Athletics

Tale of the Tape: Indians one win away from A's historic streak

Tale of the Tape: Indians one win away from A's historic streak

UPDATE (8pm PT on Tuesday): The Indians equaled the A's 20-game winning streak with a 2-0 win over the Tigers on Tuesday in Cleveland.

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BOSTON — The Cleveland Indians’ incredible 19-game winning streak is just one shy of the American League record for most consecutive victories.

As they attempt to tie the 2002 A’s AL-record mark of 20 in a row, there’s a natural comparison to make between that squad and the current Cleveland bunch. Here’s a breakdown of the similarities — and differences — between these two amazing feats:

**Both streaks began around the same time of the season, bridging August and September, cementing both as legitimate postseason threats. The A’s streak ran from Aug. 13-Sept.4. The Indians began their torrid run Aug. 24 and it’s still going entering Tuesday's home game against the Detroit Tigers.

**There’s arguments for both over which streak is more memorable, but there’s no doubt that Cleveland’s has been flat-out more dominant. A look at some of the key numbers during each team’s respective streak. Keep in mind the A’s numbers are through 20 games, and the Indians’ only 19:

Batting avg.
Oak: .299
Clev: .309

HRs:
Oak: 30
Clev: 38

OPS:
Oak: .885
Clev: .951

ERA:
Oak: 2.65
Clev: 1.68

The Indians’ pitching staff has thrown six shutouts during Cleveland’s streak. The 2002 A’s threw just two, but in eight of their wins they held opponents to two or fewer runs. And excellent starting pitching is a hallmark of both streaks.

Run differential:
Oak: plus-76 (they outscored opponents 141-65)
Clev: plus-100 (a 132-32 margin)

The Indians are flat-out steamrolling opponents, trailing in just four of 171 innings they’ve played. The A’s? In 14 of their 20 wins, they never trailed. But they also offered fans an absolute thrill ride with three walk-offs in games No. 18, 19 and 20.

***One edge the 2002 A’s do hold over the Indians— they faced a lot tougher challenge within their division during their streak, so you could argue their 20-gamer was more pressure-packed. When the A’s began their streak, they were 68-51 and in third place in the AL West behind the Mariners and Angels. Twenty victories later, they were in first place, but only by 3 1/2 games. That cushion would have been larger if not for the Angels going 14-6 during the same 20-game stretch.

The Indians already were on top of the AL Central by 4 1/2 games, at 69-56, when they started their streak. That lead has since ballooned to 13 1/2 games because the Minnesota Twins, their closest division competition, has gone a pedestrian 9-8 during the same stretch. But, to the Indians’ credit, they’ve made a mad charge to pass the Astros for the best record in the league, which could ultimately land them the top seed in the AL playoff bracket.

***Let’s not forget the Hollywood angle here: Brad Pitt played Billy Beane in the Grammy-nominated movie “Moneyball”, which revolved around the A’s 2002 season. The Indians were the centerpiece to the hilarious 1989 comedy “Major League,” with the plot built partly around the franchise’s decades-long history of losing.

Two completely different kinds of movies, each excellent in their own way. It depends on your cinematic tastes.

***In the big picture, the question boils down to this: Where did these two winning streaks ultimately take their teams? The A’s 20-gamer catapulted them to 103 wins and the AL West title. But they fell in five games to the Twins in the AL Division Series, a letdown after all they accomplished in the regular season.

Will the Indians’ winning streak pave the way to their first World Series crown since 1948? That drama has yet to play out.

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

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USATSI

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

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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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