Athletics

Instant Replay: Gray's return lone bright spot in loss to Angels

as-instant-replay.jpg

Instant Replay: Gray's return lone bright spot in loss to Angels

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM — A healthy Sonny Gray returned to the mound Wednesday night and looked sharp in his one inning of work.

It was a different inning, the fourth to be exact, that did the A’s in during an 8-6 defeat that completed a three-game sweep for the Los Angeles Angels.

The home team sent 14 men to the plate in an eight-run fourth off Ross Detwiler, who took over after Gray threw a scoreless first and exited, as was the plan in his first game since returning from a strained forearm.

The A’s watched a re-run they could have done without. The Angels busted out for seven runs in the fourth inning Tuesday night against Daniel Mengden in an 8-1 victory.

Oakland would make things interesting, getting Khris Davis’ 41st home run in the sixth and then a three-run shot from Marcus Semien in the eighth that closed the gap to 8-6. 

The story of the night for the A’s was Gray, who logged a scoreless first with one hit allowed and one strikeout over 18 pitches. His fastball hit 95 miles per hour, and he ended the inning by getting Jefry Marte on a check-swing strikeout with a cutter. Manager Bob Melvin had mentioned a 30-pitch limit for Gray but added that he might not even go that long. Given the right-hander’s sharp form in the first, the A’s had to be content with Gray taking those good vibes into the offseason.

He hadn’t pitched since going on the disabled list following an Aug. 6 start. He’s gradually been working his way back, and the idea was to get him just a taste of big league competition to end the season on, being that his rehab went smoothly.

Starting pitching report

From all visible indications, and judging by the radar gun, Gray appeared 100 percent. He’d said he was looking forward to facing big league hitters again, no matter how brief his outing might be. Kole Calhoun led off the bottom of the first with a single. Mike Trout and C.J. Cron both flied out to right and then Marte went down on a check-swing, the kind of indecision from a hitter that signaled Gray’s stuff was in solid form.

Bullpen report

Mike Trout left the game in the eighth after getting hit with a John Axford fastball in the back of the left shoulder. Trout began going toward first but wound up making a U-turn for the dugout. His immediate status wasn’t known.

Detwiler was originally scheduled to start Wednesday before the A’s decided to wedge in Gray to get him one last outing. Calhoun’s two-run homer was the most damaging blow off him in the Angels’ eight-run fourth.

At the plate

Ryon Healy, who played in front of roughly 100 family and friends in the crowd the night before, went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs to raise his average to .313.

In the field

Catcher Bruce Maxwell made a fielding error that allowed one of the runs to score in the fourth, a chain of events that the A’s would just as soon forget.

Attendance

The crowd was 32,524.

Up next

Kendall Graveman (10-11, 4.19) and Ariel Miranda (5-2, 4.10) get things started Thursday in a four-game series between the A’s and Mariners at Safeco Field. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

Former A's pitcher Bartolo Colon throws to kids in Dominican Republic

bartolocolonrangersusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Former A's pitcher Bartolo Colon throws to kids in Dominican Republic

Sorry Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Mike Trout.

But Bartolo Colon is the greatest baseball player ever.

Colon is an absolute legend. He pitched last season with the Texas Rangers at the age of 45, and he probably wanted to keep pitching this season, but no team signed him.

So what better way to scratch the pitching itch than to crash some kids' pick-up baseball game and throw heat by the overmatched youngsters.

That's exactly what the former A's pitcher did this week, and he posted videos on his Instagram feed.

View this post on Instagram

Spending time in Los Rincones de Guananico

A post shared by Bartolo Colon (@bcolon40) on

View this post on Instagram

Los rincones de Guananico

A post shared by Bartolo Colon (@bcolon40) on

But Big Sexy wasn't done. The very next day, Colon crashed another pick-up game.

View this post on Instagram

Eso es en los caño de maimon

A post shared by Bartolo Colon (@bcolon40) on

[RELATED: What are A's playoff chances?]

Can a major league team please sign Bartolo? He's a national treasure, and we deserve to watch him pitch for another 15 years.

AL wild-card race reset: Breaking down A's chances of making playoffs

asusatsi.jpg
USATSI

AL wild-card race reset: Breaking down A's chances of making playoffs

OAKLAND -- With just nine games left in the regular season, the A's are in a great position to lock up a playoff berth for the second consecutive year.

Oakland sits atop the AL wild-card standings at 92-61, two games ahead of Tampa Bay and 2 1/2 games in front of Cleveland. The A's also have the easiest remaining schedule of the three clubs.

Here's a breakdown of each team's final three series and their odds to make the playoffs:

A's: 92-61 (9 games remaining)

3 vs. Rangers (74-79)
2 at Angels (69-83)
4 at Mariners (64-88)

Oakland will play its final nine games of the regular season against sub-.500 AL West opponents. With a magic number of eight to clinch the top-wild card position, the A's likely only need to win five of the nine games. A 6-3 record would just about guarantee them the top spot.

According to FanGraphs, the A's have a 96.3 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Rays: 90-63 (9 games remaining)

4 vs. Red Sox (79-72)
2 vs. Yankees (99-54)
3 at Blue Jays (61-91)

The Rays have the most difficult remaining schedule of the three wild-card contenders, with six games against the Red Sox and Yankees. New York still has something to play for as they try to beat out Houston for home-field advantage, while Boston's lineup is always dangerous.

FanGraphs gives Tampa Bay a 59.9 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Indians: 89-63 (10 games remaining)

1 vs. Tigers (45-106)
3 vs. Phillies (78-72)
3 at White Sox (66-86)
3 at Nationals (83-68)

The Indians have two tough series remaining as they battle the Phillies and Nationals from the NL East. Washington currently leads the NL wild-card race, while Philadelphia is three games out of the second spot.

According to FanGraphs, Cleveland has a 44.0 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Tiebreakers

The A's own tiebreakers against both the Rays and Indians, having won the season series against each club. That means, in the case of a two-team tie between the A's and either Tampa Bay or Cleveland, Oakland would still host the Wild Card Game.

[RELATED: Red-hot A's have work to do to attract fans]

It gets more complicated if all three teams tie for the two wild-card positions. The A's still own the tiebreaker, so they would host the Rays, with the winner earning the top wild-card spot. The Indians would then host the loser, with the winner of that game claiming the second wild-card position.

Of course, if the A's handle their business, it won't come down to tiebreakers.