Jesse Chavez has got to be in the mid-season running for the A’s unsung hero.
A journeyman pitcher six weeks shy of his 30th birthday, Chavez stepped in Sunday and pitched four shutout innings to cut off Kansas City’s attempt at a comeback, in the process earning his first big league save.
He took over with one run in, two men on base and the A’s up 8-3. He gave up a run charged to Jerry Blevins, but only because first base umpire Eric Cooper missed a call at first base. Chavez came off the mound quickly enough to take a feed from first baseman Brandon Moss, but he didn’t get the call and a run scored.
Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins and Sean Doolittle know their video games.
Friday they found out that Nick LeGrande does, too.
LeGrande, a 14-year-old from suburban Kansas City who has a rare blood disorder that keeps him from spending much time in crowd and who is waiting for a bone marrow donor for a match, plays a pretty good game, too.
During the visit Friday, Cook and LeGrande played NHL Hockey, and not just a scrimmage, either. They went at it in LeGrande’s room with Blevins and Doolittle watching, and Cook scored a late goal to force overtime.
There was no celebratory pie in the face for Dan Otero.
And he can live with that.
“The one who deserves that is Dino,’’ Otero said after Derek Norris’s three-run eighth-inning homer gave Otero his first big league win. “I’m just happy to contribute to the win.’’
With Sunday’s game in Seattle, the A’s stretch of playing 30 games in 31 days comes to an end.
And probably not a moment too soon, because the A’s are starting to show some fatigue, particularly in the last week.
Are the four losses in the first six games of this road trip an indication of fatigue? It’s not out of the question. Oakland started this streak with 16 wins in the first 20 games, then lost two of three at home to the Mariners, followed by dropping three of four to the Rangers in Texas before splitting the first two games of the series in Seattle.
Half a continent away, the A’s woke up Tuesday to the news of the City of San Jose filing an anti-trust lawsuit against Major League Baseball over the Bay Area baseball stadium situation.
Many of them were interested, a few of them even intrigued. But none of the players interviewed thought it would have any impact on the A’s as currently constituted.
“I think it would be better for us and for MLB if we had a new place to play,’’ first baseman Brandon Moss said. “That’s regardless where it is. But we don’t want it for us. We won’t see it.
Dan Straily didn’t get the win Saturday, but not because he didn’t deserve to.
The second-year right-hander limited the White sox to five singles and double in six innings, didn’t walk anyone, struck out eight and left a 3-1 lead to the A’s bullpen.
Sean Doolittle wound up letting Chicago back in the game, so when the A’s did go on to score a 4-3 win, the victory went to Jerry Blevins, who got the final out of the top of the 10th innings.
Josh Donaldson went diving over the tarp in foul territory behind third base in what turned out to be a futile pursuit of a ninth inning foul ball that, if caught, would have ended Sunday’s game.
The batter, Mike Moustakas, grounded out to end it a few moments later, but Donaldson said he had no regrets about throwing his body out in pursuit of the foul pop fly.
“It was the last out,’’ he said. “Of course I’m going to go for it there.’’
If you were anywhere near the Coliseum Saturday night, chances are good you spent the post-game of the A’s 2-1 win over Kansas City watching the fireworks show.
If you were Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss, you were one of the few that did not.
Instead Moss and his almost 5-year-old son Jayden marched up the steps behind the A’s clubhouse to the batting cages. While everybody was settling into and evening of the pyrotechnic art, father was throwing a little batting practice to son.
Dan Straily stood up, looked at the questioner and asked, “did I pitch in this game?’’
That’s the kind of night it was for the A’s. Straily, called up from Triple-A because Brett Anderson’s sprained right ankle was keeping him from pitching, started and went the first 4.2 innings of a 19-inning game that lasted a club-record six hours, 32 minutes.
“I feel like I watched the entire game on TV,’’ Straily said. “It was a great one to watch.’’
A’s reliever Jerry Blevins was impressed that veteran NBA center Jason Collins came out as gay Monday.
So much so that he tweeted this:
@JerryBlevins_13: Good for you, Jason Collins. #strength #courage #pride
Later, Blevins expanded on his tweet.