Athletics

Is nightmare eighth one bad day for A's bullpen or cause for concern?

Is nightmare eighth one bad day for A's bullpen or cause for concern?

OAKLAND -- After allowing just six runs in the first six games of the homestand, the A's bullpen imploded Saturday night in a 10-5 loss to the rival Giants.

Oakland's pen surrendered eight runs in a nightmare eighth inning, the most the A's have given up in a single inning all season long, as they watched a 4-2 lead turn into a 10-4 deficit.

After Jake Diekman retired the first batter in the eighth, Yusmeiro Petit, A.J. Puk, and Lou Trivino combined to allow seven straight batters to reach base on six hits and a walk.

"We just couldn't get an out," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Yusi (Petit) is usually really reliable for us -- not that they hit really hard balls off him -- but three straight hits, which is a little abnormal with him. ... Lou has been pitching really well. Give them credit. They went the other way. They didn't try to do too much. They shot the ball the other way on the sinker and put some really good at-bats together. It felt like we didn't get an out for about an hour."

Melvin did consider turning to closer Liam Hendriks in that eighth inning but ultimately didn't want to use him for a five-out save.

"I had him up," Melvin said. "If we got one more out, I was going to use him for four (outs). I wasn't comfortable with five, especially because we're in a tie game at that point in time too when we bring in Lou, so it just didn't make any sense to do that."

Of course, any major-league bullpen needs more than one pitcher a manager can rely on. While Oakland's pen has obviously had its share of struggles this season, it appeared to be returning to form in the last few weeks. The question now is whether this was just one bad night or a cause for deeper concern.

"It's just one game," said A's starter Chris Bassitt, who allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings. "We can try to make this a huge deal kind of thing, but it's just one game. Lick your wounds, come in tomorrow and do your job."

Melvin echoed that sentiment.

"I think we just have to move on," he said. "Now it was pretty extreme. What did they get, seven or eight hits in a row or something like that? Maybe a walk mixed in there too. (That) doesn't happen often, so you've got to give them some credit too. I think we've just got to move on from this one. We've played pretty well up to this point. We just had basically a bad inning today."

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The A's have now blown 23 saves this season, tied for the most in the American League. Oakland has also lost seven games when leading after seven innings, compared to just two all of last year.

Still, as Melvin noted, the team has played excellent baseball on this homestand, entering Sunday's finale with a 6-2 record against some of the league's best teams. But you have to wonder if and when all of these blown leads will start to take a toll on the bullpen's confidence.
 

Liam Hendriks, A's thank medical field during coronavirus pandemic

Liam Hendriks, A's thank medical field during coronavirus pandemic

During this unprecedented time amid the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), it’s given us an opportunity to give thanks to those who so selflessly have been working hard to ensure the rest of us stay safe. 

For A’s closer Liam Hendriks, he wanted to give a special shoutout to those in the medical field working hard:

 “We, as an Oakland Athletics organization, want to say, ‘Thank you,’ for everything you’re doing, please stay safe,” he said via the A’s Instagram account.

Hendriks personally has felt the devastation the coronavirus has brought upon us as a society. He revealed recently that a friend of his, Conrad Buchanan, died due to COVID-19. Hendriks announced the news on Instagram last week and urged the world to stay home, “not only for your health, but for the sake of others as well.”

[RELATED: What Canha misses most during MLB hiatus]

Hendriks also wrote that Buchanan is survived by his wife and daughter.

MLB The Show 20 player ratings: Where A’s roster ended up on 100 scale

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MLB The Show 20 player ratings: Where A’s roster ended up on 100 scale

We won't have live Oakland A’s baseball for a while. For now, we have to improvise.

One of the ways the league is making sure everyone stays home is by implementing a way to watch MLB The Show 20 in a tournament put on by the players themselves.

In the game, you’re able to create essentially your own legacy in Major League Baseball.

Just like most games based on professional sports, each individual is given an overall rating.

Here are how some of the A’s players fared, out of a possible best score of 100:

3B Matt Chapman: 92
Closer Liam Hendriks: 88
1B Matt Olson: 86
SS Marcus Semien: 85
CF Ramón Laureano: 83
RP Joakim Soria: 83
SP Sean Manaea: 81
RP Yusmeiro Petit: 81
RP J.B. Wendelken: 78
P Frankie Montas: 76

You can see the rest of the A’s numbers, as well as other players across the league, in this video:

For Matt Chapman, he’s unsurprisingly one of the best third basemen in the game according to The Show’s player ratings -- No. 4 in that category to be specific. Right behind Houston Astros star Alex Bregman, who was rated a 95. 

Nolan Arenado leads the hot corner with a 99 overall rating. Chappy earlier this year told NBC Sports California where he believed he ranked compared to Arenado, Bregman and even Anthony Rendon. Rendon was signed by the Angels in the offseason, which only beefed up the AL West at that position.

Last season, Chappy put up solid numbers earning his first All-Star selection and his second, and consecutive Gold and Platinum Glove Awards. He hit 36 home runs and slashed .249/.342/.506 with 91 RBI.

For Liam Hendriks, who was rated the second-highest on the team, he was the third-highest among closers, with Kirby Yates leading the category.

Last season, Hendriks was sensational with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.965 WHIP in 85 innings. He also earned the first All-Star selection of his career.

[RELATED: Mike Fiers details mentality behind no-hitters]

Marcus Semien also earned high marks with his 85 rating. He was tied with the likes of Adalberto Mondesi, Carlos Correa and Trea Turner. Not a bad group to be associated with.

The ratings at shortstop had a lot to do with fielding abilities. Despite the shift in power we get to see among middle infielders, the glove was a highlight here -- but the bats were all but ignored. Semien has improved drastically over the last couple of seasons with both his glove and offensive game. He was appreciated here.

Angels star Mike Trout also received a 99 rating, which goes to show who the rest of the league has to measure up to.