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Hammel’s best game isn’t enough without support from A’s

Jason Hammel had his best start yet with the A's Tuesday, but wound up without enough support.

Jason Hammel had his best start yet with the A’s Tuesday, but wound up without enough support.

There’s no doubt Jason Hammel hasn’t done as much for the A’s he, or they, would have hoped.

The other side of the coin is that the A’s haven’t done all that much for Hammel, either, including Tuesday when they scored two runs in a 4-2 loss, Hammel allowing just one run in seven innings.

It was the eighth start for the right-hander, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 4, and in those eight games the A’s have scored 17 runs. That’s barely two runs per game.

If the A’s were somewhere closer to their season average of 4.8 runs per game when he pitches, Hammel’s record might look a little better that 1-5.

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A’s have traded youth for experience in pursuit of pennant

Alberto Callaspo no longer the old man on A's roster. (He's even changed his number and wears 7 now.)

Alberto Callaspo no longer the old man on A’s roster. (He’s even changed his number and wears 7 now.)

The idea that the A’s are a young, generally unknown team has lost some of its credence.

Starting with the trade of Addison Russell and Billy McKinney to the Cubs for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the A’s have added older, more accomplished players and they don’t strut that young vibe as much anymore.

At the start of the season, 30-year-old infielder Alberto Callaspo was the oldest man on the team (he’s 31 now). Now he’s fourth, with 33-year-old outfielder Jonny Gomes leading the pack.

The A’s haven’t traded for a bunch of codgers – Jon Lester is 30, Samardzija is 29 and Hammel is 31, a week away from turning 32. But they aren’t kids any more.

As manager Bob Melvin said before Tuesday’s game, “we’ve quickly gone from a young team to a veteran team.’’

Change has been the order of the day with the A’s. Six of the 10 starters Melvin fielded for Tuesday’s game with the Astros weren’t on the roster to start the season.

More than that, 11 of the 25 men on the roster weren’t around and active in April. Three of the current five-man starting rotation – Lester, Samardzija and Hammel – came from other organizations.

And maybe that has something to do with the A’s uneven play in August. This is a group just getting to know each other.

The popular belief is that anybody can fit in in the Oakland clubhouse, and while that’s generally true, it’s unlikely everybody can do it overnight.

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Reddick gets straight A’s for walk that started it all in ninth

Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer Monday, but his ninth-inning walk had equal importance.

Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer Monday, but his ninth-inning walk had equal importance.

August hasn’t been terribly kind to the A’s, so when Chris Carter hit a two-run, two-out homer on an 0-2 pitch, an A’s fan could be forgiven for thinking, “here we go again.’’

Then Josh Reddick stepped up against Tony Sipp, the Astros lefty reliever who was brought it because Reddick and the man following him in the Oakland batting order, Eric Sogard, are both left-handed.

Reddick isn’t much for walks, but he worked Sipp for one on a 3-2 pitch. And just like that, the Astros’ momentum was blunted. Sipp is a decent reliever, but all of a sudden he could not find the strike zone. He walked Sogard. And Andy Parrino. And Coco Crisp, driving in a run.

Later in the inning Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris would each drive in two runs. And it all came back to that walk.

Small things can get ignored, but this walk that helped get the A’s to 11-12 this month shouldn’t be one of them.

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As Coco goes, so go the A’s, or so it seems

Coco Crisp helped get the A's back on track Friday with a homer and a double to do in the Angels.

Coco Crisp helped get the A’s back on track Friday with a homer and a double to do in the Angels.

It had been a sad stretch for the A’s in the first 19 games of August, winning just eight of them.

So when the Angels opened up Friday with Mike Trout hitting a homer off Sonny Gray, it had a chance to be more of the same.

That it wasn’t was thanks to Coco Crisp. The A’s center fielder, who earlier in the week was finding a way out of a 5-for-43 skid, homered off the Angels’ Hector Santiago and suddenly things were sweetness and light.

Or as manager Bob Melvin put it, “when Coco hit that home run it was like, `all right, we’re fine.’ ’’

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Moss fights power skid with surge of run-generating walks

Brandon Moss is walking more of late as he waits for his power slump to end.

Brandon Moss is walking more of late as he waits for his power slump to end.

Brandon Moss walked twice on Wednesday.

He walked once on Sunday in Atlanta and three times on Saturday against the Braves.

Meanwhile, he hasn’t had any hits over that stretch, going 0-for-12 since a single in the eighth inning last Thursday in Kansas City.

The slump isn’t a good thing. Neither are his 21 games without a homer, his worst stretch as a member of the A’s. In that period he has just five RBIs.

“I know I’m in a pretty good home run drought,’’ Moss said, then looking at his two doubles over the same period, he added, “really, it’s an extra-base hit drought.

“I feel like it’s one of those stretches where I go and look at video and I have nothing other to look at than pitch locations. Pitchers miss their spots very often, and when they do, it’s in a count where I’m trying to battle, or they miss to the complete opposite side where I’m looking. They’ll throw away when I’m looking down and in.

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Crisp says timing of A’s slump coincidental to Cespedes deal

Coco Crisp says the trade deadline deal of Yoenis Cespedes to Boston should  work out in the end.

Coco Crisp says the trade deadline deal of Yoenis Cespedes to Boston should work out in the end.

A’s center fielder Coco Crisp doesn’t much care for the idea that the trade deadline deal that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox was a bad one for the A’s.

Crisp likes the additions of Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, even if the A’s are 7-10 since the trade went down taking the slugging Cespedes to Boston, including a 1-6 road trip through Kansas City and Atlanta and a season-high five consecutive losses.

He said that in the first four months of the season the A’s never had to face much in the way of a slump. Now, they are facing a major test. Oakland has scored three runs or less in 13 of 17 games this month, and even with the A’s good pitching, it’s hard to generate many wins like that.

“Everybody goes through ups and downs,’’ Crisp said while packing for the trip home after the A’s 4-3 loss Sunday night to the Braves in Atlanta. “This is our first.

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Abad nothing but good coming out of A’s bullpen

A's lefty Fernando Abad has been perfect this year when it comes to stranding inherited base runners.

A’s lefty Fernando Abad has been perfect this year when it comes to stranding inherited base runners.

When the A’s got Fernando Abad from the Nationals last year at the cost of minor league infielder John Wooten, it wasn’t an eyebrow-raising deal.

The results have been startling, however, and only in a good way for the A’s. Abad came into Sunday night with a 1.69 ERA, an opponents’ batting average of .167 and a 2-4 record.

More significantly, he has been a force coming out of the bullpen. He’s entered games with 23 men on base, and he hasn’t allowed any of them to score.

“He’s been incredible, and incredibly consistent for us all year,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “The numbers speak exactly what he’s meant to us and what he’s done for us: the ERA, the inherited runners, to be able to strike a lefty out with guys on base.

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A’s not ready to panic; fans not so sure

Manager Bob Melvin has 39 games to get the A's into the American League playoffs.

Manager Bob Melvin has 39 games to get the A’s into the American League playoffs.

For three days in June, the A’s held a six-game lead in the American League West.

That was then. Now things are much different, a virtual tie in the West with six weeks left in the season.

Time to panic?

Not in the A’s clubhouse. Oakland has 39 games left (the Angels, who are .002 percentage points up on the A’s, have 41), a mostly favorable schedule and the belief that they can play better.

But to watch my twitter feed, it’s not a case of the world coming to an end. The end has come and gone.

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A’s experiencing some of the problems of success

There are problems with success, as the A’s are discovering.

Win consistently, and the expectation is that you will continue to do so.

Best the best and playing at less than your best level raises eyebrows.

And in the big leagues, have the best record and you’ve got virtually no chance of claiming a player on waivers.

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A’s: Visit with Braves underscores Oakland stadium issues

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex

With the selection of Rob Manfred as Major League Baseball’s next commissioner, the plight of the A’s and the prolonged saga of their search for a new stadium is once again the subject of review.

And it comes into the sharp focus with Oakland’s three-game series in Turner Field this weekend.

Turner Field is the Braves’ second home in the last two decades, having moved into the facility originally built for the 1996 Olympic Games in 1997 after three decades in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

And in three years, the Braves will move into an as-yet unnamed new park in the northwest suburbs of Cobb County, a private/public partnership. The new park will cost $622 million, of which the Braves will be fronting 230 million.

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