Athletics

Late home run hurts A's in loss to start road series vs. Angels

Late home run hurts A's in loss to start road series vs. Angels

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton hit two-run homers, Albert Pujols reached another milestone and the Los Angeles Angels rallied from an early deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Friday night.

With a single in the sixth inning, Pujols recorded his 1,000th career hit with the Angels. He became just the ninth player all-time with at least 1,000 hits in each league after getting 2,073 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Four former Angels are on the list: Dave Winfield, Frank Robinson, Vladimir Guerrero and Orlando Cabrera.

The Angels trailed 3-0 just four batters into the game. Starter Felix Pena regained his composure and gave up just two more hits and no runs while pitching into the sixth inning. Los Angeles improved to 8-1 over its last nine home games.

Matt Chapman and Khris Davis each hit home runs in the first inning for the A's, who are now 13-6 since the All-Star break. Chapman hit his 16th homer while Davis' two-run shot was his 33rd.

Calhoun connected for a two-run drive in the third, his 16th of the season and 11th over his last 25 games. Calhoun's 15 home runs since June 18 lead the American League.

Calhoun had just one home run and was batting .145 over 50 games when he went to the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique. In the 44 games since he has returned, he has hit 14 of his 15 home runs, with 34 runs scored and 35 RBIs.

Upton hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth off Lou Trivino (8-2).

Jim Johnson (4-2) retired the only batter he faced for the win. The Angels used three more pitchers in the ninth, with Blake Parker getting the final out for his 11th save.

Fernando Rodney made his A's debut, striking out a batter during a perfect seventh inning. Rodney was acquired Thursday in a trade from the Minnesota Twins.

RODNEY ARRIVES

A's manager Bob Melvin says Rodney doesn't have a set role. Instead, Melvin expects to mix and match his late-inning relievers in a stacked Oakland bullpen.

"More than anything, it probably allows us to not overuse a Lou Trivino, to not overuse a Yusmeiro Petit," Melvin said. "As much as we use our bullpen on certain days, we're not afraid to move guys to the back end of the bullpen if a (Blake) Treinen or (Jeurys) Familia needs time off, so it just makes us better."

Rodney had 25 saves for the Twins in 46 appearances with a 3.09 ERA, but the closer job will still belong to Treinen.

VLAD THE HALL OF FAMER

The Angels honored new Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero with an on-field pregame ceremony that pushed back first pitch about a half hour. Guerrero, who made quick introductory speech at Cooperstown last month, was even quicker when he spoke to the crowd in both English and Spanish on Friday.

"His forte is to not go up there and spew accolades about himself, and I think it makes him all the more special," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was so beloved by his teammates because when he was playing, he was the best player on the planet but . never talking about himself. He was a special talent."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: Mike Trout was put on the 10-day disabled list with an inflamed right wrist. Scioscia expects his All-Star center fielder to return on Thursday when his DL stint ends. .

UP NEXT

A's: RHP Edwin Jackson (3-2, 2.87 ERA) will take the mound Saturday in the middle game of the series, carrying the sixth lowest ERA in the American League since his contract was selected June 25.

Angels: RHP Tyler Skaggs (8-7, 3.34) is expected to make his return from the disabled list Saturday, having not pitched since July 31 because of a left adductor strain.

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

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USATSI

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

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USATSI

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

[RELATED: A's 3B coach Williams will manage in Korea next season]

Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.