Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 4, Rangers 3


Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 4, Rangers 3


OAKLAND -- The A's fell behind 3-1, then in typical A's fashion rallied to tie the game, and ended the series with a walk-off win. Brandon Hicks launched his first career home run to defeat the Rangers 4-3. Hicks came into the game as a pinch runner and ended up the hero of the game. At the PlateJosh Reddick continues to be a model of consistency for the A's. The three-hitter smacked a game-tying two-run double off the high part of the right field wall in the seventh inning. Reddick's double was a much needed lift for the A's struggling offense. They A's were 0 for 14 in this series with runners in scoring position before Reddick's double. The bottom of the A's lineup is proving to be a huge problem for the A's. The situation reared its ugly head again as they loaded the bases in the fourth inning with two outs. Derek Norris stepped to the plate stuck in an 0 for 21 slump and popped out to the shortstop. Norris ended the day 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 24 at-bats. Brandon Inge made amends for the bottom of the lineup by leading off the fifth inning with a game-tying solo homer to center field. It was his eighth of the year and it came a month and six days after his previous homer. Entering the game Smith had a .185 average when starting as the designated hitter. His struggles in that role continued on Wednesday as he went 0 for 3.Starting Pitching ReportTravis Blackley did a good job against the mighty Rangers offense. He allowed just three runs but was pulled from the game with one out in the sixth. It could have been a much different sixth inning for the fiery Australian-born pitcher. He had Elvis Andrus dead to rights on a pickoff move to first that was called a balk by first base umpire Paul Nauert. The balk call was questionable as Blackley leads the American League with six pickoffs. It advanced Andrus to second base and created a snowball effect. Later that inning Brandon Inge made a fantastic play on a hard-hit ball off the bat of Adrian Beltre. As Inge fielded the ball, he attempted to tag out Andrus as he advanced to third base, then realized he wouldn't be able to get him. As he changed his mind and decided to throw to first, he stumbled before completing the throw. Everyone was safe.
Andrus ended up scoring on a Michael Young RBI single. Young was the last batter Blackley faced in the game. Blackley's ended up allowing six hits, with one walk and four strikeouts. Craig Gentry continued to be a thorn in the A's side. The speedy center fielder smacked an RBI double in the fifth inning off Blackley to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. On the play Yoenis Cespedes got the ball to the cutoff man Cliff Pennington quickly, he fired home to Norris but his swipe tag just missed Brandon Snyder as he slid home safely. Bullpen ReportOne Australian relieved another in the sixth inning as Grant Balfour entered in relief of Blackley. Balfour allowed an RBI-single to Nelson Cruz extending the Rangers lead to 3-1. The run was charged to Blackley. Balfour struck out Napoli and Snyder to end the inning.Evan Scribner pitched a three up, three down seventh inning. Sean Doolittle followed with a shutdown eighth inning, extending his scoreless innings streak to 10.2 innings.Ryan Cook entered with the game tied in the ninth inning. He allowed a leadoff double to Cruz that was almost caught by Reddick. The reckless right fielder had the ball in his glove but he collided so hard with the wall that it jarred the ball lose. Cook struck out Napoli, got Snyder to pop out, and Gentry to fly out to center. Cook showed incredible poise pitching around the leadoff double. Cook has not allowed a run in his last nine outings.
In the FieldCoco Crisp made a spectacular catch to rob Gentry in the seventh inning. He covered an incredible amount of ground before diving to catch the ball and landing in a roll on his sore left shoulder. Cespedes made a nice play in left field, getting to a hard hit ball by Ian Kinsler and preventing a double by making a strong throw to first. Blackley made a nice play on a comebacker off the bat of Young. He fielded the ball throwing to Pennington for the first out, who threw to first to complete the inning-ending double play. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 20,249. Dot RaceWhite wins the dot race after some bumping Blue and Red out of the way at the finish line. A riveting contest. Up NextThe A's will have to endure a four-game series with the A.L. East-leading Yankees next. The Yankees are hot, they have the best record in Major League Baseball since June 2. The A's will be facing Freddy Garcia (4-2, 5.25 ERA), Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.18 ERA), Phil Hughes (9-7, 4.22 ERA), and C.C. Sabathia (10-3, 3.27 ERA) in that order. The A's will be sending A.J. Griffin (1-0, 2.63 ERA), Tommy Milone (9-6, 3.54 ERA), Jarrod Parker (6-4, 3.16 ERA), and Bartolo Colon (6-8, 3.88 ERA). The A's pitchers will have their work cut out for them with the Bronx Bombers in town. The Yankees have scored three runs or more in 42 consecutive games.

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.