Athletics

Triggs helps A's nail down eighth win in a row over Royals

Triggs helps A's nail down eighth win in a row over Royals

KANSAS CITY — Andrew Triggs talks matter-of-factly about his start to the season, spinning off team-first quotes and not making too much of his own exploits.

Through two starts, however, it can’t be downplayed what the right-hander has given the A’s. Triggs has won his first two starts in his first regular crack in a major league rotation, and he has yet to allow a single earned run.

The offense stole the show in Wednesday’s 8-3 victory over the Royals, but Triggs’ performance out of the gate has been one of the A’s under-the-radar success stories.

“There’s some pretty good left-handed hitters in the (Royals’) lineup,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “You expect him to maybe make some of the righties take some bad swings, but he had some of the lefties taking some bad swings. So he’s off to a great start.”

It means all the more considering Triggs didn’t exactly mow through hitters in the latter half of spring training. He surrendered 20 runs over his last four Cactus League starts. And although the A’s essentially had him written into the rotation by the time they reported to camp — meaning his exhibition results didn’t carry significant weight — surely team officials would have breathed a little easier had he taken some momentum into the regular season.

But Triggs has responded since the games started counting, firing 11 2/3 scoreless innings and giving up just eight hits. More so than in his first start against the Angels, Triggs’ fastball command was more dialed in and he was spotting to both sides of the plate with his cutter.

“Once the lights turn on and the real games begin is when you wanna perform,” Triggs said. “So I’m pretty pleased with the way things have gone. The biggest thing is to nail down a series win the second game in, so it’s exciting.”

Indeed, the A’s have taken two of the first three against the Royals, whom they’ve now beaten eight times in a row dating back to last season. That’s the second-longest winning streak against Kansas City in franchise history, trailing only a 10-gamer that bridged the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

Don’t underestimate what it means to Melvin. The 2014 Wild Card loss at Kauffman Stadium, when the A’s coughed up two different leads, still packs some sting. That was apparent when leading into the series, Melvin referred to the Royals as a team that always gives the A’s fits. Never mind that Oakland went 6-1 against Kansas City last season.

“I mean, there’s one game I remember, and a lot that I don’t,” Melvin admitted after Wednesday’s game. “It’s a tough team and it’s been a tough team for us.”

The Royals happen to be the team that drafted Triggs in the 19th round in 2012 after his senior season at USC (the Indians and Giants both drafted him in the previous two years but he didn’t sign). He made it as high as Triple-A with the Royals before being traded to Baltimore for cash in April 2015.

Triggs knows some of the current Royals. He played in the minors with Cheslor Cuthbert, who went 0-for-2 against him as the Royals’ DH. Reliever Scott Alexander, who threw 2 1/3 innings Wednesday, was his roommate.

“I still have some friends over there,” Triggs said. “… It’s fun to pitch against guys you know. But at the end of the day, you’re just trying to make pitches and give your team a chance to win.”

To this point, he’s doing that and more.

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. 

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

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AP

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

Fox’ Matt Vasgersian, who does his job well,  declared the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series win over Cleveland to be amazing.

It is not. Not any more.

In fact, the Yankees winning three elimination games in succession is a feat that has happened seven times in the past three years. And we can only conclude from that that they’re not making teams that can avoid the bad beat the way they used to.

The 2017 Indians joined the 2016 Indians, Warriors and Thunder, the 2015 Clippers, Capitals and Texas Rangers, the 2014 Penguins and Sharks, the 2013 Red Wings, the 2012 Reds and Cardinals, the 2011 Penguins, the 2010 Bruins and Capitals as proud laryngectomy victims – teams that needed to win only one of three (or in the Sharks’ case, four) games to advance in the playoffs (or in the Warriors’ case, win).

That’s 15 times this “amazing” thing has happened, which means that by any estimate, teams that needed to win three consecutive games to escape the icy hand of Uncle Death are now pretty much the norm in this decade.

And why, you ask? I blame Twitter. I blame global warming. I blame video games. I blame smartphones. I blame phones. I blame the new president. I blame the old president. I blame Satan. I blame participation trophies and orange slices and juice boxes. I blame the players and I blame the owners and I blame the fans and definitely those smarmy bastards in the media. They’re the worst.

I blame you. Hell, I think I blame Matt Vasgersian.

But whomever is at fault, we have here an epidemic of feet strangling their owners when everything seems their cheeriest. And unless we live in such misery-enriched times that good times are only precursors to far worse ones, there is no sensible explanation. Players’ windpipes are no smaller than they were a decade ago. The Internet is older than seven years. Close-out games are not materially more difficult than they were before 2010.

And yet winning that one extra game is suddenly like finding out your SAT test has been written totally in anagrams. In other words, when things look brightest, that’s when you know you’re totally screwed.

And if you don’t believe me, ask Terry Francona. In a few weeks maybe. Not right away. Not unless you’re keen to see how it feels to have your neck used as a bathmat.