Athletics

Instant Replay: A's shut out in Milwaukee, lose fifth straight

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Instant Replay: A's shut out in Milwaukee, lose fifth straight

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MILWAUKEE — The A’s dropped in to Miller Park for a quick two-game series and left without making much of a disturbance.

Their two losses to the Brewers, including Wednesday’s 4-0 blanking, were marked by their most meager offensive showing over back-to-back games in recent memory. Oakland combined for just four runs during the mini-sweep, but that doesn’t tell the full story.

The A’s were no-hit through at least the first five innings of both games. And though they pushed four runs across in Tuesday’s game, the accurate reflection of their series offensively was that they collected base hits in just five of the 18 innings played.

Right-hander Chase Anderson (4-6) limited them to two hits over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday. Meanwhile, A’s starter Jesse Hahn struggled mightily for the second outing in a row. He gave up four runs on eight hits and was pulled after 3 2/3 innings. In two starts on this road trip, Hahn (2-4) pitched a total of just 4 1/3 innings while allowing 11 earned runs and 14 hits. His overall ERA rose to 6.49

But even if Hahn had his best stuff, it wouldn’t have mattered with the A’s producing so little at the plate.

The A’s have lost a season-high tying five in a row on the heels of a five-game winning streak, as they move on to Cincinnati for a three-game series that completes this road trip.

Starting pitching report:
Hahn just isn’t missing enough bats right now. And even balls that aren’t hit hard seem to be finding holes. The Brewers plated single runs in the first and second to take an early lead. In the fourth, the bases were loaded with two outs when Scooter Gennett blooped a two-run single to right that chased Hahn from the game.

A revealing stat: Hahn is allowing a .457 average (16-for-35) to batters leading off an inning. On Wednesday, three of four leadoff hitters singled off him and all eventually came around to score.

Bullpen report:
In an ongoing theme, manager Bob Melvin had to burn through more bullpen arms than he’d prefer. Ryan Dull, Daniel Coulombe, John Axford and Marc Rzepczynski combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

At the plate:
It wasn’t like the A’s ran into a buzzsaw of dominant starting pitching. Both Tuesday starter Zach Davies and Anderson entered this series with ERAs north of 4.50. But though the A’s rallied late Tuesday to put a scare in the Brewers, they couldn’t put up any sort of fight Wednesday with the bats. Their first hit came from Jake Smolinski with one out in the sixth, then Jed Lowrie and Billy Burns notched the other two.

In the field:
At least the A’s didn’t commit an error.

Attendance:
A crowd of 18,188 was on hand.

Up next:
After taking Thursday off — their third day off in the past eight — the A’s begin a three-game series at Cincinnati on Friday. In the opener, Sonny Gray (3-5, 5.77) will oppose Anthony DeSclafani (0-0, 0.00), with a 4:10 first pitch. On Saturday, Kendall Graveman (2-6, 5.49) matches up against former Athletic Dan Straily (3-2, 3.34) at 1:10 p.m. The finale pits Sean Manaea (2-4, 6.20) against lefty John Lamb (1-3, 5.58) at 10:10 a.m. All three games will air on CSN California.

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

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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.

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Spending time in Los Rincones de Guananico

A post shared by Bartolo Colon (@bcolon40) on

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Los rincones de Guananico

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

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Eso es en los caño de maimon

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[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

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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.