Athletics

Angels snap A's 12-game road win streak

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Angels snap A's 12-game road win streak

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ANAHEIM -- Sometimes being greedy isn't a bad thing. The A's would have loved to cap their seven-game road trip with a sweep of the Angels, they'll have to settle for a still solid 6-1 excursion through the lower parts of the American League West. They couldn't break out the brooms for a second time in a row, but they still cleaned up nicely. The biggest loss for the A's might not be in the standings. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes sprained his right wrist sliding into second base in the fourth inning. He is being listed as day-to-day and after the game A's manager Bob Melvin said his injury isn't serious. Having won an Oakland-era-trying 12 games in a row on the road, their streak was snapped by Angels ace and Cy Young contender Jered Weaver. The Angels' 6-0 defeat of Oakland made Weaver 3-0 in four starts against the A's this season. He only allowed one earned run in 30 13 innings against Oakland. "When he's got everything working it's tough to think along with him," Melvin said. "It's tough to eliminate pitches and sit on a certain pitch because he mixes it up so well."Weaver tossed seven innings of two-hit shutout baseball and struck out nine A's batters. He traded zeros with Brett Anderson, who matched him through the first six innings but faltered in the seventh frame, allowing five runs. "Overall the line score doesn't look very good but I was happy with the way I battled and kept us in the ball game," Anderson said. "But Jered Weaver is Jered Weaver, especially at home here in day games."Anderson allowed a leadoff homer to Torii Hunter in the seventh inning. He retired the next batter but then gave up three consecutive hits making it 3-0 Angels. Melvin visited the mound and Anderson insisted he wanted to stay in the game. He responded by striking out Chris Iannetta but walked Mike Trout to load the bases and was removed from the game. "It's pretty hot out there and it starts to get to you," Melvin said. "A lot of times when you hit that wall it comes pretty quickly, but I thought his stuff was as good as it was any time out and he is continuing to pitch at a very high level."After Anderson left the game reliever Jesse Chavez made his A's debut and allowed all three of his inherited runners to score on two singles, a walk, and a passed ball. "You never want to have one rough inning," Anderson said. "I like the way I've pitched. One bad inning today but you never want to have a reliever come in the game in the situation Chavez did, but he battled and things didn't fall our way today."The Angels sent 11 runners to the plate in their six-run seventh inning. Anderson was saddled with his first loss since returning from Tommy John surgery. He is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his five starts since being forced to take 14 months off to rehab.
The A's won the season series with the Angels 10-9 and don't have to face the Halos or Weaver again unless they meet in the postseason."Outside of the lineup they have here it's a pretty hostile environment," Jonny Gomes said. "They've got that damn rally monkey jumping around in the seventh inning on. Three out of four here, six out of seven on the road trip seems to be a good thing." The A's were shut out for a Major League-leading 16th time on Thursday. They didn't seem all that concerned about it after the game. "We set ourselves up nice," Anderson said. "We have a big home series against Baltimore and a tough road trip and I like the way we are playing."The traveling A's show continues with a quick stop for three days in Oakland before heading out to Detroit, New York, and Texas.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

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AP

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

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Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

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AP

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.