NBCS), but the question is if he can hit at the MLB level. Slusser suggests he’ll start against lefties in CF. Click here for our writeup of his recent acquisition, which includes the following summary: LaMarre, 28, has briefly appeared in MLB but has mostly topped out in the high minors. He debuted with the Reds in 2015 and suited up for the Red Sox in 2016, but racked up only 32 plate appearances overall (and only two hits, both singles). He was signed by the Angels last winter but designated for assignment by the club on Tuesday [April 18]. The right-handed batter (but lefty thrower) spent most of last year in Triple-A, posting a 135 wRC+ in 86 games with double-digits in both homers and steals. Defensively, he’s spent most of his time in CF but has also dabbled on the corners. Since 2015, he’s put up the following line in Triple-A (735 PAs, split among three different teams): LaMarre, 2015-17 AAA: .280/.342/.418, 120 wRC+, 18 HR, 7.1% BB, 24.4% Ks, 32-for-43 stolen bases Meanwhile, Rajai hasn’t played since Thursday due to a strained hamstring, and now he’ll go on the short-term DL to finish his recovery. The move is retroactive to April 22, which should put him on track for a return on May 2 — a total of only six more missed games, with the team enjoying an off-day on May 1. The insiders make it clear that his injury is minor (Slusser), that this is a precautionary DL stint for a guy who relies on his legs (Slusser), and that he should be ready to go when eligible to return (Jane Lee). Finally, Alcantara ran out his long leash. He only lasted one disastrous start in the rotation this season, and then followed it with two forgettable long relief appearances. His ERA after seven innings was 16.71, which was only slightly higher than his 10.92 FIP, or his career ERA of 9.51 dating back to his debut last September. Most likely he’ll end up going through waivers, where he’ll either be claimed (and/or traded) or clear and go back safely to Triple-A Nashville. Hot takes: Let’s start with the outfield move, which is pretty straightforward. The A’s are thin in CF, so when Rajai got hurt they picked up an emergency backup just in case because there wasn’t really another option waiting in Triple-A. Now that Rajai is on the DL, even if only briefly, they brought up that new acquisition. Jaff Decker is proving his mettle so far as a decent starting CF, but now he has a proper backup, and a much-needed defensive-minded one at that. There’s also now a righty hitter to platoon with Matt Joyce, which is a role that young lefty-swinging Matt Olson can’t fill. I imagine LaMarre will go back down when Rajai returns, though at the rate this roster has been changing la[...]



MLB Draft 2017: Previewing Oakland A's potential targets

2017-04-25T06:45:40-07:00

An early discussion about June's amateur draft. We’re 7 weeks away from the MLB Amateur Draft, and as the scouting reports come in and the smoke screens begin it seems a good time to review some draft basics. Each team is assigned a draft pool based on the number of picks they have in the first 10 Rounds and the order in which they get to make draft selections. Each pick carries a specific dollar value (sometimes called "slot value") and it’s this accumulation of value that sets the MLB approved budget for teams to work with. Teams can sign players at or below or above the individual draft pick slot value as long as the sum of the team’s picks does not surpass the approved budget. Going over that budget comes with consequences: Spend 0 – 5% over the allotted budget and pay a 75% tax on the overage. Spend 5 – 10% over the allotted budget and pay the 75% tax on the overage PLUS lose their 1st-round pick in the next draft. Spend 10 – 15% over the allotted budget and pay a 100% tax on the overage PLUS lose their 1st- and 2nd-round picks in the next draft. Spend above 15% over the allotted budget and pay a 100% tax on the overage PLUS lose their 1st-round picks in the next TWO drafts. With that bit of unpleasantness over, let’s look at where Oakland picks in 2017. RD 1: #6 $5,303,000 RD 1: #33 $2,033,500 RD 2: #43 $1,597,300 RD 3: #81 $697,500 RD 4: #111 $482,600 RD 5: #141 $360,500 RD 6: #171 $271,300 RD 7: #201 $212,100 RD 8: #231 $168,300 RD 9: #261 $145,500 RD 10: #291 $135,900 These picks give Oakland a draft allotment of $11,407,500. Clearly the team isn’t in a position to give up on future draft picks so they can't go too far past that total, but they can spend up to $559,000 over their allotment and only face the 75% tax on the overage … a penalty of $419,250. Add this all up and the A’s can commit $12,385,750 towards their draft allotment signings. Teams are also allowed to sign players in Rounds 11-40 to signing bonuses up to $125,000 and those bonuses don't count against the draft allotment cap. I mention this because last year the A's spent $745,000 to sign late-round picks and none of that money counted against their cap. So it's possible the A's could spend over $13 million to sign talent in the upcoming draft. So whom can we expect to see the A’s spend money on this year? I haven’t a clue. It’s still April! But here are some names to keep in mind for the #6 overall pick: Have the Hype, Can They Back it Up? Jeren Kendall is a Junior CF out of Vanderbilt. A toolshed, he came into the season on the short list of the best position prospects in college ball. He has 70-grade speed, some power potential and is considered an elite defender. He also has a LOT of swing and miss to his game, to the point that scouts are starting wonder if he’ll make enough contact to start. Alex Faedo is a Junior RHP who some scouts considered to have the best arm on Florida’s 2016 starting rotation -- his rotation-mates last year were A.J. Puk and Logan Shore. Faedo had minor arthroscopic surgery on both knees last fall and his stuff hasn’t been as strong as he showed last year. Baseball America’s preseason #1 college prospect is looking to get his strength and fastball back to 2016 levels; if he can do that then I imagine Oakland takes a hard look his way if he’s available at #6. Helium! MacKenzie Gore is a high school LHP out of North Carolina who's been sitting in the low-to-mid-90’s this spring. BA’s 38th-best high school prospect in the preseason, he’s now being talked about as a near lock for the Top 10. Sure, Oakland hasn’t taken a prep arm in the 1st round since Jeremy Bonderman in 2001 but that just means that they’re due! Adam Haseley was BA’s 63rd best college prospect during the preseason but the Virginia Junior is currently hitting .396/.495/.689 with 12 HR and a 32/15 BB/K rate. HOLY CRAP! Currently ranked #13[...]



Athletics vs Angels: Series Preview #7

2017-04-25T06:31:23-07:00

Considering how the home stand started and how it ended, a 5-4 overall record over the A’s nine game stretch isn’t too shabby. The A’s, unfortunately, will now have to leave the comfy confines of home and embark on a three team road trip for the next nine game stretch, taking on the Angels, then Astros, then Twins. Overall, the A’s are currently in second place with a 10-9 record, three games behind the Astros for first place and 1.5-2.5 games ahead of the rest of the division trailing behind. The Angels were like the A’s only in that (only in that) the Angels have a lot of talented players but would really need everything to break right for the team to stay competitive all year. After splitting the opening four game series against Oakland, the Angels have not had things break right. Upon leaving Oakland, the Angels promptly won four straight games versus Seattle and Texas, propelling the team to the top of the standings and instilling hope in all the greater Orange County area, before immediately losing the next eight of nine games against Texas, then Kansas City, then Houston, and then Toronto. The Angels are currently 9-12 and in fourth place in the AL West. It is safe to say that things aren’t breaking exactly right for Anaheim. The Angels currently have the second worse run differential in the American League, leading only the last place Royals. In all honesty, despite Garrett Richards’ Hardenesque ability to hurt himself yet again (he has been placed on the 60-day DL), the Angels starting rotation has been the biggest non-Trout strength of the team, at least in recent weeks. No one in the rotation of Nolasco, Shoemaker, Chavez, Skaggs and others has an ERA below four or has earned more than 0.0 WAR so far on the young season, but it’s also often the case that the starting rotation isn’t the reason that the Angels are losing as much as they are. The offense, armed with the greatest gift of all of baseball with Mike Trout, is in the bottom-10 in all of baseball in runs scored, OBP, and SLG and lacks any semblance of consistency, and the bullpen is riddled with injuries and in recent weeks has been giving up runs at double the rate of the starting pitching. It is not all doom and gloom for the Angels, who still have a few bright spots scattered on the roster. Andrelton Simmons is doing his best to become a two way player, and has an OBP of .370 to begin the year to compliment his best defense in the league from shortstop. Longtime backup catcher Martin Maldonado has done the same in the opportunities he’s been given. Mike Trout is still very good, as is to be expected. On the pitching side of things, Cam Bedrosian (currently on the 10-day DL) has been elite out of the bullpen so far, not allowing a single run to score yet in this young season, and the starting rotation has just gone more than a week in which the starter has given up fewer than three runs. There isn’t much to be happy about otherwise in Anaheim. Pujols has sixteen RBI, which is meaningless, and is otherwise off to yet another early season slump with the Angels. Kole Calhoun, one of the only other legitimately feared hitters in the Angels’ lineup, is slugging under .300 to date, and C.J. Cron is struggling to slug the Mendoza line. The Angels are basically getting the entirety of their offense out of two players, and with the bullpen hemorrhaging runs to the tune of an ERA above six in the last week-plus, the ship will need to right itself quickly otherwise the entire season can be sunk. Here are the matchups for the upcoming three game series against the Angels: Tue, 4/25 @ 7:07 - Hahn (1-1) vs Ramirez (2-2) on NBCSCA and MLB.tv Wed, 4/26 @ 7:07 - Manaea (1-1) vs Shoemaker (0-1) on NBCSCA and MLB.tv Thu, 4/27 @ 7:07 – Cotton (2-2) vs Nolasco (1-2) on NBCSCA and MLB.tv Link to Halos Heaven [...]



Off day conversation: Who is your favorite Oakland Athletic who wasn’t that good?

2017-04-24T19:30:01-07:00

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We don’t always like the best players, and that’s okay.

The best baseball players aren’t always our favorite players. Mike Trout is a nice guy but also rather boring, most interested in the Bay Area micrco-climates and less so in being the face of baseball. Bryce Harper has nice hair but limited appeal otherwise.

Among our A’s, this rings even more true. Josh Donaldson was always the best player on the teams of the 2012-2014, but for few was he the ultimate favorite. That’s not knock on Donaldson, who was beloved by the fanbase and a generally awesome Athletic. He just didn’t charm quite like other worse players did. Brandon Moss, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and more were always the top fan favorites, productive but non-star players who were also faces of the franchise.

And below them were the guys who just weren’t that good, but still found their way into our hearts. Brad Mills, Jerry Blevins, Tommy Milone and more will always be etched in our memories. So let’s talk about awesome but not really that awesome players!

Criteria

None, really. Just anyone who strikes you as someone who makes sense here! Mehren, yes, Sogard counts. Tutu, you know the answer: KOUUUZZZ was bad.

Some random players that come to mind

Travis Blackley

Easy choice here, though a bit of a cop out as Blackley was actually a good player with the A’s. He did have his share of good fortune, and his career year was a big part of the A’s overcoming expectations to pull off one of the greatest regular season stories of all time. There were better pitchers on that roster, there were other fun pitchers who made an impact, but Blackley will always be my favorite.

Tommy Everidge

In the doldrums of the Geren era, we had to grab on to any glimmer of hope we could. It was probably foolish to get so excited about Tommy Everidge, who at the time was dominating AAA in his age 26 season. But he was a local product, a fun story, and the A’s had nothing to lose by giving him a shot.

AN was abuzz at his promotion, but ultimately he just couldn’t hack it at the big league level. There’s a happy ending here. Everidge is now the hitting coach for the Stockton Ports! You go Tommy.

Please enjoy this amazing picture of Everidge, in which he looks like the first civilian placed in the witness protection/Minor League Baseball partnership program.

Josh Outman

The name Outman is just too darn perfect. Combine that with Outman’s interesting and extremely dumb looking desired mechanics and you’ve got an interesting story that I will root for for the rest of time.

Antonio Perez

Honestly, no clue why I was drawn to Antonion Perez. He was one strikeout away from batting below .100, and it was an act of the baseball gods the kept him from getting there. Lord knows had he gone up to bat, he would have gotten out. His OPS with the A’s was lower than Ted Williams batting average at his peak, and he just kinda looked sa all the time.

Matt Murton and Bobby Kielty

For the hair. Always about the hair.

Who is your favorite not-so-great Athletic of all time?




My Lymph And Hard Times

2017-04-24T12:00:02-07:00

The headline is a riff on a James Thurber novel. This story involves baseball. Life is just what insists on happening in between baseball games. The phone message It started with a phone message from my primary care physician following the latest test — this one a CT scan with an iodine chaser — trying to figure out why my abdomen, and digestive tract, felt like Jed Lowrie looks when a fastball just off the corner is called a strike. "I’d like to discuss the results of your latest test." No explanation, no information, just a desire to discuss the results. This is never good. Ever. Here are some things you never hear when you call your doctor back: "Oh, we looked at the blood tests and you’re fit as a fiddle. I just wanted to tell you what a cool shade of red your blood is." "Every single result wasn’t simply in the normal range — it was exactly at the 50th percentile. That’s so amazing that I had to call and tell you!" "We’ve looked at the results of your CT scan and concluded that the insides of a person are pretty disgusting." "You’re fine. I just kinda wanted to say hi." It turns out that after years of hearing "Everything looks normal, you should be feeling fine. You’re not? Huh, go figure..." a test finally showed something: swollen lymph nodes in my abdomen. Oh, and my spleen is a little big too, but on that I blame my friends who weren’t truthful with me when I said, "Be honest: does this shirt make my spleen look fat?" I didn’t even know you had lymph nodes in your abdomen, but apparently you do. And apparently if they’re swollen it indicates that you could have lymphoma. The "ruling out" phase I wasn’t terribly worried about actually having lymphoma, partly because there is literally no cancer on either side of my family, partly because my color, strength, and overall health hardly indicate cancer, and partly because most of what I knew about lymphoma is that it tends to lead to your being offered $155M to pitch for the Cubs. Nonetheless, you don’t mess around with "could be lymphoma..." so I agreed to do a bunch of painful and annoying further testing to find out. Two biopsies were scheduled for the first week of the baseball season, the first one — a sample of bone marrow — falling on Thursday afternoon right when the A’s were closing out their series with the Angels. So I brought my transistor radio for the excruciating-but-brief 10 minute procedure, in which they drill a jackhammer into your bone but you can’t really feel the pain because they have sent anesthesia in first to delay the agony until after dinner. Andrew Triggs was pitching and when the doctor came in I asked if it was okay to keep the game on while he tortured me. No problem, he said. There was a problem, though. As the nurses moved around the room to assist the doctor, the radio reception kept changing. So the doctor instructed one of the nurses to "act as the antenna" and make his job to re-position himself as needed in order to optimize reception. The procedure was successful, and by that I mean that the A’s went on to win the game. Having traumatized the right side of my body on Thursday, I let them take aim at the left side on Friday, sampling a lymph node from my abdomen with a "biopsy gun" that apparently does not require a 5-day waiting period to procure. This procedure did not go as well, in that Raul Alcantara gave up 8 runs just a few hours later. So as the A’s opened the season making errors like they were going out of style, and as I answered people’s polite "What’dja do over spring break?" with "Biopsies, and you?" I awaited the results. "Hopefully, when they figure out I don’t have lymphoma they will also figure out what I do have." The waiting room A waiting room is a big room that you sit in for a long time until you are invited to go wait in a smaller room for a long time. Event[...]