Athletics

A's need to move on from last season and quickly find sense of urgency

A's need to move on from last season and quickly find sense of urgency

It's no longer early in the season.

The A's have already played 44 games, more than a quarter of their regular-season schedule, and they find themselves dead last in the AL West at 19-25.

Far too often, the team has looked lifeless, just going through the motions without passion or intensity. It's almost as if they expect to just flip a switch at some point and recreate last year's incredible second-half run.

"We have a group of guys that won a lot of games last year and we still feel like we have a chance to do that," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters after Tuesday's loss.

Starting pitcher Mike Fiers expressed a similar sentiment on Monday.

"We'll be fine. This team is too good to be losing as many games as we have so far. We've just got to put it all together and play good baseball throughout the whole game, through all nine. We've got a lot of guys being inconsistent, especially early on, so everyone knows what they need to do. We'll be back."

The problem is that last year is long gone. It's a new season and a new team, and this team has been one of the worst in baseball.

Legendary football coach Bill Parcells famously said that you are what your record says you are. For the A's, that means 19-25, six games below .500, a point they never reached last year.

"It's not like we're playing bad baseball," Tuesday's starter Brett Anderson told reporters. "It's just that we can't really get good starting pitching to sync up with timely hitting. Whenever we do that for consecutive series, we're a pretty formidable team. But we just haven't done that on a consistent basis so far. Whenever we do, it will be pretty scary."

That optimism might sound nice, but it's going to take more than words to turn things around. Oakland needs a spark. We thought Fiers' no-hitter last week might do the trick, but the team is just 3-4 since then.

Perhaps the answer lies in Triple-A in the form of a Jorge Mateo or Franklin Barreto. Maybe the team needs a shakeup in the batting order.

[RELATED: A's trade Morales to Yanks for PTBNL or cash considerations]

One thing is for certain. The A's need to start winning some games in a hurry. They have already dropped to 9.5 games behind the first-place Houston Astros. At this rate, the division may be out of reach by July.

A Wild Card spot won't be much easier to capture. The American League boasts incredible depth, featuring perennial World Series contenders like the Yankees and Red Sox, not to mention upstart squads like the Rays and Twins.

There's a thin line between panic and urgency. Obviously, the A's don't want to panic. But they sure could use a sense of urgency.

A's minor league coach Webster Garrison tests positive for coronavirus

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AP

A's minor league coach Webster Garrison tests positive for coronavirus

The coronavirus has touched the A's organization.

A's minor league coach Webster Garrison has contracted COVID-19 and is on a ventilator, his fiancé Nikki Trudeaux said in a social media post Friday.

On Saturday, Trudeaux posted an update on Garrison's condition, stating that he hasn't suffered any setbacks.

The A's issued a statement to MLB.com's Martin Gallegos regarding Garrison:

“We want to extend our sincerest thoughts and prayers to our colleague for a speedy recovery. We are committed to providing him and his family with support and care. Every person on our team plays a critical role to our success and we look forward to his return to the field when he is healthy.

“During this pandemic, the health and safety of our players, employees, and community is our top priority. We are in this together and will get through this together. We are following MLB suggested protocols, CDC guidelines, and local public health recommendations for care. Finally, out of respect for this individual's privacy, at this time, we will not comment further regarding his situation.”

Last season, Garrison served as the manager for the A's High-A affiliate in Stockton, and is expected to coach one of the A's rookie-level teams in Arizona this season, The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported.

The 54-year-old Garrison was selected in the second round of the 1983 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Garrison, a first baseman and second baseman, signed with the A's organization on two separate occasions (1991 and 1996), and appeared in five big league games in 1996.

Former Astro Evan Gattis takes shot at Mike Fiers, lazily backtracks

Former Astro Evan Gattis takes shot at Mike Fiers, lazily backtracks

A's starter Mike Fiers caused a storm this offseason when he blew the whistle on the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

Fiers, who played for the Astros during their 2017 World Series-winning season in which they used technology to steal signs, has been almost universally praised as a hero for bringing the scandal to light.

But one of his former teammates apparently isn't happy Fiers pulled back the curtain on the Astros' trash-can banging ways.

After Gattis' posting caused a stir, the former Astro backtracked, claiming he has no ill-will toward Fiers.

It was a weird attempt at a flex from Gattis, who, even with the help of trash cans and technology, hit just .097 with a .129 slugging percentage on offspeed pitches in 2017.

Oof.

[RELATED: Fiers details mentality behind two career no-hitters]

Gattis isn't the only former player to call out Fiers for his whistleblowing, as both Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz criticized the A's right-hander for the way in which he went about it.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow both were fired after MLB suspended for a season for their role in the rampant cheating.

The season currently is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But when the season does begin, the first meeting between Fiers and his old mates will be one for the books.