OAKLAND Josh Donaldson, red-hot at the plate of late, has a new lucky bat. It wasnt carved from a tree struck by lightning.Its actually one of teammate Chris Carters batting practice bats.Donaldson, a catcher converted into a third baseman, homeredfor the fourth time in his last five games in Mondays loss to the Angels. Hehas driven in eight over that span. Since he was called up from Triple-A Sacramentofor his third stint with the As on August 14, Donaldson is hitting .338 with seven doubles,five home runs and 15 RBIs in 19 games.I'musing Carters bat so that has something to do with it, Donaldsonsaid.I didn't have any bats when I first came back and picked up one ofCarter's and asked if I could use it.Donaldson said that the barrel on Carters bat is a littlebigger than hes used to. The new bat is also heavier than his normalweight at 34 ounces, but the same length at 32.5 inches.As manager Bob Melvin said that Donaldson crediting the new bat for his hothitting might be a little superstitious, but isnt questioning his hottest hitter's logic.If he thinks ithas something to do with it, then it does, Melvin said. Its such a mental game, that anylittle edge that you can get, you try to get. I hear that people aresuperstitious in this game, too, and you ride those types of things. If thatworks for you, and that type of bat works for you, then Im all for it.Melvin was joking about hearing that people are superstitious. Its no secretthat almost every baseball man, Melvin included, is sensitive to superstition.But Melvin said he never went so far as trying out a teammates bat.I shouldve tried that, Melvin said. I did T-shirts andeverything else but never tried the bat.---The As recalled right-handed reliever Jim Miller before Tuesdays game. Inthree prior stints with the big-league club, Miller went 2-1 with a 2.02 ERAand 32 strikeouts in 35.2 innings.Hes done a good job for us several times this year,Melvin said. Hes been on a little bit of a yo-yo, but hes a guy that hascontributed significantly over the course of the season.---Theres a funny sign hanging in the As clubhouse thats worth sharing. Itreads:Please limit your AAA stories to one per day per person. Sincerely, those notlucky enough to be there this year.Considering how many current As have gone through multiple stints inSacramento, that must be a tough rule to abide by.---Melvins club will face new Angel Zack Greinke, who has a5-1 record and 3.31 ERA against the As. In eight appearances, including fivestarts, at the Coliseum, he is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He allowed four runs infive innings in his only start in Oakland this season on August 8, when hewalked five batters in the second inning.Since then, Greinke has won three of his last four starts and has lasted atleast seven innings in all three wins. Melvin explained what makes Greinke so tough.One, he has plus velocity. Two, he hides the ball pretty well and then he hasa lot of pitches. That makes it a little more difficult to narrow it down andhave a plan against him.One key for the As against Greinke: Score early. The 2009 American League CyYoung Award winner has a 4.93 ERA in the first three innings this season, but a2.82 ERA from the fourth inning on.
Young Athletics fan Loren Jade Smith is among the thousands of people affected by the Northern California wildfires. Along with his family's home, the fire storm took his most valued possession -- his A's memorabilia collection.
In his disappointment, Smith wrote a letter to the A's that has since gone viral.
After the letter was shared throughout the Twitterverse, A's President Dave Kaval said the team would reach out to Jade and his family to replace his memorabilia.
No doubt. So touching. We are reaching out to family so we can replace their collection. https://t.co/Gwk48heAyR— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) October 15, 2017
And since Kaval's announcement, the A's community of fans has responded with offers to send the young fan some memorabilia. The A's have even set up an address where fans can send Smith their gifts.
If you'd like to donate baseball memorabilia to our pal Loren, please send items to the address below and we’ll make sure they get to him. pic.twitter.com/xI3ZwWWfNA— A's, But Spooky 🌳🐘🎃 (@Athletics) October 16, 2017
Fox’ Matt Vasgersian, who does his job well, declared the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series win over Cleveland to be amazing.
It is not. Not any more.
In fact, the Yankees winning three elimination games in succession is a feat that has happened seven times in the past three years. And we can only conclude from that that they’re not making teams that can avoid the bad beat the way they used to.
The 2017 Indians joined the 2016 Indians, Warriors and Thunder, the 2015 Clippers, Capitals and Texas Rangers, the 2014 Penguins and Sharks, the 2013 Red Wings, the 2012 Reds and Cardinals, the 2011 Penguins, the 2010 Bruins and Capitals as proud laryngectomy victims – teams that needed to win only one of three (or in the Sharks’ case, four) games to advance in the playoffs (or in the Warriors’ case, win).
That’s 15 times this “amazing” thing has happened, which means that by any estimate, teams that needed to win three consecutive games to escape the icy hand of Uncle Death are now pretty much the norm in this decade.
And why, you ask? I blame Twitter. I blame global warming. I blame video games. I blame smartphones. I blame phones. I blame the new president. I blame the old president. I blame Satan. I blame participation trophies and orange slices and juice boxes. I blame the players and I blame the owners and I blame the fans and definitely those smarmy bastards in the media. They’re the worst.
I blame you. Hell, I think I blame Matt Vasgersian.
But whomever is at fault, we have here an epidemic of feet strangling their owners when everything seems their cheeriest. And unless we live in such misery-enriched times that good times are only precursors to far worse ones, there is no sensible explanation. Players’ windpipes are no smaller than they were a decade ago. The Internet is older than seven years. Close-out games are not materially more difficult than they were before 2010.
And yet winning that one extra game is suddenly like finding out your SAT test has been written totally in anagrams. In other words, when things look brightest, that’s when you know you’re totally screwed.
And if you don’t believe me, ask Terry Francona. In a few weeks maybe. Not right away. Not unless you’re keen to see how it feels to have your neck used as a bathmat.