With their relative surplus of pitching and relative paucity of wealth, the A’s don’t seem inclined to be in on the bidding for Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka in the coming weeks.
That doesn’t mean Oakland won’t be closely following the ins and outs of the Tanaka talk. The 25-year-old right-hander was made available for posting Thursday, and it wouldn’t be too outlandish a proposition to see him coming to rest with one of the A’s American League West competitors.
Tanaka, who was a simply unbelievable 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, stands to be the player with the most potential impact still on the open market this winter. The Yankees (yawn) are almost always the first club mentioned as coveting Tanaka, thanks to their big pockets and fragile starting rotation.
Brandon Moss homered in the first inning the last time he faced Yu Darvish, a two-run shot that led to what would become an 11-4 A’s win back on Sept. 4.
So perhaps it should have been no surprise that when Moss faced the Rangers’ ace in the first inning Saturday, he’d unload with a run-scoring double.
The difference this time was that there would be no scoring on either side, and the A’s would claim a 1-0 win that would move Oakland to 5½ games in front of Texas in the American League West. The A’s magic number to win the West — any combination of 10 A’s wins or Rangers losses would give Oakland the title.
It never occurred to Moss that his hit would produce the game’s only run.
Maybe it’s that West Coast night games don’t get much play back East.
Maybe it’s that ESPN doesn’t show enough highlights of the Oakland A’s.
Maybe it’s that other teams have a couple of great players and the A’s only have a whole bunch of good players.
Whatever the reason, the American League All-Star team announced Saturday is a slap in the face. Not just to the A’s or to the East Bay. But it’s a slap in the face to putting winning teams on the field
Chili Davis liked to play mind games when he was a player, and that hasn’t changed since he’s become a coach.
Asked what it was that his hitters have done to win four of five decisions against Texas ace Yu Darvish, Davis just smiled.
“I think we’re in his mind more than he’s in our minds,’’ Davis said.
Have the Oakland A’s gotten into the heads of the Texas Rangers?
It’s one thing that the A’s took the American League West by storm last year, winning six of the last seven games against the Rangers to win the West title by one game.
It’s another that the A’s were seven games back on May 15 this season and have stormed into a three-game lead in the division entering a four-game series that starts tonight.
And then there’s the case of Yu Darvish. He’s the Rangers’ best starting pitcher, but coming into his start Tuesday he is 1-3 with a 3.81 ERA against Oakland.
And, asked Sunday about facing the A’s, he sounded torn between being confident and being wary.
“I don’t think I have any difficulty facing them,’’ he told the Texas media. “It’s like facing a new team every time, because the condition of the team varies from each time I face them.’’
Well, yes, the A’s have made changes up and down the roster during Darvish’s time in Texas. But Oakland will mostly be healthy and have its roster intact heading into this series.
Asked about the significance of the series, Darvish wouldn’t make much of it.
“It’s only June. It’s too early in the season to be thinking about those things,’’ he said. “I don’t really have anything to say other than we’re going to have a meeting again and try and figure out how to win.’’
That sounds like something you say when the other team is in your head a little.