It's not over for A's, yet


It's not over for A's, yet


DETROIT -- "Over? Did you say "over?" Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!" -- John Belushi as Bluto in Animal House That famous clip from the movie Animal House often plays on the big screen at the Oakland Coliseum when the A's are down late in a game. Aside from the historical inaccuracies, it perfectly sums up the Oakland Athletics' attitude as they packed up their clubhouse stalls and headed for home down 2-0 in the American League Division Series and facing elimination. "We're not going to get our heads down and act like we're beaten," Josh Reddick said. "We've gotten this far for a reason and we are a good team and we know we are a good team. We're just going to grind it out and win these next three ballgames." Is the series over? Not until they lose one more game. Just ask the Rangers how dangerous the A's can be when they need three home wins. Many of the Rangers' players were probably watching the Tigers defeat Oakland 5-4 in walk-off fashion from their couches at home. History isn't on their side. The A's have gone down 0-2 seven times in a postseason series and they ended up getting eliminated in all seven. Five teams in Major League history have over come a 0-2 deficit in a best of five series. Two of the teams that pulled off the feat did so against the A's. The Yankees did it in 2001 and the Red Sox did it in 2003. "We just need to win a game," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We need to go home and concentrate on Tuesday. If you start thinking about three games ahead, then you lose your focus on Tuesday's game."They do have reason to be optimistic. Of all the AL playoff teams the Tigers are the only one with a losing record on the road. They went 38-43 on the road this season. The A's were 50-31 at home and have fed off the energy at the Coliseum lately. "We're still alive and now it's a must-win situation," Coco Crisp said. It will be an adjustment for the A's who have played all season long like they have nothing to lose. Their storybook season could either come to an end with one more loss, or their tale could get even more miraculous with a few well timed wins. It will be interesting to see how the A's respond with their backs truly against the wall for the first time this season. "It's a little tougher no doubt," closer Grant Balfour said. "You lose the next one you go home. You lose in the regular season there's tomorrow." The A's will work out at the Coliseum on Monday. They take on the Tigers on their home turf at 6:07 p.m. on Tuesday. Detroit will be sending Anibal Sanchez to the mound. Oakland scored six runs -- five earned -- against Sanchez on September 20 in Detroit. Injured starting pitcher Brett Anderson is likely taking the mound for Oakland. He strained his right oblique on September 19 against the Tigers. All reports indicate that he is feeling good, so what better time to have him pitch than a must-win game?

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach


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


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.