Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's third straight win over Yankees

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's third straight win over Yankees

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OAKLAND — Leave it to the A’s to limp home from a 1-5 road trip, then completely turn it around against one of the American League’s top contenders.

They didn’t need late-game heroics Saturday, riding the strength of two Ryon Healy home runs to power past the New York Yankees 5-2 for their third win in as many days against the AL East leaders.

Matt Joyce also went deep, on the first pitch from Masahiro Tanaka (5-7) in the bottom of the first, and the A’s set themselves up for a chance to complete a four-game sweep on Father’s Day.

After beating the Yankees on rallies in their final time at-bat on the previous two nights, Oakland went a more conventional route Saturday, snapping a 2-2 tie with three runs in the fourth and getting a terrific group effort from the pitching staff. Before the game, manager Bob Melvin said his bullpen would likely be short-handed.

Then starter Jesse Hahn (3-4) could go just five innings after running his pitch count past 100 in that time on the mound. Liam Hendriks, Josh Smith, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle passed the baton to one another, and Oakland pitchers held New York to just one hit over the final seven innings.

Here’s five things you need to know from another very warm day at the Coliseum:

Healy gets the trifecta: Healy’s previous two-home run games came on June 3 and 5. He’s got 17 homers on the season. Oakland entered the day as one of just three teams in the majors with three players to have 15-plus home runs (Healy, Yonder Alonso and Khris Davis).

Joyce shines in the leadoff spot: Joyce drove the first pitch he saw in the first for a home run to right-center, jumpstarting a great day for him at the plate. He added a single, double and two walks, reaching base in all five plate appearances and scoring twice.

Casilla shaken up: In the fourth, A’s closer Santiago Casilla appeared to be struck by a foul ball in the dugout off the bat of teammate Jaycob Brugman. Casilla was tended to for a few minutes, then walked into the clubhouse with assistant trainer Brian Schulman. It’s unknown if Casilla would have been available anyway today after pitching each of the past two nights. His condition wasn’t immediately known.

Hahn gets the ‘W’: Hahn allowed just three hits over five innings and picked up just his second victory in his past nine starts. He walked three, struck out six and left after 105 pitches.

Lack of hustle draws boos: In the third, Khris Davis hit a towering pop-up nearly straight over his head that he obviously thought would stay foul. It didn’t, and after it drifted back into fair territory, the ball was dropped by Yankees third baseman Chase Headley. Davis never took a step toward first base, and it went for an easy 2-3 putout. Many in the crowd of 31,418 voiced their displeasure. Davis finished 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Josh Phegley

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USATSI

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Josh Phegley

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Josh Phegley served as the A's backup catcher in 2018, slashing .204/.255/.344 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 93 at-bats. Oakland performed extremely well with him in the lineup, going 20-7 in games he started.

Phegley, 30, is a career .223 hitter in six big-league seasons. His best year came in 2015 when he notched a career-high nine homers and 34 RBI in 73 games. 

Phegley earned $905K last season and is projected to get $1.2 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

Phegley has proven to be a reliable backup catcher. He is solid defensively and can handle himself at the plate as well. He is also well-liked by his teammates, and knows how to manage Oakland's pitching staff.

Even if the A's re-sign starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Phegley could provide a nice insurance policy.

Why he might be too pricey

The projected number of $1.2 million could be a bit high for a backup catcher, especially with Beau Taylor in the mix for less money, and prospect Sean Murphy tearing it up in the minor leagues. If the A's do re-sign Lucroy, Phegley could become expendable.

Verdict

Phegley has done everything asked of him over the past four seasons in Oakland, but $1.2 million seems a bit high for a backup catcher, especially when Taylor would cost less than half that.

Murphy, who just turned 24, slashed.288/.358/.498 in 68 games with Double-A Midland last season and figures to be the A's catcher of the future. With both Taylor and Murphy in the mix, Oakland can probably afford to let Phegley go at that price tag.     

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Dull

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USATSI

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Dull

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Ryan Dull split the 2018 season between Oakland and Triple-A Nashville. At the major league level, Dull made 28 appearances with a 4.26 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, with 21 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.

In his four-year MLB career, the 29-year-old right-hander is 8-9 with a 3.63 ERA. Dull earned $555K last season and is projected to get $900K in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

For just $900,000, Dull is certainly worth a look. His career numbers are solid, though he struggled at times over the past two seasons.

Dull likely won't be anything more than a depth reliever, but his arbitration projection is so low that the A's should at least consider bringing him back.

Why he might be too pricey

While Dull's numbers weren't terrible in 2018, he struggled to find his footing at the Major League level. He also had a rough time in 2017, going 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

Oakland has plenty of depth in the bullpen and there's a good chance Dull would spend much of 2019 in Triple-A.

Verdict

With all of the A's great young relief pitchers, Dull seems unlikely to return next season. Oakland has not been able to rely on him in big situations the past couple of seasons, and at 29 years old, his performance doesn't figure to drastically improve.

Even though Dull is only projected to get $900K, the A's could use that money to help keep other players around next season.