Fighting A's back home to face Detroit


Fighting A's back home to face Detroit

April 14, 2011

DETROIT (5-7) vs.
A's (6-6)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics are starting to score runs more consistently, and that could provide an even bigger boost for Gio Gonzalez, who hasn't needed much offensive help from his teammates.

The left-hander will attempt to win a third straight start to open this season and beat the Detroit Tigers for the first time Thursday night.

Oakland pushed across at least five runs for the third time in four games Wednesday during a 7-4 comeback win in 10 innings over the Chicago White Sox. The A's (6-6) tied the game with three runs in the ninth, then scored three more in the 10th.

REWIND: Stunning late rally lifts A's over White Sox

In their first eight games, they scored two runs or fewer five times.

"I just loved the attitude. The guys kept fighting right to the end," manager Bob Geren said. "We were down and it was going to take putting some hits together, drawing some walks, and we did it."

Having won four of five, Geren's club will try to add another victory with help from Gonzalez (2-0, 0.69 ERA), who has continued to pitch well after breaking out with 15 wins last season.

In 2010, Gonzalez because the first Oakland pitcher in 21 years with at least eight scoreless starts. He produced his first one this season Saturday in a 1-0 victory in Minnesota, allowing four hits and two walks over six innings.

RELATED: A's stats page

"It's actually a stress reliever if you don't have to get a lot of runs," Geren said.

Gonzalez, though, could use a few more against Detroit.

He's 0-3 with a 10.22 ERA in three career matchups but has allowed just three runs in each of the past two - both at home. The left-hander has received a combined two runs of support in those games.

NEWS: A's batting and pitching splits

The Tigers (5-7) are coming off their first back-to-back wins this season, thanks largely to Brandon Inge.

The third baseman homered in the ninth inning Wednesday to give his team a 3-2 victory over visiting Texas. The previous day, Inge scored on Miguel Cabrera's ninth-inning single in a 5-4 win against the Rangers.

"Maybe this can jump-start us and get us going," Inge said.

Detroit might gain even more momentum if Magglio Ordonez can return soon from an ailing right ankle. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said his veteran slugger might play sometime during this seven-game West Coast trip, which begins with four in Oakland.

NEWS: MLB scoreboard

"If he's right, maybe (he'll play on) the coast," Leyland told the team's website. "I just want to get him right."

Phil Coke (0-2, 4.00) is trying to get on the right side of the ledger after a 3-1 loss to Kansas City on Saturday.

In his second career start, Coke gave up two runs, two hits and two walks in the second inning. He recovered to throw 4 2-3 scoreless frames after that, finishing with seven strikeouts.
RELATED: Spotlight on the Detroit Tigers

"I'm thrilled. You have to be with the way he pitched," Leyland said. "That was exactly what we needed from him."

Coke has allowed four runs in 4 2-3 innings in his last five outings against Oakland, all out of the bullpen.

The A's lost both of their home games against the Tigers last season after winning 11 of the previous 14 meetings there.

Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more


Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more

Paul Guenther hasn’t been Raiders defensive coordinator long. He has been in Alameda about a week now, interviewing potential position coaches and pouring over last year’s game tape.

He has some initial impressions on the group that struggled at the start and improved throughout the year. Generally speaking, however, Guenther sees talent on the roster.

“I believe there’s a lot of good players here, a lot of good, young players,” Guenther said Wednesday in a conference call. “You’ve got to get them out and develop them and get them to understand your system. But I think there are a lot of good pieces here for a foundation, for sure.”

Guenther’s system, where it came from and why he brought it to Oakland is a story for another day. Thursday morning, to be precise, so stay tuned for that.

Guenther’s early evaluation of key Raiders, however, supports his statement about a strong foundation. He is most excited, as you’d expect, about working with edge rusher Khalil Mack and several others in silver and black.

Here’s what Guenther said about…

-- DE KHALIL MACK: “Having a talent like that and ability of a guy like that, certainly you want to make it the centerpiece of the defense. We have to continue to develop our younger players to bring those guys up to speed and add people as we go through the draft and free agency. He’s a guy that you can really build a foundation through and around. He’s an exciting guy to be able to coach for sure.”

-- CB GAREON CONLEY: “He was my favorite corner coming out. His ability, he’s smooth in the pedal, he’s a good press corner, which we love to have. I’m excited to work with him.”

-- S OBI MELIFONWU: “Obi is a big guy that when you turn on the tape, you’re like, ‘Man, who is this son of a gun?’ He’s playing half the field, he’s down in the box playing the run.”

-- LB NAVORRO BOWMAN: (an impending free agent): “NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker, really. The thing that impressed me most with NaVorro is that they got him here midseason and by the end of the year, it appeared to me that he was kind of the leader of the unit, making a lot of calls. You can see that on tape. It looks like he is a smart guy that understands the game. I love smart guys that love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”

Raiders OC believes Raiders will 'grow as Derek Carr grows'


Raiders OC believes Raiders will 'grow as Derek Carr grows'

Quarterback Derek Carr’s stage is set for a giant step forward.

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson thinks it happened the moment Jon Gruden became Raiders head coach, though not solely due to the mentor and his proven offensive system. It’s also the 10-year contract formally bringing him back. There’s no telling whether Gruden mans his post a full decade, but an extended stretch is guaranteed.

That in itself, Olson, says, is invaluable to a passer entering his fifth season with a fourth head coach and third offensive scheme.

“Probably more so than anything,” Olson said, “this guy has to get some continuity.”

Gruden will provide that, with Olson a link to Carr’s past. Olson was Raiders offensive coordinator from 2013-14, and guided Carr’s rookie campaign. Quarterback and coordinator worked well together a 3-13 season where the Fresno State alum started every game.

They’ll reunite under Gruden and stick together this time. Olson, after all, signed a four-year deal that’s double the industry standard.

“Derek is going to be in a system now,” Olson said Wednesday in a conference call with local media. “He’s going to be coached by a head coach that’s going to be the play caller. That’s the first time Derek will have an offensive head coach that has a quarterback background and will be hands on with him on a day-to-day basis. I just see that growth curve skyrocketing because of that.”

Carr’s trajectory went straight up from his rookie season with Olson through the next two years – he was a legit MVP candidate in 2016 -- though it markedly dipped during a disappointing 6-10 campaign.

Gruden and Olson are generally charged with fixing an offense with talent but little production last year, though their primary objective remains more specific.

Get Carr back on track.

“Everything we do in this building is going to be about the development of Derek Carr,” Olson said. “The way we script practices, the way we are doing drills, everything that we do is all about the development of the quarterback. That will really speed the development of Derek. More so than anything is that there’s somebody here in place that’s going to make everything that we do and that everyone in the building understand that we grow as Derek Carr grows.”

Olson knows first-hand about Carr’s work ethic and acumen. He has seen athleticism, passing accuracy and a quick release turn football smarts into production. He told Gruden all that following the 2014 season, and believes Carr’s presence was an attraction to take the Raiders job.

“We drafted this guy to be that franchise quarterback," Olson said. "We feel like he has the potential to be that guy that can be here and play for 10 more years. It’s up to us to try and get that out of him. We’ll do everything in our power to make sure that that happens."