Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 4, Mariners 2

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 4, Mariners 2

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- To sweep or be swept? That is the question. The A's broke out the brooms in Seattle, defeating the Mariners 4-2. Oakland has now swept three of their last four series, and the one series they didn't sweep, they got swept by the Angels. Tommy Milone became the first A's rookie pitcher to reach 12 wins since Joe Blanton in 2005. He is now tied with Blanton and Chris Codiroli (1983) for most rookie wins in Oakland history. Milone is also making history in another significant manner. He's allowed just one walk or less in his last 14 starts. That ties Gil Heredia (1999) for the longest such streak in Oakland history. Starting Pitching ReportMilone tied one of his own personal records as well with 10 strikeouts. He didn't issue a single walk. He lasted six innings and gave up two earned runs on eight hits. Overall, a very good day for the rookie pitcher.Predominantly using his off-speed stuff, Milone struck out five of the first six batters he faced in the game. He didn't really get into a jam until the fourth inning. After allowing two batters to reach with singles, he blew a two-out, full count fastball by Mike Carp to end the inning. After the A's rallied for three runs in the fifth inning, Milone couldn't get a shutdown inning. He gave up a run on a two-out triple hit by Michael Saunders. He struck out the next batter to end the inning.Kyle Seager led off the sixth inning with a solo homer to right field, making it 3-2. Reddick scaled the right field wall but couldn't reach the ball. It was a spider-man-like effort, though. Milone ended the first six innings of the game with strikeouts. At the PlateThe A's were having trouble against Mariners lefty Jason Vargas until the fifth inning. With two outs the A's rallied for three runs. Adam Rosales and Coco Crisp reached on singles and then Jonny Gomes crushed a three-run blast to left field. Gomes has been an essential piece to the A's puzzle. He has 16 home runs in 83 games this season, and eight of them have come since the All-Star Break. It's hard to imagine where the A's would be if Manny Ramirez was taking at-bats away from Gomes. Odds are the 40-year-old slugger wouldn't be sniffing Gomes' stats at this point. The A's didn't score again until the eighth inning, when Josh Donaldson smacked a solo homer to left field. Donaldson now has six home runs and 24 RBI since being recalled on August 20. Bullpen ReportPat Neshek entered in relief of Milone in the seventh inning. He retired two batters and didn't allow a base runner. Jerry Blevins finished the inning. Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Has not allowed a run in 10 of his last 11 outings. He struck out two batters. Grant Balfour pitched the ninth inning with a two-run lead. He allowed a leadoff double down the left field line to Casper Wells, then pitched around it without allowing a run. He is now a perfect 9 for 9 in save opportunities since regaining the closer's role. In the FieldReddick robbed Seattle's leadoff hitter Franklin Gutierrez to start the game. Gutierrez hit a ball that looked like it might fall in until Reddick made a full extension head-first dive to take away the hit. He saved a potential run in the ninth inning with a sliding catch to rob Eric Thames.AttendanceThe Mariners announced an attendance of 14,403. Up NextThe A's travel to Anaheim to open a four-game series with the Angels. Jarrod Parker (9-8, 3.67 ERA) will be on the mound for the A's. He is 4-5 with a 5.10 ERA in his his last 11 starts. He is one win shy of becoming the 10th rookie pitcher in Oakland history to win 10 games.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

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AP

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

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AP

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.