Athletics

A's Matt Olson's has long history of power surges in 60-game stretches

A's Matt Olson's has long history of power surges in 60-game stretches

Matt Olson broke the hamate bone in his right hand early in the second game of the 2019 season during an international series with the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo.

The injury was expected to bring about a power outage, even in Olson’s sweet swing. Others returning from the injury saw home run decreases in the short term at least, so the A’s first baseman wasn’t expected to be his typical mashing self after more than six weeks out of the lineup.

He defied expectations, hitting with as much power he has in his career. Olson believed having to keep his hands relaxed allowed him to connect regularly and go on quite a run.

Olson was awesome during the 60 games after his return, with 60 hits, 20 home runs and 40 RBIs during that span.

It wasn’t his first 60 game surge. He played just 59 games in 2017 but hit 24 home runs and 45 RBIs in that run.

The reason for seeking out 60 game hot streaks is obvious. That’s how many opportunities players will have in a shortened season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He isn’t the only A’s position player capable of getting scalding hot over a relatively short span. Designated hitter Khris Davis finished the 2018 season strong, with an unreal stat line over 60 games in a stretch that ended with the A’s second-to-last game.

He had 26 home runs and 57 RBIs in that run, hitting multiple home runs several times in that span. That’s the type of output that could carry a team, as Davis has done several times during his A’s career.

[RELATED: Olson most underrated player entering 2020 season]

While position players can have a greater impact while working every day, pitchers can come out strong at the start. Frankie Montas was in a great groove to start the year, with a 7-2 record over 12 starts in a 60-game window – he remained hot in two starts after that -- with a 2.83 ERA and 69 strikeouts to 19 walks over 70 innings pitched.

A positive test for performance-enhancing drugs spoiled that campaign, but a dominant pitcher can prevent prolonged losing streaks and be responsible for a huge chunk of wins in a season where each one comes at a premium.

Sean Manaea considering wearing mask in starts during 2020 MLB season

Sean Manaea considering wearing mask in starts during 2020 MLB season

With baseball activities picking back up over the weekend, we've seen most players wearing a mask during drills at ballparks around the country.

A's starter Sean Manaea is considering taking the precautionary measure a step further.

While speaking with media in Oakland on Sunday, the left-handed pitcher admitted he's considering wearing a mask during his starts this season.

While MLB isn't forcing players to wear a mask while playing, Manaea's action would go a long way to protecting himself and his A's teammates.

Masks have become a hot-button subject around the country, but baseball players know that they are walking a fine line between playing the 2020 MLB season and having it canceled because too many players contracted the coronavirus.

Even with the season cut down from 162 to 60 games, the A's have high expectations this year, and Manaea's presence on the field will go a long way to determining if they can achieve their goal of winning the World Series or if they will fall short again.

[RELATED: Diekmans appreciate Melvin's message to A's]

Manaea, 28, is expected to be one of the leaders of the A's rotation, along with veteran Mike Fiers. Last season, Manaea pitched in only five games after recovering from left shoulder surgery. But in those five starts, he was dominant, to the tune of a 1.21 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings.

The A's need that version of Manaea this season, and if it means wearing a mask during his start, it's a move he's willing to consider.

Jake Diekman's wife appreciates Bob Melvin's message to A's players

Jake Diekman's wife appreciates Bob Melvin's message to A's players

A's reliever Jake Diekman is considered a high-risk player for the 2020 MLB season, but as of now, he has no plans to opt out.

So that means his teammates need to be extra cautious regarding the coronavirus. If one of them contracts the virus, they could pass it to Diekman. That outcome could end up being very bad.

Since the age of 11, Diekman has had ulcerative colitis, a disease that affects the colon. In 2016, Diekman underwent surgery to remove his colon. A year later, he had a second procedure where doctors used his small intestines to create a "J-Pouch," a replacement colon.

No one understands the risk to Diekman more than A's manager Bob Melvin.

During a Zoom conference call with A's reporters Saturday, Melvin mentioned that he plans to address his team Sunday about taking the coronavirus precautions as seriously as possible.

“How important it is to try to stay in as much of a bubble as we possibly can,” Melvin said, according to The San Francisco Chronicle's Matt Kawahara. “It is literally like it is in real life, understanding that you’re doing this for the person next to you, too.

"You’re staying healthy for not only yourself and your family but your teammates and their families.”

Melvin will be sure to mention Diekman.

“His name will come up as well, that it’s very important to take this seriously,” Melvin said, according to Kawahara.

Melvin's comments made their way to Amanda Diekman, Jake's wife.

[RELATED: Diekman dominated TikTok during stoppage]

Melvin is widely loved by his players, and this is another example of why. He cares about all the guys.

The A's acquired Diekman last July from the Kansas City Royals, and re-signed him to a two-year contract this offseason. The 34-year-old is expected to be a key piece of Melvin's bullpen this season.