Stephen
Washburn

Series Seven: Red Sox

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As VS Red Sox

The opponent: The Red Sox

The Results:

  1. A’s: 3 vs Red Sox: 7
  2. A’s: 3 vs Red Sox: 0
  3. A’s: 4 vs Red Sox: 1

What happened?

Game 1: Disappointing - a buzzword so far… Graveman actually pitched fairly well, although after a quick and easy top of the first, and then being spotted 3 runs in the bottom, he immediately gave them back. 6 of the 7 runs landed on his ERA as well, but I put those more on Pagan for giving up the grand slame to Moreland. Hopefully this is actually a start to build on for Graveman.

Game 2: MANAEA IS THE MAN!!! NO HITTER!!! His stuff was great, he was calm and composed, nothing phased him. The no hitter is impressive but to do it against the hottest and best team/offense in all of baseball?!?! As impressive as it was, it wasn’t all THAT surprising… Manaea has been REALLY good all year so far. The offense did just enough against Chris Sale, Semien was involved in all three runs including taking Sale deep. It will get lost in the shuffle, but Sale went 7 innings and had 10 strikeouts himself. In the post game interviews Manaea admitted that he didn’t realize the Semien play had been ruled an error (he assumed it was a hit) and so he didn’t know he had a no-hitter going until he noticed it on the big screen in the 8th inning… Nothing much else to say except… NO HITTER!!! oh, and a chance to win the series against the best team in baseball and get back to a .500 record.

Game 3: Daniel Mengden vs David Price = Pitcher’s duel?! Mengden was solid, 6 1/3 innings, and only giving up 1 run? He may not have gotten the win, but he put the team in a position to win, and the offense came through. They may not have scored as much as against the White Sox but they continue to hit, especially with 2 outs. From not winning any of the first 5 series to winning 2 in a row! And against the best team in baseball too!

What do we know?

Now that the offense is clicking, the starting pitching is starting to carry some of the load too. The A’s are finding themselves staying competitive late into the games and the bullpen is almost trustworthy. Most importantly its exciting and fun to watch the A’s!

Who’s Next?

The A’s head back on the road, starting with the Texas Rangers.

A's @ Rangers

Series Six: White Sox

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As VS White Sox

The opponent: The White Sox

The Results:

  1. A’s: 8 vs White Sox: 1
  2. A’s: 10 vs White Sox: 2
  3. A’s: 12 vs White Sox: 11 F/14

What happened?

Game 1: Mengden! 8 innings (plus one batter in the 9th) and only a single run on a homer in the 9th? And the offense continued to get hits, and maybe more importantly take advantage of mistakes by the White Sox. Ideally the offense would be good enough to score runs regardless of what the other team is doing, but the truth is that most teams make at least a few mistakes (whether errors or not) in every game. The team that win is usually the one that manages to take advantage of those mistakes.

Game 2: I’m biased, but this may go down for me as one of the best games of the season. It was the 50th anniversary of the first game in Oakland, so the A’s made every ticket for the game free. Yup, free. Several months ago I signed up to get free tickets, and the whole family went (both kids, 4 years and 2 years) as well as my parents and sister. We got there 3 hours before first pitch (and 30 min before gates opened) got GREAT seats, and proceeded to watch the A’s celebrate on the field as well. 5 runs in the first with 2 outs, and TREVOR CAHILL back in Oakland, back on the mound, and pitching well. The bullpen gave up another run, but at that point it was 10 - 0, so a little bit more aggressively in the zone is to be expected, and rookie Trivino got into the game and got himself into and out of trouble. Final bit of personal fun from the game - they were taking photos with a particular hashtag and putting them on the big screens before the game started, and we got three different photos up there!

Game 3: Beating almost any team three straight days in a row is tough, and this game was no exception to that rule… It was disappointing, but maybe Triggs was due for a bit of a stinker. The offense came through in covering for him though, only to have the bullpen gives the runs right back… multiple times… including in the top of the 8th to force the game to extra innings. Good character win though for the team to overcome the mistakes from the pitching staff, and the bullpen did come through in extra innings. Going from not winning a series yet this season, to sweeping is also pretty nice.

What do we know?

I’m tentatively comfortable saying that the offense is there, the defense is there, and now there’s actually light at the end of the tunnel with the starters - Manaea, Triggs, Mengden, and Cahill… if you can get 4 quality starts (or even better which all 4 of them have provided) this offense looks to be opportunistic enough to win some games, and if those 4 can go deep-er into games, the bullpen shouldn’t be as overtaxed and hopefully can handle its business too.

Who’s Next?

The A’s stay at home and welcome the Boston Red Sox into town.

A's VS Red Sox

Series Five: Mariners

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As @ Mariners

The opponent: The Mariners

The Results:

  1. A’s: 4 @ Mariners: 7
  2. A’s: 8 @ Mariners: 10
  3. A’s: 2 @ Mariners: 1

What happened?

Game 1: Frustrating… Andrew Triggs turns in another solid (if short) start - 5 innings, 2 runs - which is promptly wasted by the bullpen… hit allowed by Petit, walk by Coulombe, homer by Hatcher, and then, for good measure Hatcher gives up another hit and another homer…

Game 2: Even MORE frustrating… Graveman once again gives up a long ball for a 3 run deficit. But THEN, beyond all hope, the offense comes alive and immediately answers with 3 runs of their own. Especially gratifying because they appeared to lose a run (and get an out) on what turned into a ground rule double. It feels like every time the A’s lose a potential/likely run to a ground-rule double, they end up getting nothing, so to get a 2 out, 2 run single, and then ANOTHER 2 out, RBI hit! But of course, Graveman immediately gives up another 2 run homer. From there it just continues to be disappointing - the A’s keep finding ways to score, but they can never overcome the bullpen finding ways to give up even MORE runs…

Game 3: Yeah, Manaea is the man! He outpitched ‘King’ Felix for 7 innings, and Jed Lowrie continued to stay hot getting to Felix for a 2 run homer in the first. Treinen got the 4 out save in convincing fashion, and the A’s defense sprinkled in some impressive plays - Chapman showcasing his all-around ability by charging and throwing out the speedy Dee Gordon on another excellent bunt attempt, and Olson flashed some impressive mobility and leather to eliminate an infield hit. The offense threatened a few other times, but once again couldn’t break through.

What do we know?

The offense seems to be coming to life, although its still inconsistent - Khris Davis seems to have gotten going again with 3 homers in the series, and Jed Lowrie continues to rake. Starting pitching is still really only Manaea and Triggs, and now the wear on the bullpen seems to be showing… I believe I saw the stat that they’ve given up more home runs than any other bullpen. The defense actually continues to look impressive at multiple points each game, but not sure if its translating to wins…

Who’s Next?

The A’s are back home facing the Chicago White Sox.

A's VS White Sox

Series Four: Dodgers

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As @ Dodgers

The opponent: The Dodgers

The Results:

  1. A’s: 0 @ Dodgers: 4
  2. A’s: 16 @ Dodgers: 6

What happened?

Game 1: Back to back home runs to start the game, certainly not ideal from Manaea, but 5+ innings and not allowing anything else? A very good sign and continuation of his excellent start this season. Once again though the offense just isn’t there, are all of these pitchers the A’s are facing really THAT good (hint, I think they’re probably not…). No hit into the 5th inning AGAIN… and ultimately the first shutout of the season. While I’m annoyed at Liam Hendriks for giving up extra runs, its not like the offense was actually doing anything to inspire faith or even hope in a comeback.

Game 2: You get a hit, and you get a hit, and YOU get a hit. EVERYBODY HITS! At least for one night… and Mengden was effective, AND HE GOT AN RBI! A little bit high on the pitch count, but 5 innings is probably the best we can expect from this starting staff right now… giving up 4 runs isn’t ideal, but when the offense had already spotted you 9 runs and you have a 7 run lead… ¯\(ツ)/¯ Also Trayce Thompson steals a home run!

What do we know?

Not much changes… only a 2 game series, and interleague as well… but if they can figure out how to hit even slightly consistently (and 21 hits, 16 runs is nice but excessive) they have a chance to win some games because a few of the starting pitchers are actually looking solid (Manaea, Triggs), the bullpen is eating a LOT of innings for the others, and the defense is actually pretty good so far.

Who’s Next?

The A’s continue traveling to Seattle to play the Mariners.

A's @ Mariners

Series Three: Angels

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As @ Angels

The opponent: The Angels

The Results:

  1. A’s: 9 @ Angels: 13
  2. A’s: 7 @ Angels: 3
  3. A’s: 1 @ Angels: 6

What happened?

Game 1: So much right, then so much wrong, then so much right again, and ultimately so much wrong… Home runs for everyone, thanks Bridwell! Then Gossett comes back down to earth… But then more home runs! And then the error … live by the sword (aka Matt Chapman’s amazing arm and defense) and die by the sword… also, he’s been making so many plays period, he was bound to make a mistake (and he is still young). Treinen giving up the home run didn’t help obviously, but that goes back to the bullpen being overused (not Melvin’s fault of course, when his starters can’t consistently get to, let alone out of, the 5th, whats he supposed to do…). All in all a very disappointing game - hopefully they can hang onto the good and leave the bad, but as a fan this is one that will stick in the craw awhile.

Game 2: Another strong outing from Triggs, went a little deeper this time, and only gave up 2 runs, so thats a nice surprise! Jed Lowrie looks locked in at the plate right now, home runs in consecutive games! I thought that the A’s were using their bullpen alot, but Sciosia and the Angels are showcasing what it REALLY looks like to rely on your bullpen to an obscene level… There doesn’t appear to be any ‘hangover’ from the game last night, and Triggs made Trout look downright pedestrian, even got him to hit into a double play! Once again, the offense feels more like taking advantage of mistakes - which is very good for sure - rather than the offense imposing its will. With that said, the A’s did take a lot of walks, and score several of them late for ‘insurance’ runs… Blake Treinen with a 2 inning save!

Game 3: Ohtani was oh so close to perfection (well not really THAT close, but way closer than most, and close enough to use that terrible pun…) - 6 1/3 innings of perfect baseball. It will be interesting to see if he pitches as well against anyone else since he’s only pitched against Oakland so far. Not much to say in this one, a lot of ineffectual at-bats against Ohtani, a few chances to threaten late that came to nothing, and Graveman continues to pitch to an ~9.00 ERA… does he have any options left? Can he be sent down to AAA to figure things out, or do we have to keep forfeiting 1 out of every 5 games to him figuring things out this season…

What do we know?

Graveman is severely dragging the rotation down, but Manaea and Triggs are looking very solid, and Mengden/Gossett are still question marks to me. The bullpen is doing yeoman’s work, and the offense isn’t doing enough to cover for the spotty starting pitching.

Who’s Next?

The A’s continue traveling to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers #BeatLA.

A's @ Dodgers