Athletics

A's not worried after Game 1 loss

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A's not worried after Game 1 loss

DETROIT -- Game One of the American League Division Series went exactly as it was planned. It just didn't work out in the Oakland Athletics favor in the end. Get an early lead? Check. Work up Justin Verlander's pitch count? Check. Get a strong start out of Jarrod Parker? Check. Win the game? Insert TV game show buzzer sound effect hereVerlander was just too good on Saturday. He struck out 11 Athletics batters, including a string of five consecutive punch outs that began when he struck out the side in the sixth inning. As the A's effectively ran up his pitch count, he was still pumping in 99-MPH fastballs and bringing it with swing and miss stuff.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's drop Game 1 in Detroit
"I think most starters you try to get to them before they get into their rhythm," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He certainly got better as the game went along." It appeared the A's had gotten to Verlander early. Coco Crisp hit a leadoff home run to start the game. It was only the second time in Major League Baseball history that the first batter of a postseason series hit a home run. That would be the only run the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young-winner would allow. Verlander left the game after seven innings pitched and allowed just three hits. He threw 121 pitches. "You have to tip your hat, and obviously he gets tipped to a lot," Brandon Moss said. "He made a mistake first batter of the game and he really didn't make any more." Verlander received what looked like a favorable strike zone during the game. Several pitches looked to be outside but were called strikes by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds. The A's didn't make any excuses after the game. Verlander, naturally, didn't object to the strike zone. "I felt like they have that box up there the entire game and that's tough on umpires," Verlander said of the game broadcast. "But I feel he was consistent, both ways. As you guys know I go down the tunnel and in between innings and watch on TV." A's starting pitcher Jarrod Parker isn't happy with a loss in his first playoff start, but he did turn in a quality start in a pressure packed situation against a tough Tigers lineup. Parker, 23, lasted six and one-third innings, and allowed three runs on seven hits, one walk and five strikeouts. He made two mistakes: He gave up a home run to Alex Avila in the fifth inning, and dropped a ball when running to first in the third inning that allowed a run to score. It looked like there was confusion on the play between Parker and first baseman Brandon Moss. "It just came out of my glove," Parker said. "It's something we practice every day in Spring Training and I consider myself pretty athletic and it just came out of my glove."When Parker dropped the ball, it allowed Omar Infante who reached on a double to score. That play gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Parker stifled the Tigers' big hitters. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder went a combined 0 for 7. In the first inning, Cabrera, the American League Triple Crown-winner, came up with runners on the corners and no outs and grounded into a double play, but the runner on third came home to score to tie the game at one. "Obviously you don't want their two superstars to end up with the headlines of multi-homer games or what not," Derek Norris said. "But when it came down to it they came up clutch and sometimes it happens." The A's had their chances to do damage in the D. It just wasn't their night. In the third inning Josh Donaldson hammered a pitch thrown by Verlander to deep center field but it was caught at the warning track. It would have been a home run in any other park but it is 420 feet to center at Comerica Park.
Moss also hit a towering fly ball off reliever Joaquin Benoit that looked like it was going to be a game-tying two-run homer, but it was caught with right fielder Andy Dirks' back against the wall. "I thought it was going out," Melvin said. "I think we all did."The A's won't have time to sulk about their loss with a quick turnaround for a day game on Sunday -- not that they were too concerned with the loss. The A's clubhouse didn't seem phased by being defeated. "We're not worrying," Reddick said. "We've done well against people all year when we go down one game. We're not going to fret over it and panic. We can steal one out of here tomorrow and go back home where the crowd has been good and we've played good the last month."Sunday's Coverage
Tommy Milone takes the mound against Doug Fister. The game will be carried by MLB Network at 9:07 a.m. PST. Make sure to tune into Sportsnet Central: October Quest on CSN California for pre game coverage. Kate Longworth and myself will have the latest from the A's clubhouse, and Ray Fosse and Glen Kuiper will offer their insights, plus Shooty Babitt will be breaking it all down.

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

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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?

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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.