Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's extra innings loss to Jays

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's extra innings loss to Jays

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Held relatively quiet for most of the past three days, Josh Donaldson made his presence felt loudly at the Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.

His two-run, tie-breaking homer off Frankie Montas in the top of the 10th lifted the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-5 victory and denied the A’s their first home series sweep in more than a year. The one-time A’s All-Star third baseman came in 3-for-7 with one RBI over the first two games of the series. He drew three walks in his first four plate appearances Wednesday, then hit a towering shot to left-center in the 10th, after Oakland pitching had thrown seven scoreless innings to allow the A’s to chip away and tie the game.

It was a sour ending to a homestand that the A’s were hoping complete with a winning record. They settled for a 3-3 mark as they head out now for a six-game swing through Florida to play the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins.

The A’s haven't swept a series at the Coliseum since taking three from Minnesota May 30-June 1, 2016.

Here’s five takeaways from the homestand finale:

The long ball bites Montas again: The right-hander won a roster spot and was one of the A’s brightest stories coming out of spring training. But he’s struggled mightily of late and has allowed four homers over his past two outings. That’s nine homers he’s allowed in 28 2/3 innings this season.

There was a Rajai Davis sighting: The A’s leadoff man, batting .198 entering the day, had a double, single and triple over his first three plate appearances. He scored four runs as part of a 4-for-5 afternoon. Well, it’s a start. The veteran has been struggling enough that manager Bob Melvin has cycled five other players through the leadoff spot trying to find the right fit.

Jharel Cotton salvaged his afternoon: The rookie hit major turbulence in a four-run second, when he served up Kevin Pillar’s three-run homer and Justin Smoak’s solo shot. But battling command issues early, and with his pitch count on the rise, Cotton buckled down and retired 13 of his final 15 hitters. He left after six innings with fours all across his pitching line — 4 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Liam Hendriks absolutely dealt vs. his old team: The reliever entered in the eighth and retired all six batters he faced. That included three strikeouts. After ringing up Ryan Goins to end the top of the ninth, the former Blue Jay gave a huge fist pump and yell as he walked off the mound.

Plouffe snaps his dry spell: The A’s third baseman homered in the fourth to end a career long 0-for-25 streak.

A's GM David Forst says free agent left-handed relievers 'on our radar'

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USATSI

A's GM David Forst says free agent left-handed relievers 'on our radar'

LAS VEGAS - For most of last season, Ryan Buchter was the only left-hander in the A's bullpen. David Forst would like to change that in 2019.

Oakland's general manager said Wednesday he is interested in adding another southpaw to the pen.

"It's on our radar. It's something that we talk about and have reached out to some agents and some other teams about."

The A's bullpen was dominant last season, despite having just one left-hander. That was thanks in large part to right-handers like Blake Treinen and Lou Trivino, who had no problem retiring both right-handed and left-handed hitters.

"In terms of building the ideal bullpen, adding another lefty would be great," Forst started, before noting, "I don't know where it's going to come from right now."

The A's are also interested in bringing back right-hander Shawn Kelley and appear to be progressing in negotiations. But even if Oakland doesn't add another reliever, Forst is content with his current group. 

"You look at what's in place now with Treinen, Trivino, and Rodney at the back, Buchter, Petit, Pagan, J.B. Wendelken did a nice job, Liam (Hendriks) is back. So you've got a lot of good pieces in place, but it's still an area we can continue to strengthen."

If the A's do make a move, it likely won't be until after the Winter Meetings. Forst told reporters Wednesday night that nothing was imminent, though he mentioned good progress had been made with multiple free agents.
 

Sources: A's, Shawn Kelley's representatives have 'positive dialogue'

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USATSI

Sources: A's, Shawn Kelley's representatives have 'positive dialogue'

LAS VEGAS - The A's already have one of the strongest bullpens in baseball, but they might not be done adding relievers.

According to multiple sources, Oakland has met with Shawn Kelley's representatives this week at the Winter Meetings. One source described the meeting as producing "positive dialogue."

Kelley, 34, went 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 19 games with the A's last season after coming over from the Nationals. He loved his experience in Oakland, saying it rejuvenated him after he had considered retiring.

Kelley may not be the only free agent reliever the A's try to bring back next season. Ken Rosenthal suggested Oakland could also target 29-year-old Jeurys Familia.

Familia went 4-2 with one save and a 3.45 ERA in 30 games last season with the A's after being acquired from the New York Mets. However, Familia earned $7.925 million last season, by far the most of any Oakland reliever.

Rosenthal also noted the A's could target "inexpensive" starting pitchers. As of Wednesday, the team was still talking to right-handers Edwin Jackson and Trevor Cahill, though no deal was imminent