Athletics

A's closer Blake Treinen misses out on AL Reliever of the Year to Edwin Diaz

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USATSI

A's closer Blake Treinen misses out on AL Reliever of the Year to Edwin Diaz

A's closer Blake Treinen did not cap off his career year with the AL Reliever of the Year Award, missing out as Seattle Mariners closer Edwin Diaz won the honor. 

Treinen, one of three finalists, was named an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2018. He finished the season with a career-high 38 saves and a career-low 0.78 ERA and 0.834 WHIP.

The margins were razor-thin between him and Diaz. Diaz also made an All-Star game for the first time in his career, saving 57 games for the Mariners and posting a 1.96 ERA and 0.791 WHIP. His FIP (1.61) was slightly better than Treinen's (1.82), and he also struck out more batters per nine innings (15.2 vs. 11.2).

Former A's relievers Dennis Eckersley and Rollie Fingers were among the eight, all-time greats that formed the voting panel for the award. 

Liam Hendriks rebounds, breaks Rollie Fingers' A's strikeout record

Liam Hendriks rebounds, breaks Rollie Fingers' A's strikeout record

OAKLAND -- One of baseball's most common clichés is that relief pitchers need to have a short memory. A's closer Liam Hendriks has a slightly different variation of that rule.

"I don't know if it's a short memory or just have a really bad memory," he joked Tuesday.

Hendriks suffered a rare blown save in Monday's loss to the Kansas City Royals but bounced back with a dominant ninth inning Tuesday night, as the A's picked up a 2-1 win. 

"I spoke to my wife about it last night," Hendriks told NBC Sports California. "Everything felt good, but it didn't feel good, if that makes any sense. My ball felt light, and that's abnormal for me when I'm going out there.

"But I worked on it a little bit today, made sure I got my legs under me a little bit, and the results were there. I was able to throw some good breaking balls when I needed to and kept them off balance enough where, if I left a fastball in a bad spot, they were able to miss it because I had set them up."

Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "It's very rare when Liam blows a save. He's been great for us all year. So it was good to get him right back in there."

Hendriks set the Royals down in order in the ninth, recording a pair of strikeouts to give him 118 for the season, with 116 coming as a reliever. That broke the A's record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher, previously held by Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, who had 115 in 1975.

"It was cool," Hendriks said. "It's not something I started the year out after, but as it kept getting closer, I was a little bit aware of it. ... Anytime you get talked about in the same sentence as Rollie Fingers, it's a pretty big deal. I'm just happy to bounce back from last night. Obviously, last night wasn't the best situation for me, but I came back and had that vigor again and was able to put it to bed."

[RELATED: How A's Wendelken has earned Melvin's trust in big spots]

Hendriks has enjoyed a breakout season at the age of 30. The right-hander is 4-3 with 23 saves and a 1.66 ERA with those 118 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings.

"(The strikeout) is his biggest weapon," Melvin said. "It gets him out of jams with guys on base. He's got a much better slider to keep them off his fastball. His fastball (velocity) is the best it's been in his career. But I think that the command of his breaking ball allows his fastball to play up and he's been striking guys out all year."

With all of the bullpen struggles Oakland has experienced this season, Hendriks has been a godsend. His ninth-inning dominance has allowed the A's to remain in the driver's seat for a second straight postseason berth.

A's vs. Royals lineups: Ramón Laureano gets day off, Josh Phegley returns

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A's vs. Royals lineups: Ramón Laureano gets day off, Josh Phegley returns

OAKLAND -- After a disappointing 6-5 loss in Monday's series opener, the A's will try to bounce back against the lowly Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night at the Coliseum.

Oakland will be without outfielder Ramón Laureano, as the team tries to give him plenty of games off in his recovery from a stress reaction in his right shin. Robbie Grossman will replace Laureano in right field and bat eighth.

Josh Phegley returns to the lineup in the ninth position and will handle the catching duties. Phegley has already recorded a career-high 12 home runs and 59 RBI this season.

Veteran left-hander Brett Anderson takes the mound for the A's seeking his 13th win of the season, which would extend his career-high. Anderson, 31, is 12-9 with a 4.07 ERA in 29 starts. In three career outings against the Royals, he is 2-1 with an 8.16 ERA.

Kansas City counters with right-hander Jorge López. The 26-year-old is 4-7 with a 6.09 ERA in 36 games this season, including 15 starts. Lopez has only faced the A's once in his career, allowing five runs in just 1 2/3 innings last month. 

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Royals game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:07.

Kansas City Royals (56-95)
2B Whit Merrifield
SS Adalberto Mondesí
DH Jorge Soler
3B Hunter Dozier
LF Alex Gordon
RF Ryan McBroom
1B Cheslor Cuthbert
CF Bubba Starling
C Nick Dini

RHP Jorge López (4-7, 6.09 ERA)

Oakland A's (90-61)
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha 
LF Seth Brown
DH Khris Davis
2B Jurickson Profar
RF Robbie Grossman
C Josh Phegley

LHP Brett Anderson (12-9, 4.07 ERA)