John Jaso wants to credit Eric Sogard for much of his RBI production of late.
In his last 15 games John Jaso has driven in 13 runs, not bad for someone not generally considered an RBI threat.
Jaso knows just who to blame.
“A lot of it’s about Eric Sogard,’’ Jaso said after driving in three runs in the A’s 9-3 win over Texas Sunday night. “A lot of what I’ve been doing started when he began to get hot again.’’
Jaso isn’t kidding. Of his last nine RBIs since July 20, he’s driven in Sogard four times. Sogard was 4-for-35 before turning it around beginning on the 20th. He’s 7-for-20 (.350) since then and has scored eight runs, half of the time Jaso being the man to bring him home.
The A’s won’t have batting practice before their 6:05 p.m. (CDT) game with the Rangers Sunday night, so they’ll have to find other ways to fill their time.
Josh Reddick will commandeer the clubhouse television to lock in on the Hall of Fame Ceremonies coming out of Cooperstown.
Reddick grew up in Georgia and was, by his own admission, “a huge Braves fan.’’
John Jaso has been on a month-long tear, hitting.326 to get his overall average to .284.
It can be easy to overlook John Jaso or Josh Reddick in the A’s offense since Oakland has three players with more individual homers than the 13 combined that Jaso and Reddick have.
It can be easy. It just wouldn’t be wise.
Jaso is in the middle of a nice tear, going 17-for-45 (.378) with four doubles, two triples, a homer and 10 RBIs in his last 13 games. Over a longer stretch, he’s hitting .326 in his last 27 games.
Reddick, the man of 32 homers who has been injured much of the last year and half, is healthy now with the help of a knee brace, and with his solo homer Saturday he is 5-for-16 (313) since coming off the disabled list with three doubles, the homer and five runs scored.
Stephen Vogt is playing on a painful right foot and producing.
Stephen Vogt has spent enough of his career not playing in the big leagues that the last thing you’ll ever see him do is ask for time off.
The veteran catcher/outfielder is not asking for it now.
But when you watch him limp around the A’s clubhouse after a game, you wonder what his pain threshold is and whether time off would help. On the field as the A’s first baseman Friday night, Vogt seemed to be able to make all the plays needed.
Before Friday’s game with the Rangers, A’s manager Bob Melvin said he didn’t see Oakland in a position where it had to trade for a second baseman for the stretch run.
Having acquired starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel on July 4, Melvin said, was good enough and the club could make do with at second. Eric Sogard has picked this week to up his game a little, and Alberto Callaspo is due off DL Sunday.
And that may be just as well, because the pool of available candidates seems to be evaporating. Six weeks ago, it seemed a sure bet the Rays would trade Ben Zobrist. Then Tampa went on a surge.
The A’s finally put struggling high-priced reliever Jim Johnson out of his Oakland misery Thursday, designating the right-hander for assignment after his latest in a series of mound meltdowns.
Johnson, 31, entrusted with a 9-2 Oakland lead against Houston Wednesday night, gave up four straight hits – in just 11 pitches – and was quickly removed by A’s manager Bob Melvin. All four runs eventually scored as the A’s hung on for a 9-7 victory at the Coliseum.
It was just the latest in a long list of setbacks, starting with a loss in his first A’s appearance on March 31 and a blown save in his second.
Johnson, 4-2 with a 6.92 ERA and just two saves before losing his job as the closer, was a major disappointment for the A’s this year. Signed to a $10 million one-year deal after the departure of Grant Balfour in free agency, the A’’s looked secure with a pitcher who had saved 101 games in his previous two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said it was difficult giving Johnson the bad news.
“It was very tough,” Melvin said. “There’s a human side to all this, too. The performance wasn’t great, but it’s not like he wasn’t accountable. I just couldn’t get him in a spot where he could get on a roll, and I feel awful about it, too, because it’s my job to get him in a position to succeed, and it just didn’t happen here.”
Yoenis Cespedes had a big breakout with two home runs, but a thumb injury put a damper on his great night.
No one should be complaining about the A’s after a 62-38 record after 100 games, right? This is more than anybody had any right to expect at season’s outset, when the A’s were two starters down and they were still playing Daric Barton at first base with a straight face. While the division title still figures to be a fight with the Angels, Oakland is better positioned to win it schedule-wise and it would require a monumental collapse to miss the playoffs altogether.
But worry? Yes, it’s OK to worry, and there are plenty of things to worry about.
It’s OK to worry about the unpredictability of Yoenis Cespedes, who hit his first home runs in 25 games (102 at-bats), but promptly got injured in the same game. The A’s absolutely need Cespedes to be a driving force in any deep playoff run, and things were looking great until he left the game Wednesday night with a thumb injury of uncertain seriousness. Cespedes is just now getting his stroke where he wants it, and another health setback could derail him from being the difference-maker he needs to be when it matters most, down the stretch and in the postseason.
It’s OK to worry about the A’s starting staff being to maintain its brilliance to this point (Jim Johnson excepted). Can Sonny Gray and Jesse Chavez handle a heavy innings load down the stretch, or will Oakland have to scale them back. And really, Scott Kazmir probably should be added to that list since he hasn’t pitched more than 200 innings since 2007.
Carl Steward here. Tuesday night’s game ran way late, so my final game story didn’t make the actual print newspaper. Here’s the final version, plus the expanded notes from the early version.
OAKLAND – As good as the A’s have been, gaining ground on the Los Angeles Angels has proved to be quite problematic for them for nearly two weeks now.
Oakland hasn’t picked up a full game on the Angels since July 8, when they upped their American League West lead to 4 ½ games after a win over the Giants. Since then, L.A. has been hovering at 1 ½ games behind before a loss on the A’s off day Monday made it a two-game deficit.
The A’s had a great opportunity to make it three Tuesday night after the Angels suffered a 4-2 home loss to Baltimore, but Houston’s L.J. Hoes spoiled the chance to widen the gap. Hoes’ 12th inning first-pitch solo homer off Fernando Abad gave the Astros a rare 3-2 win at the Coliseum before 22,908.
It was a missed chance for Oakland, but the A’s will have more opportunities coming on the horizon. The opening game against the Astros marked a stretch where Oakland plays 20 straight games against teams with sub-.500 records while the Angels must contend with the Orioles, the Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the rejuvenated Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox over the same stretch.
That said, the Astros clearly aren’t a team that’s just going to roll over anymore for the A’s, who were 25-7 against Houston all-time before this defeat.
The A’s have been looking to trade former closer Jim Johnson, now the man at the end of the A’s bullpen.
There are 11 days before the trade deadline, and one of the top jobs for the A’s brass is to find a new home for reliever Jim Johnson.
Actually, it’s been something the A’s have wanted to do for a while now, but the A’s don’t want to eat the remainder of Johnson’s $10 million contract and Johnson has done little to entice other teams to go after him.
“They would prefer to move him before the trade deadline,’’ a source said of the A’s. “They’ve been trying. So far, nothing’s happening.’’
Johnson came to the A’s after back-to-back 50-save seasons with the Orioles, but instead of being the closer to replace Grant Balfour, he hasn’t been able to get any level of his former consistency.
Josh Donaldson gave A’s fans (human and canine) a reason to go home happy Friday night. (Staff photo/Jose Carlos Fajardo)
Not much in the way of pregame news today from A’s manager Bob Melvin. Josh Reddick, who homered for the Stockton Ports last night, will play twice more with them and they’ll discuss the next move after Sunday’s game. Coco Crisp, bothered by a neck injury, will D.H. tonight. The neck figures to bother him for a little while. There’s still no timetable for Kyle Blanks, who has been able to do some running on the field.
Melvin did speak again about how much he enjoys his team putting on a show when the A’s do have a big crowd on hand. Last night, 27,232 were in the house and were rewarded with Josh Donaldson’s walk-off home run. With it being Bark at the Park night and dogs on hand, Melvin hopes to have snagged a few future customers.