For a guy who hit the game-winning home run and averted the anguish of a ruined Jesse Hahn pitching performance, Billy Butler didn’t sound like a very happy man following Sunday’s 3-2 A’s victory over Tampa Bay.
Butler is laboring through his worst major-league season by far. He’s been so unproductive –- two home runs and 22 RBIs as he entered Game No. 99 — the A’s have ignored the fact he is their third highest-paid player and made him a part-time employee who is only generally in the lineup against left-handed pitching.
The veteran designated hitter thinks that’s wrong, and hitting an eighth-inning center field blast off right-handed reliever, Erasmo Ramirez, to preserve Oakland’s seventh win in 10 games since the All-Star break finally gave him the platform to say so.
It hasn’t been much more pulsating for the A’s all year than it was Saturday night at the Coliseum. Maybe it wasn’t just a thrilling aberration, either.
All within about 10 minutes, Kendall Graveman finished off the A’s first complete game of the year, Jake Smolinski smacked a tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and rookie Ryon Healy followed with a game-winning solo blast to give Oakland a 4-3 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Best of all, a crowd of 30,436 was on hand to see the A’s third walk-off win this week, and their sixth win in nine games since the All-Star break. Most of the fans came to see a post-game fireworks show, but the pyrotechnics started early thanks to a couple of players who could be major figures in Oakland’s long-range future.
“Two really loud sounds by a couple of young players who are getting a chance to play every day,” said manager Bob Melvin. “It’s exciting to watch.”
With lefty Dillon Overton having been sent down, A’s will need someone else to start Sunday vs. Rays.
The A’s sent down Tuesday’s starter, Dillon Overton, to get infielder Arismendy Alcantara back, and immediately gave him Wednesday’s start at second base.
The A’s needed the depth in the infield with Tyler Ladendorf having been sent down Tuesday, but the move complicates the A’s rotation near-term.
Oakland will need to fill Overton’s slot on Sunday against Tampa Bay, and the only thing they A’s are sure of is that Rich Hill, the man Overton was subbing for, won’t be ready to pitch come Sunday.
“I don’t see that happening at this point,’’ manager Bob Melvin said of getting Hill back for the Rays. “We’ll have to do something different.’’
The A’s officially recalled pitcher Dillon Overton on Tuesday, making the move as he prepares to start against the Houston Astros.
But they also did some other roster shifting, recalling left-handed reliever Daniel Coulombe. To make room, Andrew Triggs was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shin contusion and infielder Tyler Ladendorf was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Continue Reading
Josh Donaldson hasn’t stopped hitting since moving to the Blue Jays, and he’s a part-time actor, too.
Josh Donaldson felt almost at home in the Coliseum before Friday’s A’s-Blue Jays game.
Sitting on the couch of equipment manager Steve Vucinich, the third baseman caught up with members of the organization with which he rose to national prominence in 2012-14.
So here we are at the All-Star Break.
We’ve all grown up taking the All-Star break as a given, just another part of the baseball landscape, a Tuesday game with off-days before and after that creates a before-and-after to the baseball season.
It turns out that it wasn’t a given.
The decaying Coliseum added another dubious chapter to its legacy Saturday night, costing Josh Reddick an RBI triple, Rich Hill a possible win in his mound return and the A’s very likely a victory.
With a crowd of 26,846 in the house awaiting a postgame pyrotechnics show, Oakland was burned by its own ballpark –a hole at the base of the right field wall in fair territory that short-circuited an A’s rally and ultimately led to a 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates victory in 10 innings.
With two outs in the fifth inning and Jed Lowrie on first base for the A’s, Reddick hammered a ball over the head off Pittsburgh right fielder Sean Rodriguez for what appeared would give the A’s the go-ahead run with the score tied 2-2. Lowrie steamed all the way around the bases to score, while Reddick scampered into third.
When Reddick turned around to look into right field, however, Rodriguez was holding both hands up – the ball had lodged in a small opening at the base of the fence and Reddick had somehow found the hole on the fly.
With Josh Reddick off the disabled list and back in his familiar third spot in the batting order Tuesday night, the A’s fielded their optimum offensive lineup for the first time in more than a month.
Even though Reddick didn’t have much to do with it, Oakland once again looked like a team that has rediscovered some serious potential at the bat rack. Even though the A’s saw their bullpen spring a leak for the second time in three days, the A’s rallied from a pair of three-run deficits for a wild 13-11 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park.
Jake Smolinski’s three-run pinch-hit home run off veteran Giants reliever Javier Lopez in the eighth inning was the most dramatic blow that ultimately gave Oakland its fifth victory in six games, and a two-game mini-sweep at a park where they’d lost 13 of 16 coming into this year’s Bay Bridge clash. Now it’s over to the Coliseum for two more to see if they can inflict even more damage to the reeling Giants.
Daniel Mengden has done nothing but impress since he brought his wacky windup, high socks and handlebar mustache to Oakland, and the A’s finally rewarded him for all of his fine work on Monday night.
After scoring just four runs for him combined in his first three major-league starts – all losses Mengden didn’t really deserve — the A’s hammered the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija for five runs in the second inning, continued to add on in later frames and rolled to an 8-3 victory at AT&T Park.
Marcus Semien’s towering three-run homer to center field was the big blow in Oakland’s early outburst as the A’s continued to gather steam following an impressive four-game series in Anaheim, where they won three of four from the Los Angeles Angels and were a bullpen blowup from completing a sweep.
Daniel Mengden has made three good starts for the A’s, but only has three losses to show for it.
OAKLAND _ The margin for error is slim enough for a rookie pitcher, but it’s microscopic so far for A’s right-hander Daniel Mengden. Continue Reading