Athletics

Instant Analysis: Orioles rough up Manaea, power past Athletics

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AP

Instant Analysis: Orioles rough up Manaea, power past Athletics

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — A 26-minute top of the first pretty much decided the outcome Saturday night at the Coliseum.

One big issue was left unresolved, however, by the time the A’s 12-5 loss to Baltimore finally wrapped:

What exactly is wrong with Sean Manaea right now?

The lefty faced just seven batters, giving up a walk and then six hits in a row, before A’s manager Bob Melvin called on his bullpen way earlier than he could have anticipated. The Orioles plated seven runs by the time the A’s finally returned to their dugout to bat for the first time.

The rest of the night was just filler for a crowd of 29,742 that at least had a postgame fireworks show to look forward to.

This was the third consecutive poor start for Manaea (8-7), and by far the most troubling of them. The only out recorded while he was on the mound came on a 7-6-2 putout at home plate on Adam Jones’ double.

The Orioles put good wood on anything he threw near the plate. Melvin suggested after Manaea’s previous two outings that it was merely fatigue that the lefty was fighting through. But the fact that Manaea’s fastball started out in the 88-89 mile-per-hour range Saturday, and topped out at just 91, left it open as to whether something might be bothering him physically.

The second-year starter was dialed in during an 11-start stretch from May to mid-July during which he went 7-2 with a 2.92 ERA. But over his past five outings, he is 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA and a .400 opponents’ batting average.

It was another night Saturday when the bullpen phone rang way too early. Six times over the past 15 contests A’s starters have completed fewer than four innings. Michael Brady at least kept things manageable for Melvin, relieving Manaea and eating up 5 1/3 innings while allowing three runs.

The Orioles finished with 20 hits and eight doubles, one shy of the franchise record.

There were however a few developments for A’s fans to cheer as they passed the time until fireworks. Khris Davis connected for his 32nd homer, a two-run shot to center in the first. Matt Olson went deep for the second night in a row.

Center fielder Boog Powell also had an active night in his A’s debut. After being scratched from Friday’s lineup following an asthma attack that sent him to the emergency room, Powell walked and singled in his first two plate appearances before striking out in his final three at-bats. He made a great throw to second to nail Mark Trumbo on the slugger’s base hit off the wall in center. Credit to Olson, the first baseman, for covering second base and being there to make the tag.

Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

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Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

Ryan Christenson has worked his way up the coaching ladder in the A’s farm system, and on Thursday he was named the team’s new major league bench coach.

The announcement makes Christenson, 43, the right-hand man for manager Bob Melvin and essentially the No. 2 man in the dugout. It also settles a position that was in flux over the course of the 2017 season. Mark Kotsay began this past season as bench coach but stepped away from the team in June to be with his family after his daughter, Sienna, suffered a serious eye injury.

Kotsay is expected to remain with the big league club in some form of non-everyday role. Chip Hale finished the season as bench coach but will now switch back to third base coach, a position he originally was hired for leading into the 2017 season. Hale also coaches Oakland’s infielders.

“At some point in time we knew Ryan was going to be here,” Melvin said. “He went through all the classifications (managing in the minors). He did well with a young group. It’s a good fit bringing him in, and he’s ready for the bench coach role. He’s done a lot of managing.”

Though the bench coach works in closest tandem with a manager throughout the game, Melvin also noted the importance of having a third-base coach that thinks right along with him and is on the same page. From that standpoint, he said having Hale in that role is important.

“Chip’s so good at third, that even though I’m used to having him on the bench, it’s tough not to use him (at third),” Melvin said. “Certainly this isn’t a demotion for Chip.”

It’s the first appointment on a major league staff for Christenson, who has spent the past five seasons managing in Oakland’s farm system, starting with low Single-A and working his way up to Triple-A Nashville this season. He led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in 2015-16, and his teams went 391-307 (.561) over those five seasons.

The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff will return intact in 2018. That includes pitching coach Scott Emerson, who took over that role midseason after the firing of Curt Young, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Like Christenson, Emerson and Bush both were promoted from within the farm system to their eventual spots on the big league staff.

All three men have extensive history coaching the large group of young players that are establishing themselves as the A’s core, and that’s a factor worth keeping in mind when evaluating the makeup of this staff.

Emerson, who assumed Young’s duties in June, will return as pitching coach despite the A’s staff posting a 4.67 ERA, highest by an Oakland staff since 1999. A’s pitchers also surrendered an Oakland-record 210 home runs.

“Similar to Ryan, he knows everybody, what we have here and in the minor leagues,” Melvin said of Emerson. “He’s been a good fit here and continues to be a good fit.”

Bush oversaw a group of hitters that showed improvement as the season wore on, scoring the fifth-most runs in the American League after the All-Star break. The A’s set a franchise record for strikeouts – in line with the rise in whiffs throughout the majors -- but also hit the fourth-most homers in franchise history.

Melvin’s staff is rounded out by first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Garvin Alston and assistant hitting coach/catching coach Marcus Jensen. Steve Scarsone, who filled in as interim third base coach from June through the rest of the season, will resume his duties as a traveling instructor throughout the farm system.

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

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Twitter @KatieUtehs

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

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. 

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.