Athletics

Instant Replay: Early errors prove costly, A's blanked by Astros

manaea-walk-houston-august29-2016-ap.jpg

Instant Replay: Early errors prove costly, A's blanked by Astros

BOX SCORE

The A’s suffered a loss Monday that featured a couple costly defensive miscues, some squandered offensive opportunities and a starting pitcher leaving because of an injury.

That’s not the kind of script that leads to success, and unfortunately for the A’s it’s not the first time such a scenario has played out in 2016.

The Astros, scrapping to keep pace in the American League Wild Card race, rang up a 6-0 win in the opener of this three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Oakland mustered just four hits and couldn’t carry over the momentum from a seven-run output in Sunday’s series-clinching victory at St. Louis. Third baseman Ryon Healy committed back-to-back errors that contributed to Houston’s two-run second inning that gave the home team all the runs it would need.

A’s starter Sean Manaea departed in the fourth inning with what was diagnosed as a strained muscle in his upper back. There was no immediate word on the seriousness of the injury.

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Starting pitching report:
Manaea wasn’t helped by the Healy errors, both of which came with two outs and put him in a bases-loaded situation. But the rookie left-hander didn’t help himself when he followed up by issuing consecutive walks that forced in the game’s first two runs. It wasn’t apparent to the naked eye when exactly Manaea injured himself prior to leaving.

Bullpen report:
Chris Smith did well when called upon on short notice, eating up 2 2/3 innings. He allowed Jose Altuve’s solo homer in the sixth. He struck out five after relieving Manaea. Smith started the seventh by giving up a double to Teoscar Hernandez, walking Jake Marisnick and giving up a single to George Springer. J.B. Wendelken relieved Smith and promotely gave up a two-run single to rookie Alex Bregman. Following a double play, Carlos Correa knocked in Springer with a single to right. All three runs were charged to Smith.

At the plate:
The A’s had their best chances in the fifth and sixth to jump back in the game. They loaded the bases in the fifth with one out, but Coco Crisp and Danny Valencia both went down on strikes. In the sixth, with the score still 2-0, Oakland put runners on the corners with one out but Yonder Alonso bounced into a 1-6-3 double play to douse that rally.

In the field:
Healy has impressed with the glove since coming up from the minors, but he had a rough night Monday. He mishandled Marwin Gonzalez’s bouncer to his right, then couldn’t come up with Teoscar Hernandez’s grounder to his left, opening the door to the Astros’ first scoring rally.

Attendance:
18,613

Up next:
The Astros’ Collin McHugh (8-10, 5.01) has been very solid, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his past 18 outings. He’ll take the mound Tuesday with Kendall Graveman (10-8, 3.97) going for the A’s. First pitch is 5:10 p.m.

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

asletter-2.jpg
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. 

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

yankeeswin01-ap.jpg
AP

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

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.