Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Yankees 2, A's 0

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Yankees 2, A's 0

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Tommy Milone was undefeated at the Oakland Coliseum. The Yankees entered today's game having won their last eight in Oakland. It's a classic tale of unstoppable force vs. immovable object. In this case the unstoppable force was victorious, as the Yankees won 2-0. They have won 13 of their last 14 games in Oakland.Starting Pitching ReportThe immovable object -- Tommy Milone's biggest mistake came on an Andruw Jones homer that led off the second inning. It gave the Yankees an early 1-0 lead. That would end up being all the Yankees needed.It certainly could have been worse. Milone threw 60 pitches through the third inning. During that stretch he pitched out of a bases loaded jam, and managed to strand six baserunners. Mark Teixeira had no trouble hitting A's pitchers this weekend. He knocked Milone out of the game with a seventh inning RBI double. That hit gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead, and was the eighth RBI for Teixeira in the series. Milone finished the day with 6.2 innings pitched. He scattered eight hits, and allowed two earned runs. He walked two and struck out three.At the PlateThe A's failed to get it going again offensively. It's almost as if they know reinforcements are on the way, and they are waiting patiently to start hitting when the big bats return. Brandon Inge is expected to be activated on Monday, Yoenis Cespedes is likely to begin a rehabilitation stint with Sacramento, and Manny Ramirez is eligible to join the team on Wednesday.How else can you explain the way Hiroki Kuroda dominated A's hitters? Kuroda shut out the A's for eight innings, allowing just four hits. A bizarre moment occurred in the fifth inning after Seth Smith led off with a single. Kila Ka'aihue grounded out to first baseman Mark Teixeira, who stepped on the bag for one out and threw to shortstop Derek Jeter. The Yankee captain applied an easy tag on Smith, who didn't even slide or try to avoid the tag. Smith would have been the first A's baserunner to get to second base. Instead, that distinction went to Coco Crisp in the seventh inning, when he broke his 0-for-19 stretch with a single, then stole his 28th straight base. The last A's player to steal 28-straight bases without being thrown out was Stan Javier in 1995. Moments later Crisp broke that record stealing third base. Bullpen ReportThe bullpen continues to be a strength for the A's. Ryan Cook retired one batter to end the sixth inning. His scoreless innings streak is now at a much more writer-friendly 23 straight innings.Grant Balfour pitched a clean eighth, and Brian Fuentes worked a scoreless ninth inning.In the FieldIn the first inning with runners on first and second and one out, Alex Rodriguez singled to right. Josh Reddick fielded the ball and came up firing to the plate, but Jeter elected not to challenge Reddick's arm and stayed at third base. The league is starting to take notice as Reddick is tied for the MLB lead with five outfield assists.Up NextTravis Blackley will be starting for the A's against the Twins in Minnesota. Perhaps more eyes will be on the Sacramento River Cats, where both Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Ramirez could be in the lineup.

Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

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Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

Ryan Christenson has worked his way up the coaching ladder in the A’s farm system, and on Thursday he was named the team’s new major league bench coach.

The announcement makes Christenson, 43, the right-hand man for manager Bob Melvin and essentially the No. 2 man in the dugout. It also settles a position that was in flux over the course of the 2017 season. Mark Kotsay began this past season as bench coach but stepped away from the team in June to be with his family after his daughter, Sienna, suffered a serious eye injury.

Kotsay is expected to remain with the big league club in some form of non-everyday role. Chip Hale finished the season as bench coach but will now switch back to third base coach, a position he originally was hired for leading into the 2017 season. Hale also coaches Oakland’s infielders.

“At some point in time we knew Ryan was going to be here,” Melvin said. “He went through all the classifications (managing in the minors). He did well with a young group. It’s a good fit bringing him in, and he’s ready for the bench coach role. He’s done a lot of managing.”

Though the bench coach works in closest tandem with a manager throughout the game, Melvin also noted the importance of having a third-base coach that thinks right along with him and is on the same page. From that standpoint, he said having Hale in that role is important.

“Chip’s so good at third, that even though I’m used to having him on the bench, it’s tough not to use him (at third),” Melvin said. “Certainly this isn’t a demotion for Chip.”

It’s the first appointment on a major league staff for Christenson, who has spent the past five seasons managing in Oakland’s farm system, starting with low Single-A and working his way up to Triple-A Nashville this season. He led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in 2015-16, and his teams went 391-307 (.561) over those five seasons.

The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff will return intact in 2018. That includes pitching coach Scott Emerson, who took over that role midseason after the firing of Curt Young, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Like Christenson, Emerson and Bush both were promoted from within the farm system to their eventual spots on the big league staff.

All three men have extensive history coaching the large group of young players that are establishing themselves as the A’s core, and that’s a factor worth keeping in mind when evaluating the makeup of this staff.

Emerson, who assumed Young’s duties in June, will return as pitching coach despite the A’s staff posting a 4.67 ERA, highest by an Oakland staff since 1999. A’s pitchers also surrendered an Oakland-record 210 home runs.

“Similar to Ryan, he knows everybody, what we have here and in the minor leagues,” Melvin said of Emerson. “He’s been a good fit here and continues to be a good fit.”

Bush oversaw a group of hitters that showed improvement as the season wore on, scoring the fifth-most runs in the American League after the All-Star break. The A’s set a franchise record for strikeouts – in line with the rise in whiffs throughout the majors -- but also hit the fourth-most homers in franchise history.

Melvin’s staff is rounded out by first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Garvin Alston and assistant hitting coach/catching coach Marcus Jensen. Steve Scarsone, who filled in as interim third base coach from June through the rest of the season, will resume his duties as a traveling instructor throughout the farm system.

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.