A's lineup: Moss, Kottaras powering platoons


A's lineup: Moss, Kottaras powering platoons

ANAHEIM -- The A's are on a roll. They have won four games in a row, 10 road games in a row, and are a season-high 20 games over .500 for the first time since 2006. Here's manager Bob Melvin's lineup card. Oakland Athletics lineupCoco Crisp, CF
Seth Smith, LF
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes DH
Brandon Moss, 1B
Josh Donaldson, 3B
George Kottaras, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Cliff Pennington, 2B
Instant AnalysisJosh Reddick returns to right field after getting a day as the DH to rest his legs. Tuesday is Yoenis Cespedes' turn to rest up as the DH. Brandon Moss has made enough noise to make the first base spot a platoon again. For a while Chris Carter was getting the bulk of the starts there. George Kottaras has also earned himself more platoon playing time with his recent offensive surge. Top of the OrderCoco Crisp is batting .231 over his last 16 games but his leadoff triple on Monday changed the complexion of the game. Nine of his last 15 hits are for extra bases. Crisp is driving fastballs lately. He is hitting .350 on fastballs this month. He only hit .268 against the fastball in August.
(Courtesy Bloomberg Sports:)Heart of the OrderMoss has five home runs in his last 11 games. His 17 homers tie him for second with Rickey Henderson on the list of most home runs by an Oakland A's player with fewer than 100 games. Jose Canseco holds the top spot with 22. For what it's worth Rickey did it in 90 games, Moss has only played 64. Bottom of the OrderThe bottom of the A's order is really rolling lately. Kottaras has been a big part of that. He has five home runs and 16 RBI in 14 games with the A's this year. Cliff Pennington is a streaky hitter. He may finally be hitting the boiling point. He is batting .483 (14 for 29) over his last nine games. He is hitting .293 since being reinstated from the disabled list on August 7 after suffering from left elbow tendonitis.Starting PitchersThe Angels shook up their pitching rotation prior to Monday's game. Jerome Williams (6-7. 4.59 ERA) will make a spot start on Tuesday to allow Jered Weaver to slip back into the rotation for the series finale on Thursday. Weaver missed his last start with right shoulder tendonitis. Williams hasn't started a game since July 19. Dan Straily (1-0, 3.18) will take the mound for the A's. It will be his first start since getting recalled following Brandon McCarthy's injury. Straily gave up four home runs in his last outing against the Angels but the A's won the game.

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

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?


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.