Melvin brings A's home to take on Kansas City


Melvin brings A's home to take on Kansas City

June 14, 2011

KANSAS CITY (29-37) vs.
A'S (28-39)
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California

(AP) -- Not much has gone right for Trevor Cahill or the Oakland Athletics of late. A matchup with the Kansas City Royals could be just what both need to turn their fortunes around.Looking to win a fourth consecutive home start against the Royals, Cahill takes the mound seeking his first victory in more than a month as A's interim manager Bob Melvin makes his home debut Tuesday night.
Melvin took over for the fired Bob Geren on Thursday but the last-place Athletics (28-39) didn't immediately show improvement, dropping three of four to the Chicago White Sox over the weekend.
Oakland fell 5-4 on Sunday and committed six errors during the series. The A's 51 errors are the second most in the AL - one behind Texas' total.
REWIND: A's rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Sox
"We don't have a true third baseman right now, but we're not going to use that as an excuse," Melvin said. "We're going to continue to work on our defense and it's going to get better."
RELATED: Despite loss, Melvin says A's effort was 'definitely there'
The club's starting pitching also needs to get better, as Oakland starters have gone 0-10 with a 7.23 ERA during the team's 1-12 stretch.Cahill (6-4, 3.18 ERA), who had his turn moved up to Tuesday due to Monday's off day, will be looking to bounce back after tying the second-shortest start of his career his last time out.The right-hander lasted 2 2-3 innings and allowed a season-worst six runs in a 9-4 defeat to the White Sox on Thursday. Only a 2 1-3-inning, seven-run effort in May 2009 was shorter.
RELATED: Trevor Cahill 2011 game logs
After going 6-1 with a 1.79 ERA over his first 10 starts, Cahill has gone 0-3 with a 7.25 ERA in his four most recent outings. He hasn't won since May 9.Given his success in this series at home, he could be in line for a strong performance. Cahill, who pitched a three-hitter in a 6-0 win over the Royals on Aug. 2 for his only career shutout, is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA against Kansas City in Oakland.The A's have won 14 of 20 meetings with the Royals, who had lost 14 of 17 on the road overall before taking two of three from the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. Kansas City (29-37) prevailed 9-0 on Sunday and outscored the Angels 18-9 during the three-game set.The Royals have won three of four since a 4-14 slump.
NEWS: MLB standings
"We need to get it turned around and get on a bit of a run," manager Ned Yost said. "I think we've won (three of four) after that little stretch that was painful to live through. But, if we can get on a bit of a run, we can make it interesting."Rookie Danny Duffy (0-2, 5.55) aims for his first major league win in his sixth try. The left-hander gave up season highs of five runs and eight hits over four innings of a 9-8 loss to Toronto on Wednesday."I'm frustrated," he said. "I went out to do my job and I tried. I've got no regrets but I want nothing more than to win for these guys. My frustration is about that. I want to win for these guys."

Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots


Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the Patriots

MEXICO CITY – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City:

1. So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders aren’t stacking wins as they’d like. Nobody in the AFC West is, either. The Chiefs lost another one, meaning the AFC West crown remains within reach. They’re two games back in the division and one back in the wild card race.

That, above all else, will keep the Raiders motivated after a disastrous loss to New England.

“We're professionals and to me, so long as you have hope, you keep your hope, you keep hope alive,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “So, we'll continue to scratch and claw and fight for everything we can.”

The Raiders can harken Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber.” So you’re saying there’s a chance?

The Raiders will only stay in it if they start a prolonged winning streak. There’s a chance do that on an upcoming two-game home stand. They play Denver and the New York Giants, respectively, in Oakland over the next fortnight. Those teams have five wins between them.

Wins can’t be assumed with the Raiders. With their inconsistency and mistake-prone play, they can lose to anyone.

Fight remains in this group. They’ll continue to push, especially with a 9-7 record being a legitimate playoff contender. They haven’t played worthy of such consideration, but remain hopeful a switch gets flipped.

“We are who we are, we're not going to turn on each other, we're not going to turn on anything about what we do,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Obviously, we know that our culture and everything that we do works, because we have seen it work.”

2. Receiver corps becoming a weak spot

The Raiders have a talented group of receivers lacking consistency and production. That was the case on Sunday, when pass catchers hindered offensive flow and scoring opportunities.

Seth Roberts was the biggest offender. He had a drop, a false start and lost a fumble near the goal line with the Patriots up 14-0 late in the first half. Roberts had 12 yards in his pocket but held the ball one-handed, away from his body fighting for more. Marquis Flowers knocked it free and Patrick Chung recovered.

That was the turning point, a true 10-point swing. The Raiders lost a chance to reach the end zone, and allowed New England to get a field goal as the half expired.

“That was a major turn of events,” Del Rio said.

The slot receiver wasn’t the only receiver who stalled the Raiders offense. That group had five drops, according to Pro Football Focus, including two from Michael Crabtree. Johnny Holton wasn’t credited with a drop, but he had a perfectly thrown deep ball clang off his helmet and shoulder pads.

It’s a bad night in a bad year for the Raiders receivers, who haven’t been producing.

3. Lopsided score keeps Marshawn from going Beast Mode

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player who had a good Sunday. The bruising back ran roughshod over New England’s front seven, right from the start. He totaled 67 yards on 11 carries, and seemed primed for a big day and a higher-than-usual carry volume.

He and the Raiders run blocking was consistent, allowing him to reach the second level on several occasions.

The lopsided score, however, meant the Raiders had to abandon the ground game.

“I thought we ran the ball well early,” Del Rio said. “I would like to have ended up with 30-plus rush attempts in the ball game, but you got to stay within reasonable amount of the score in order to stick with the run.”

The Raiders were down two touchdowns in a flash, and were three scores behind at the half. That forced Derek Carr to chuck it towards an unreliable receiver corps. That method proved inefficient and never created the big moments.

Lynch has run well since returning from a one-game suspension. He has 25 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. If there’s a positive to take from Sunday’s beat down, Lynch’s efficiency might be it.

Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad


Del Rio calls out NFL for Raiders losing home games to go abroad

MEXICO CITY – The Raiders have played in Mexico City the last two years, and have given up a home game to do it.

You already know head coach Jack Del Rio’s stance on the matter. He doesn’t like it. Not one bit.

The NFL announced Sunday morning that Mexico City will host games annually through 2021. The Raiders will be on the short list to return during that span.

“They’ve done a nice job for us over the last two years,” Del Rio said. “If it was a road game, I’d enjoy it. If they stop making (international contests) our home games, we’ll be fine.”

Hate to be the bearer of bad news Jack, but the Raiders will keep giving home games away. That’s expected each year until the Raiders formally move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders might not come back to Mexico for a third straight season, but could host a game in London next year. The NFL sent four games to the United Kingdom this year.

The Raiders have a massive fan base in England and Mexico, which makes them an attractive option to play abroad.

It might make financial sense for the team and the league to expand its base beyond borders, but the football people don’t find it fun.

The Raiders had more fans watching Sunday’s 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots at Estadio Azteca, but it’s no substitute for playing in Oakland.

“I think the crowd down here is pretty excited for the Raiders, so we appreciate that,” Del Rio said. “When you travel four-and-a-half hours, you’re not at home. We appreciate the hospitality and the good people who came out and supported us, but it’s hard to call it a home game.”

This one, especially. The Raiders had overwhelming support last year’s game against Houston, but Patriots fans were a large and vocal minority. They had plenty to cheer, as the Patriots waxed the Silver and Black over four quarters.

It’s hard to say the Raiders had a home crowd this time around, with plenty of noise when they were on offense.

“You know what, traveling down here, I think it was like four hours or something like that, and getting here, I think that hospitality was great, but it really wasn't, it wasn't the Coliseum,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It didn’t have that feel. Now, we loved playing here, we loved coming down here and playing, but it felt more neutral.”