Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's Game 1 loss to Rays

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's Game 1 loss to Rays


The A’s comeback rally in the top of the ninth Saturday afternoon only set up their disappointment an inning later.

Evan Longoria doubled home Peter Bourjos in the bottom of the 10th and the Tampa Bay Rays rang up a 6-5 victory in the opener of a doubleheader at Tropicana Field.

Oakland trailed 5-4 entering the ninth but tied the game on back-to-back doubles from Yonder Alonso and Ryon Healy. But in the 10th, Peter Bourjos singled and went to second on a wild pitch from Liam Hendriks. Then Longoria drilled the game-winner to the corner in left field.

Despite the late-game drama, this one played out like too many before it for the A’s. They racked up 16 hits but left too many opportunities on the bases. They made a couple sterling defensive plays, yet also turned in a couple of costly errors. In the end they did just enough wrong, and Tampa Bay has claimed the first two of this four-game series. The second game of Saturday’s twin bill was scheduled to begin about 40 minutes after the first, with Sean Manaea taking the hill for Oakland.

Early offense, but not enough: The A’s racked up 16 hits and jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but left 13 men on base. Those missed chances wound up costing them.

Another untimely error does damage: After the Rays took a 4-3 lead in the sixth, they stole another run on a play where the A’s should have had the third out. Michael Martinez reached on an infield single and Tim Beckham tried to score all the way from second. Yonder Alonso’s throw home was to the wrong side of the plate but arrived in plenty of time to get Beckham, but Josh Phegley couldn’t handle the throw and Tampa Bay had another run. Tampa Bay’s two-run rally in the fourth also began with a throwing error from A’s starter Sonny Gray.

A big opportunity goes to waste: Leading 3-0, the A’s had a chance to extend that lead in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs, but they came up empty. Matt Joyce bounced into a home-to-first double play and Chad Pinder flied out. With that, the A’s missed a chance to possibly get into the Rays bullpen early and make things more difficult for the home team during a long day of baseball.

A memorable moment for the rookie: The good, the bad for Sonny: Gray went six innings and notched his fourth career 10-strikeout game. But Tampa Bay got to him for five runs, just two of which were earned. Given a 3-0 lead, Gray gave up Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out, two-run single to make it a one-run game but struck out Tim Beckham to strand a runner at third. But Beckham would get Gray in the sixth, delivering a two-run go-ahead double, another rally that unfolded with two outs. The E-2 play at the plat with Phegley would follow to make it 5-3.

Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers

The Oakland A's made it official: They finally got their man behind the plate. 

Oakland officially announced the signing of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. Lucroy's deal is reportedly worth $6.5 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Lucroy joined his new teammates for the first time in Arizona on Monday, and told reporters that he is especially excited to work with the club's young, promising pitching staff. The three returning leaders in innings pitched (Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton) are all 27-years-old or younger, and 22-year-old top prospect A.J. Puk is pushing for a rotation spot after allowing just one run in three appearances this spring. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and trying to help them get better and get better myself along the way," Lucroy told reporters. "I think that's what it's all about; taking what they do best and try to simplify their approach ... Really, just doing anything I can with them to get hitters out."

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he thinks Lucroy's experience will prove beneficial to his young staff.

"If we can't go out and get ourselves a [starting pitcher], that's the next best thing," Melvin told reporters on Monday. "So, he's got a lot of experience, and a great reputation for being a teriffic leader behind the plate."

Lucroy, 31, slashed .265/.345/.371 in 481 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies last season, hitting six home runs with 40 RBI, his lowest marks in those categories since his rookie season in 2010.

In order to accomodate Lucroy's signing the, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment. Labourt was acquired off of waivers on Mar. 4, and Labourt's arrival prompted the eventual release of Brandon Moss one month into his Oakland reunion.

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues


Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9.