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Foul or not, A’s now have game plan to attack Scherzer

John Jaso worked Tigers starter Max Scherzer for 22 of the 107 pitches he threw.

John Jaso worked Tigers starter Max Scherzer for 22 of the 107 pitches he threw.

 

The A’s didn’t beat Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer Tuesday night.

They didn’t beat anybody.

What they may have done, however, is put together a blueprint for how to beat Scherzer in a big game should one appear down the line.

And since the Tigers and the A’s have met in the post-season the last two years, what are the odds?

The A’s fouled off pitch after pitch, and took pitches that weren’t in the strike zone. Catcher John Jaso looked at 20 pitches all by himself in just his first two at-bats.

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A’s ignore clubhouse note and club Tigers 10-0

On Monday, the following was written on the white board next to where the A’s lineup is posted daily in their clubhouse.

Slow torture vs. Instant kill

Slow torture is a team approach.

Instant kill is an individual approach.

Home runs end rallies, not start them.

Keep pitchers in the stretch and trust your teammates.

Pass the torch if necessary….

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Crisp proud of way A’s rally whenever someone’s missing

Coco Crisp is a fan of the way A's step up when injury keeps someone out of the lineup.

Coco Crisp is a fan of the way A’s step up when injury keeps someone out of the lineup.

Coco Crisp was back in the lineup in center field for the A’s Friday, and it was as if he’d never been away.

He played, he contributed and Oakland won, 11-1.

Crisp struck out in his first at-bat, but he walked his second and third times up, and his speed running to first force a throwing error on the Cleveland defense his fourth time to the plate. He scored once and the A’s won for the seventh time in eight games.

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Cespedes’ opposite field homer on cold night impresses A’s

Yoenis Cespedes's opposite field power was on display again Friday.

Yoenis Cespedes’s opposite field power was on display again Friday.

Friday was probably not the night to try and hit home runs at the O.co Coliseum.

The A’s tried anyway. That’s what they do. And they succeeded three times.

And on a night when the wind was blowing and the cool air inhibited the free travel of spheroids, Oakland came away with three homers, enough to account for half the team’s offense in an 8-0 win over Washington.

John Jaso struck first with a solo shot in the second inning. Brandon Moss hit a two-run bomb off Doug Fister on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning. Yoenis Cespedes hit Fister’s next pitch out, giving the A’s back-to-back homers for the first time this year.

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A’s run differential is a breed apart in the American League

Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson at heart of A's run-producing machine.

Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson at heart of A’s run-producing machine.

After watching the A’s play four games against the Mariners early in the week, you might be stumped trying to come up with words of praise for the A’s hitters.

Oakland scored just 11 runs in four games, losing three of them. The pitching could have been better, too, the bullpen in particular, but it was easy to look at an offense that had trouble scoring runs.

The A’s did more damage against long-time nemesis Felix Hernandez (four runs) than against anyone else the Mariners put out there.

It wasn’t a great showing, but it’s best to have some perspective with such things. Teams don’t live in a bubble. The offense doesn’t exist in solitude. The case can easily be made that the A’s 8-0 win over a tough Washington Nationals team Friday smooths some of the rough spots out of the performance against Seattle.

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Cespedes, Reddick out of lineup as A’s return home

cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes has a pair of RBIs in the A’s 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday, but a hamstring injury will keep him from starting Monday’s game. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick are both out of the lineup as the A’s return home to face the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

Reddick sprained his left ankle trying to get out of the batters box when he hit into an inning-ending double play in the ninth inning of the A’s 3-2 win in 10 innings against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Monday’s game that Reddick won’t be available for “a day or two. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

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Donaldson goes against the grain with head-first slide

Josh Donaldson went against the grain with head-first slide Sunday in Boston

Josh Donaldson went against the grain with head-first slide Sunday in Boston

 

When Josh Donaldson scored the second of Oakland’s three runs Sunday, he did it with a sixth inning head-first slide at home plate.

You know those car commercials where they say “don’t try this at home?’’ The head-first slide at the plate is baseball’s version of that.

Donaldson had already been thrown out on a feet-first slide at the plate three innings earlier, and he wasn’t about to take any chances. Yoenis Cespedes had doubled off the wall in left-center, and the A’s, locked in a 1-all tie, badly needed the run.

“It’s the play they tell you never to make, sliding head-first like that,’’ Donaldson said. “But I was thinking about the first play.’’

The first play, in the third inning, was gnawing at Donaldson even after the A’s 10-inning 3-2 win.

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Will outfielders try to beat the system on dropped balls?

With all the calls being overturned with balls being accidentally dropped in the transfer from glove to hand in Major League Baseball these days, A’s center fielder Coco Crisp was asked Monday how long before someone drops the ball during the transfer on purpose?

After all, runs have to hold and retreat to their bases once they see the ball being caught. But with umpires consistently ruling “no catch’’ even after players have taken three or four strides following the catch, how long before someone opts to make a catch and then drop the ball on purpose to maybe force a very fast runner to get a double play?

Crisp wouldn’t advise it.

“I wouldn’t do it,’’ he said. “You’ve got to make the catch, make the play.’’

The same question was put to Oakland first base coach Tye Waller.

“I know it’s been talked about,’’ Waller said. “So far, nothing I’ve seen has been like that. I think everybody wants to get the outs they can get.’’

As part of their start-of-series scouting meeting before the game Monday, the A’s spent extra time talking about how they want to handle fly balls to the outfield that are no longer as routine as they once were.

“We need to have guys peaking over their shoulders,’’ Melvin said.

Waller said that he’s told his base runners he’d divide the responsibility with them.

“I told them, `I’ll watch the ball,’’ he said. “They have to run heads up.’’

Waller took his eye off the ball over the weekend in Seattle when Yoenis Cespedes lined out to Dustin Ackley. Ackley dropped the ball making the transfer, and neither coach nor base runner realized it. So Waller is going to be watching the ball until the transfer is successfully made, which will put more responsibility on the runners.

“A play like that can never happen again,’’ he said. “You can’t undo what’s been done. But you can make sure it never happens again. It’s an adjustment process for all of us.’’Will