Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Graveman's rough return in A's loss

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Graveman's rough return in A's loss


SAN FRANCISCO — It wasn’t exactly the return Kendall Graveman had in mind.

The right-hander’s first major league start since mid-May lasted just two innings Thursday, the Giants knocking him around for seven runs in an 11-2 rout that earned San Francisco a split of the four-game Bay Bridge Series.

Perhaps the shores of McCovey Cove just don’t agree with Graveman. Thursday’s outing marked the second-shortest start of his career. The only shorter one? That also came at AT&T Park, where he lasted just 1 1/3 innings in a July 2015 start.

After missing 2 1/2 months with a strained throwing shoulder, Graveman’s fastball clocked as high as 96 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun. But the Giants were squaring up everything. Four consecutive hits in the first keyed a four-run rally, then they added three more in the second wit help from Brandon Belt’s two-run homer.

Graveman (2-3) gave up seven runs on eight hits total, and his pitch count was already at 40 when manager Bob Melvin lifted him for a pinch hitter in the third inning.

Before you attempt to wipe this one from your memory, here’s five takeaways from Thursday:

THE VETERAN STARTERS STRUGGLED THIS SERIES: It was rookies Paul Blackburn and Daniel Gossett who earned Oakland’s two victories on the mound. Meanwhile, Graveman and Sean Manaea — the rotation’s most experienced starters after the Sonny Gray trade — combined for just five innings and gave up 13 runs (9 earned) in their two starts total.

SMITH’S RETURN TO THE BULLPEN: For the second time in three nights, the A’s needed a reliever to soak up a big workload. On this night it was Chris Smith, whose previous four outings came in a starting role. Smith gave up four runs over four innings, and in the context of this game, he served an important role in keeping Melvin from having to burn through any more relievers. But he did allow a three-run homer to Giants pitcher Ty Blach, one batter after intentionally walking Joe Panik to get to the pitcher’s spot.

It was that kind of night for the A’s.

RAJAI’S BIG MOMENT: One-time Giant Rajai Davis, batting leadoff for the second night in a row as the Giants started another lefty, homered to left in the eighth inning to provide A’s fans their biggest moment to cheer.

KD RETURNED TO THE LINEUP: After sitting Wednesday with a sore hamstring, Khris Davis returned to left field and batted cleanup. The trio of Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder and Matt Chapman, which enjoyed a big game Wednesday, all moved down a notch to hit 5-6-7 and went just 3-for-12 with an RBI.

GOSSETT GOES DOWN: Despite a strong seven-inning effort Wednesday, rookie Daniel Gossett was the choice to be sent down to clear the needed 25-man roster spot for Graveman. Melvin said it was tough news to break. But with the A’s finally getting a day off Monday, they don’t need a fifth starter for a while, and Melvin said the A’s wanted to keep their other four starters on turn and didn’t want Gossett to miss a turn or pitch out of the bullpen. Expect him to be up again fairly soon.

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs McGwire's rookie HR record


POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs McGwire's rookie HR record

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports California is looking back at the A's 50 Memorable Moments since the franchise relocated to Oakland in 1968. Below are the next two moments you can vote on. Tune into A's Pregame Live today at 12:30pm to watch highlights of the two moments. After the A's and White Sox conclude their doubleheader, tune into A's Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round!

1. Dallas Braden's Perfect Game on Mother's Day 2010 (12-time winner -- Defeated Terrence Long's game-saving catch over the wall at Fenway in 2002)

(From Dallas Braden)

Well, they haven’t taken it away yet so I guess it might not be a dream after all. It’s still insane to think that on such a special day for so many people, my teammates and I were able to etch ourselves into the hearts of A’s fans everywhere.

In the moment, I had no clue. At the same time, I was fully aware. Completely focused and emotionally distracted at the same time. Hell, I talked myself into the wrong count in the last at-bat of the game. The 27th out. In that moment I had no clue. No clue I’d become the vehicle for such an emotional moment shared between mothers and their families across baseball that special day. I do believe that’s what I was -- merely a vehicle to connect people through our beautiful game. My mom, along with the baseball gods, and Landon Powell, I guess, all steered us down the path of history and to be able to share and relive those special moments and memories is a blessing a young little leaguer can only dream of.

I hope that through my passion for the game you feel the same love I, myself, my wife, baby girl, and grandmother have felt from each of you, the fans of the Green & Gold. We couldn’t be happier to share this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day from here on out, TOGETHER! It’s a perfect fit if you ask me.


2. Mark McGwire's rookie home run record in 1987

(From Dave Stewart)

It was an unbelievable year for him as a rookie. It seemed like, every time you turned around, he was hitting a home run. He had a lot of solo home runs, the guys started calling him “Marco-Solo”.

He was hitting home runs at an unbelievable pace, I think if my memory serves me right, he was hitting a home run every 9 at-bats. They were towering home runs, they weren’t line-drive home runs, towering shots that were hit way out of the ballpark.

He was always real calm, and in that period of time, real quite, not vocal at all, he got to the ballpark early, got his work in. I mean he worked on his skill, he worked on his trade, people talked about his hitting, but I thought he was a gold glove first baseman as well.

He really worked at being a good baseball player

When McGwire came in, he didn’t make our team as our first baseman, he made it as our third baseman, I don’t remember our first baseman’s name at the time, probably nobody does now, but we sent him down and Mac took over at first base and took off, he was on a tear.  For a rookie season, that’s an unbelievable year.


A's pummel Padres with barrage of long home runs

A's pummel Padres with barrage of long home runs


SAN DIEGO -- Light-hitting Franklin Barreto connected for a 424-foot, three-run home run, one of five long balls the Oakland Athletics hit in routing the San Diego Padres 12-4 on Wednesday.

Josh PhegleyMark CanhaMatt Olson and Jed Lowrie also went deep for Oakland.

The A's hit seven homers in sweeping the two-game series. Stephen Piscotty tied Tuesday night's game with a homer with two outs in the ninth off Brad Hand and Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th for a 4-2 victory.

Barreto and Phegley went back-to-back with their first homers of the season in the second inning off left-hander Joey Lucchesi (3-3), who had been on the disabled list for more than a month. Barreto, hitting .071 coming in and batting seventh, homered into Oakland's bullpen well beyond the fence in center field on a full-count pitch. Phegley homered off the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left field corner on a 1-1 pitch. Lucchesi hit Olson with a pitch opening the inning and then walked Piscotty ahead of Barreto's homer.

Robbie Erlin got the last out of the second before allowing consecutive homers to Canha and Olson in the third. It was Canha's ninth and Olson's 15th. Phegley added a sacrifice fly.

Lowrie connected off Phil Hughes in the eighth, his 11th.

Frankie Montas (4-1) benefited from the long balls as he threw 6 2-3 strong innings. He held the Padres to one run and five hits, struck out six and walked three. He allowed Cory Spangenberg's RBI single in the third.

Lucchesi went just 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and three hits.

Trailing 10-1, the Padres had infielder Cory Spangenberg pitch the ninth. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in his second appearance of the season.

San Diego's Christian Villanueva homered in the ninth, his 16th.

Padres: Placed RHP Bryan Mitchell on the 10-day disabled list with an impingement in his right elbow to make room for Lucchesi on the 25-man roster. Mitchell (0-3, 7.08 ERA) hasn't pitched since June 5. Mitchell has been disappointing since being acquired from the New York Yankees along with third baseman Chase Headley. The Padres wanted Mitchell so badly they were willing to take on Headley's $13 million salary, but the deal has backfired. Headley was released on May 19 and Mitchell was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen.

Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45) is scheduled to start Thursday night's opener of a four-game series at the Chicago White Sox, who counter with RHP Lucas Giolito(4-7, 7.19).

Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.51) is set to start the opener of a four-game series Thursday night at San Francisco, opposite LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67).