Athletics

Instant Replay: A's only manage two hits, drop series to Mariners

Instant Replay: A's only manage two hits, drop series to Mariners

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE — Christian Bergman is one of several pitchers the Mariners are counting on to prop up their injury-torn rotation, but the A’s had no answer for the fill-in starter Wednesday night.

Oakland didn’t advance a single runner past first base in a 4-0 loss that brought a dismal six-game road trip to a close. The right-hander held the A’s to two hits over 7 1/3 innings and struck out nine. Given that performance, the A’s didn’t have much margin for error behind Jesse Hahn, and they certainly were not flawless.

Two big outfield mistakes, both with Ben Gamel hitting, led to two of Seattle’s runs. Right fielder Matt Joyce let Gamel’s liner get by him in the first for a triple and Nelson Cruz’s sacrifice fly provided the game’s first run. After two runs already had crossed the plate in the fifth, Gamel lofted a fly ball into left-center.

Mark Canha made a long run over from center field and had the ball pop out of his glove for an error, putting runners at second and third. Cruz’s grounder to third scored another run and made it 4-0. Hahn (1-3) got off to a strong start, but that fifth inning elevated his pitch count and he was lifted before the sixth, having thrown 103 pitches.

Compounding things to conclude a 1-5 trip, A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso exited the game in the seventh with what was announced as left knee soreness.

Starting pitching report

Hahn appeared to have lively stuff, striking out six over his five innings. He gave up five hits with two walks. Three of his four runs were earned. He’s now allowed three earned runs or less in all eight of his appearances this season (seven starts).

Bullpen report

Bobby Wahl and Josh Smith combined for three scoreless innings.

At the plate

For the first time all season, the A’s did not record an extra-base hit. They came in as just one of three teams in the majors that could claim that, along with the Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins.

Looking to stick with the mojo that led to Tuesday’s nine-run outburst, manager Bob Melvin started Canha in center field for the second night in a row over Rajai Davis. The momentum didn’t carry over, as the A’s managed just two hits and four base runners all night.

Matt Joyce, leading off for the third game in a row, went 0-for-3 before Chad Pinder pinch-hit for him in the eighth. A’s leadoff hitters entered the night batting .171, tied with Kansas City for the lowest average in the majors.

In the field

The A’s roll the dice that Canha’s offensive production will outweigh any mistakes from his inexperience playing center, but his dropped ball was a costly mistake. That makes it a major league-high 37 errors for Oakland in 40 games.

Attendance

A crowd of 14,117 was on hand.

Up next

The Boston Red Sox visit the Coliseum for a four-game series that begins Thursday. The opener is a matchup of Sonny Gray (0-1, 3.78) vs. the major league debut of Hector Velazquez at 7:05 p.m. Friday’s 6:35 p.m. fireworks night matchup is one to see, with Kendall Graveman (2-2, 3.95) going up against Chris Sale (4-2, 2.15). Sean Manaea (1-3, 5.52) and former Athletic Drew Pomeranz (3-3, 5.29) take the mound Saturday at 1:05 p.m. and Sunday’s finale pits Andrew Triggs (5-2, 2.12) against Eduardo Rodriguez (2-1, 3.05) at 1:05 p.m. The entire series will air on NBC Sports California.

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.