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Error-per-game defense has become almost unwatchable

Brett Lawrie's fourth-inning error led to second of Angels' runs Friday.

Brett Lawrie’s fourth-inning error led to second of Angels’ runs Friday.

To watch the A’s play defense this year is a study in the macabre.

With Friday’s four errors in a 12-7 loss to the Angels, Oakland has made 69 errors in 70 games and is on a pace for 160 errors this season.

It wouldn’t be a club record – from 1977-79, three of the worst clubs in Oakland history averaged 182 errors – and the 1982 team, the last of the Billy Martin “BillyBall’’ teams, committed 160 on the nose.

Still it’s been three decades since the A’s made that many, and this team, the numbers notwithstanding, should be better defensively than it is.

Brett Lawrie’s inability to grab a hard grounder hit to third base by Albert Pujols in the fourth inning led to a run.

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Familiarity with Sonny Gray breeds Angels’ respect

Sonny Gray has been as tough on the Angels as anyone in baseball.

Sonny Gray has been as tough on the Angels as anyone in baseball.

Friday night was the A’s 70th game of the year and the 15th start of the season for Sonny Gray.

It was the fourth of those 15 in which Gray had been matched against the Angels, and while that may just be a schedule fluke for most, it’s a major impediment to the Angels, who are 0-3 against Gray, scoring just four runs (three earned) in 22.2 innings.

Angels’ slugger Mike Trout is an MVP candidate year-in and year-out, but against Gray he’s been amazingly ordinary, just four hits in 22 at-bats (.182) coming into Friday. Seeing lots of Gray he hopes will at some point show some benefit.

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Manfred says A’s stadium important, but still seems stalled; San Jose seems stuck on legal back burner

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the current Coliseum and Arena site would be the best spot for a new baseball-only stadium for the A's.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the current Coliseum and Arena site would be the best spot for a new baseball-only stadium for the A’s.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the best possible solution for the A’s ongoing quest for a new home would be to build a new baseball-only stadium at the site of the current Coliseum and Arena facility.

At the same time, Manfred all but ruled out the A’s staying in Oakland at the current site if the Raiders were to go ahead and attempt to build a stadium at the facility off I-880 between Hegenberger Road and 66th Ave.

And any A’s move to San Jose is on permanent hiatus until the lawsuit between San Jose and MLB over the A’s inability to relocate is settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Reddick, Burns survive collision in right-center

Billy Burns (left) and Josh Reddick collide in pursuit of a Melvin Upton Jr. fly ball in right-center Thursday.  Upton got a triple, and both A's outfielder remained in the game.

Billy Burns (left) and Josh Reddick collide in pursuit of a Melvin Upton Jr. fly ball in right-center Thursday. Upton got a triple, and both A’s outfielder remained in the game.

Most pictures may be worth a thousand words, but a shot of the collision of Josh Reddick and Billy Burns at the right field wall could be boiled down to just six: “Man, that has got to hurt.’’

And it did, although not nearly as much as the A’s first feared. Assistant trainer Walt Horn ran out with manager Bob Melvin to check Reddick out, but left him in once he’d shaken off the worst of it.

Reddick was hit in the head by Burns’ left elbow and in the groin by Burn’s knee. Burns said he had the wind knocked out of him after the collision, which came while both men were in pursuit of a ball hit to the wall by Melvin (formerly B.J.) Upton Jr.

“It wasn’t as bad as everybody anticipated,’’ Reddick said. “It was just a knee to the wrong section of the body. No doubt that I was going to stay in. I just needed some time.’’

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Warriors make the logistics Friday work better for us all

It would have been a crush Friday at the Coliseum and Arena if the Warriors and A's both wound up playing. Now the Warriors will have an NBA championship parade instead.

It would have been a crush Friday at the Coliseum and Arena if the Warriors and A’s both wound up playing. Now the Warriors will have an NBA championship parade instead.

As the Warriors have their championship parade Friday in Oakland, we’re left to think what might have been had not Golden State closed out their NBA title run in Cleveland Tuesday.

Game 7 would have been set for Friday at 6 p.m. in the Arena. The A’s were set for a 6:35 p.m. start across the way in the Coliseum against the Angels, and as it is the A’s second fireworks night of the season, that wasn’t going to be changed.

So the transit situation had every chance to be a logistical nightmare, particularly with national television trucks due to eat into some of the park on the south side of the Coliseum and Arena complex.

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Sogard denies his mentor his first win as an MLB manager

Eric Sogard has been on a nice run for the A's, and had the ninth-inning game-winning hit for Oakland Tuesday.

Eric Sogard has been on a nice run for the A’s, and had the ninth-inning game-winning hit for Oakland Tuesday.

There is a long, deep friendship that exists between Pat Murphy and Eric Sogard.

So Sogard getting the game-winning hit for the A’s to deny Murphy a chance for a win in his first day as the new San Diego Padres manager is just another piece of shared history. Sogard singled up the middle to score Billy Burns from second base in the ninth inning after the Padres had rallied from 5-3 down to tie the game.

Sogard, while delighted to see the Padres tab Murphy, the longtime Arizona State coach, as their new manager, wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Scouting report on Reddick may not be quite up to date

Josh Reddick believes he might have a bit of an advantage when the A’s play National League teams, which Oakland did for the first time Monday night in San Diego.

    Reddick has made it a point to drive the ball up the middle this year. He was a dead pull hitter in 2012 when he first came to the A’s and hit 32 homers. And his natural swing is that of a pull hitter.

    So teams tend to put a pull hitter’s shift on him, including the Padres, So when he drove in the game’s first run Monday, it was a single to left fielder, catching the defense completely off guard.

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Vogt needs a day off after his night as human pinball

Stephen Vogt will get Tuesday off after getting beat up some in Monday's 9-1 win over the Padres.

Stephen Vogt will get Tuesday off after getting beat up some in Monday’s 9-1 win over the Padres.

No one knows better than Bob Melvin how important Stephen Vogt has become to the A’s this year.
So the A’s manager didn’t come lightly to the idea that Vogt will get Tuesday’s start against the Padres off. All the more so because after a terrible first two weeks of June, Vogt reemerged with a three-hit, five-RBI game in Monday’s 9-1 win over San Diego that got Vogt back in the middle of the Oakland offense.
But what’s Melvin to do with a man who’s become a virtual pinball machine? He got a foul tip off the side of his mask, his jaw and his shoulder.
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Norris doesn’t recognize too many faces on current A’s roster

Derek Norris figures his trade to San Diego has worked out well for both the A's and the Padres.

Derek Norris figures his trade to San Diego has worked out well for both the A’s and the Padres.

The last time the A’s saw Derek Norris, he was putting his beaten up body behind the plate after Geovany Soto was injured in the American League Wild Card game against Kansas City last Sept. 30.

Norris had no real business being behind the plate, but John Jaso was on the disabled list, Stephen Vogt was playing on one foot and Soto, the man being used as a bridge to get the A’s through to the AL playoffs proper, injured his thumb in the third inning.

He was the last strong-armed catcher the A’s had left and Norris, plagued by back spasms and shoulder issue saw the Royals run on him, taking advantage of his infirmity.

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A bit of a crazy day for Sogard on his return to A’s lineup

Eric Sogard had a big return to the A's lineup with two hits, 3 RBI and an odd bunt.

Eric Sogard had a big return to the A’s lineup with two hits, 3 RBI and an odd bunt.

Eric Sogard’s return to the lineup Sunday was not without its abnormal moments.

The A’s second baseman, one of the best bunters on the team, dropped down a bad bunt in the second inning, but some shoddy defensive work produced a run after Ben Zobrist, who started the play at second base, hurdled the prone catcher Chris Iannetta to make it to the plate.

Sogard would later become integral in adding to the A’s lead in what would be an 8-1 win over the Angels. He singled home a run in the three-run sixth, then doubled home two runs in the seventh.

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