A's rookie Powell has makings of an Oakland crowd favorite

A's rookie Powell has makings of an Oakland crowd favorite

OAKLAND — In a season where mistakes have come in bunches and the losses have piled up, one thing the A’s certainly aren’t guilty of is mailing it in when they fall behind.

Their knack for comebacks and late-game dramatics surfaced once again Friday night in a 9-8 victory over the Astros, who came in riding a seven-game winning streak and having won all six games played between the teams at the Coliseum this season.

Rather than wait for Saturday’s doubleheader, the A’s decided to cram two games’ worth of storylines into one nine-inning contest Friday. Here’s a glimpse of all that went down as they registered their 10th walk-off victory of 2017 …

—Rookie center fielder Boog Powell showed why he’s got the potential to become a fan favorite at the Coliseum in the coming years. He came up with his best all-around game as an Athletic. First came a leaping catch at the center field wall to rob Marwin Gonzalez in the second. Then he hustled out a single with a dive into first base that helped set up Marcus Semien’s game-tying grand slam in the seventh when the A’s trailed 7-3. Oakland trailed 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth when the light-hitting Powell homered on an 0-2 pitch from Astros closer Ken Giles. His hustling, aggressive style of play strikes a chord with the Coliseum crowd, and Powell definitely heard the chants of “Boooog” late in the game.

“One of the most amazing things of my career … so far,” Powell said.

—Semien has been effective getting on base as the leadoff man, but he hadn’t shown much power since coming off the disabled list for a broken wrist. But he turned on a slider from Luke Gregerson and hooked the game-tying slam inside the left-field foul pole in the seventh. The A’s homered four times overall, giving them 201 for the season, the fifth-highest total in franchise history.

“We’ve kind of been living and dying by it,” Semien said. “That’s not necessarily what we want. We want to be able to manufacture runs in all types of ways.”

—After giving up three homers for the second consecutive start, rookie Jharel Cotton wondered aloud if he might be tipping his pitches.

“I feel like what I was throwing, they knew it was coming,” Cotton said. “I gotta figure out if I’m tipping (pitches) or not. I gotta know what I’m doing and that can help me a lot. You can just tell the way they’re taking hacks on pitches I was throwing. I wasn’t fooling nobody today.”

Though he wasn’t using it as an excuse, Cotton has other troubles on his mind right now. His family back in the Caribbean has been hit hard by Hurricane Irma. Cotton said his father lost the roof on his house in Tortola, which is in the British Virgin Islands. His uncle’s house, in nearby St. Thomas, suffered similar damage. Thankfully, Cotton said his relatives were unharmed.

“It’s gonna be on my mind of course. Back home is a total disaster,” Cotton said. “Of course, you’re going to think about that. …They’re holding up. (My family’s) at home still, trying to recover. It’s gonna take a long time, but they’re strong.”

—Daniel Mengden, who starts Saturday’s second game for the A’s, hails from Houston, and though his family’s house hasn’t been affected by Hurricane Harvey, he has friends who have felt the impact.

“One of my buddy’s houses is about six feet deep,” Mengden said. “You can’t really prepare for 50 inches of rain no matter what you do.”

It’s a special event whenever Mengden faces the Astros. He grew up rooting for them and he played on a high school travel team coached by Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. Mengden plans to train with Biggio’s son, Cavan, in the offseason.

A's make roster moves, DFA outfielder who played in 48 games in 2017


A's make roster moves, DFA outfielder who played in 48 games in 2017

In order to get their 40-man roster set for the Rule 5 Draft, the A's did a little roster reshuffling on Monday.

Among the casualties from the roster crunch was outfielder Jaycob Brugman, who played in 48 games for the A's in 2017.

Brugman and left-handed pitcher Sam Moll were designated for assignment in order to clear spots for the A's to add right-handed pitchers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino to the 40-man roster.

During his stint with the A's last season, Brugman hit .266/.346/.343 with two doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI. Brugman participated in the recently-concluded Arizona Fall League, but didn't put up great numbers. He his just 1.82 in nine games.

The 23-year-old Fillmyer started 29 games for Double-A Midland and posted a 3.49 ERA in 149.2 innings. He was a fifth-round by the A's in 2014.

Trivino spent time with Midland and Triple-A Nashville during the 2017 season. In 48 relief appearances between the two levels, he posted a 3.03 ERA and struck out 65 batters in 68.1 innings.

Earlier on Monday, the A's acquired outfielder Ramon Laureano from the Astros for right-handed pitcher Brandon Bailey. Laureano was added to the 40-man roster and right-handed pitcher Bobby Wahl was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.

The Rule 5 Draft will be held on Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Winter Meetings in Orlando.

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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