Athletics

Mariners remain a riddle to A's despite Khris Davis' 42nd homer

Mariners remain a riddle to A's despite Khris Davis' 42nd homer

OAKLAND — Yonder Alonso found his power-hitting comfort zone at the Coliseum earlier this season, and it resulted in his first All-Star Game selection.

Now he does his damage in a Mariners uniform, and the A’s could do without the power he’s shown the past two nights.

Alonso, traded from Oakland to Seattle in August, went deep for the second night in a row Tuesday, and another former Athletic, Danny Valencia, added the knockout blow with a three-run shot to lift the Mariners to a 6-3 victory.

It was a trip down memory lane that A’s manager Bob Melvin could have done without. This was a game his team was in position to win, thanks to solid starting pitching from Daniel Mengden, some pretty defensive work behind the pitcher and Khris Davis’ 42nd home run, which gave the A’s a short-lived 3-2 lead.

“It’s a frustrating loss for us,” Melvin said. “(Seattle starter James) Paxton is doing his thing, and we finally get him out of the game and take the lead with a two-run homer and we can’t hold it. That’s the frustrating part.”

While the A’s recently have dominated at home this season against Texas, which just left the Coliseum on Sunday, the Mariners are one division opponent they simply can’t solve. They’ve dropped an Oakland-record eight in a row to Seattle.

They can thank Alonso and Valencia for Tuesday’s heartache. Alonso hardly has torn the cover off the ball with the Mariners — he has just five homers in 39 games since the A’s traded him for outfielder Boog Powell. But he’s made a good enough impression that there’s thought that the Mariners might try to re-sign the free agent-to-be.

His trade to the Mariners reunited him with his longtime friend Valencia, who the A’s shipped to Seattle last offseason for right-hander Paul Blackburn. Both took joy in homering in the same game at the Coliseum, though neither was looking to rub it in against their former club.

“I have a lot of love playing here. It’s a good place to play,” said Valencia, who made headlines last year when he punched then-A’s teammate Billy Butler in a clubhouse altercation.

The A’s and Mariners have combined for nine homers in the first two games of this three-game set that ends Wednesday afternoon. Marcus Semien hit his first career leadoff homer in the first to accompany Davis’ blast, helping the A’s establish a new Oakland single-season record for homers at the Coliseum (128).

But, as has been their M.O. all season, if the A’s aren’t clearing the fences, they aren’t doing enough offensively. They had nine hits total but couldn’t push any more runs across.

“Our team’s success this year has revolved around the home run,” Melvin said. “We need to find other ways to do it.”

The A’s began this series hoping to catch fourth-place Seattle and escape the AL West cellar. But in taking the first two, the Mariners have leapfrogged Texas into third place for the time being, and the A’s trail Texas by four games for fourth place with five left to play, including four against the Rangers in Arlington beginning Thursday.

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.