Athletics

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in 8-3 loss vs. Rockies

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in 8-3 loss vs. Rockies

BOX SCORE

The A’s largely shut the Angels down during this season’s opening series, but they had a tougher time with the visiting Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

The N.L. West club put up a ton of runs against the A’s pitching staff, and the Green and Gold offense left too many runners on to remain competitive in an 8-3 loss in the first of a two-game series at Oakland Coliseum.

The A’s have to forget about this one quickly, considering they have a day game Wednesday they’ll want to win to head into an off day on a high note.  

Here are three takeaways from the A’s second loss of the season.  

Angels series had impact on loss to Rockies

The A’s had every reason to feel good about their performance beating the L.A. Angels three times in four games. They got tons of clutch hitting, quality defense and excellent work from the bullpen.

Those wins came at a cost to the relief corps. Jake Diekman, T.J. McFarland, Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria threw three times in the first four games, with Burch Smith and Liam Hendriks going twice. That limited Bob Melvin’s bullpen options and might’ve given a longer rope to some who might’ve gotten the hook earlier.

The A’s could’ve used a big night at the plate but didn’t get one from a stacked lineup that ultimately left nine runners on base.

This could end up as a blip on the radar of a solid start to the season. There’s zero indication that this could be part of a troubling trend, not with an offense this loaded and a staff this deep.

Splitting or winning series remains the ultimate objective, and the A’s have a chance to do that against Colorado with ace Frankie Montas starting on Wednesday afternoon in the final game of a six-game homestand.  

A’s DH not hitting

The A’s designated hitter slot hasn’t gotten a hit through five games. That’s, well, not good.

Those issues mostly fall at Khris Davis’ feet. The prolific power hitter has started the season ice cold in the early going, and while it isn’t a cause for pure panic, the A’s need more from someone they’re counting on to provide pop in the lineup.

That hasn’t happened yet.

Davis had his latest in a series of rough nights at the office against the Rockies, struggling to find his offensive prowess early in this shortened season. He remains hitless through 15 at-bats, including several opportunities to put runs on the scoreboard Tuesday night. He left five on base in his first two at-bats and then grounded into a double play with a runner in scoring position in his third. Then he struck out in the eighth with two on.

He ultimately went 0-for-4 on Tuesday night, despite having at least one runner in scoring position every time he stepped to the plate.

He has hit some balls hard but right at a defender or dying at the warning track. Going this long without a base hit is not ideal, though Davis can get red hot and go on a tear that carries a ballclub.

The A’s DH didn't even get a hit when Davis got the day off. Vimael Machin went 0-for-3 on Sunday in Davis’ stead.  

A’s bullpen doesn’t get a true breather

Daniel Mengden’s start on Tuesday night against Colorado completed one turn through the A’s rotation. None of its five members completed five innings. The Green and Gold needed that from Mengden to spell a taxed bullpen that had been effective but overworked through four games.

The right-hander threw 85 pitches, a count that would suggest that he took the A’s through the halfway point. Inefficiency didn’t let that happen.

Mengden had runners on in every inning, and while he battled well through adverse situations, he couldn’t make the fifth. He allowed three runs through four innings, and he seemed to be laboring a bit near the end of his outing. He struggled against the left-handers that stocked the Rockies lineup and left the A’s with a deficit heading into the fifth.

While going four instead of five doesn’t look like a big deal, it might have kept another reliever out of the game or shortened an outing.

[RELATED: A's still unsure when Luzardo will join starting rotation]

Relievers getting a night off when they were available should buy Jordan Weems a beer. The fireballer made his major-league debut and did his part, getting through three innings while allowing two runs.

While Weems’ work helped, the A’s need a prolonged outing Wednesday afternoon from Montas, who is stretched out more than any other starting pitcher. Melvin hopes he can get through six innings. He might be able to pitch into the 90s and, if he’s effective, he could put the A’s in position to win the game before giving way to late-inning relievers. That would help a 10-man bullpen that sorely needs a breather heading into Thursday's off day.

A's call up prospect James Kaprielian, place pitcher Jordan Weems on IL

A's call up prospect James Kaprielian, place pitcher Jordan Weems on IL

The wait is over. The A's called up highly-touted pitching prospect James Kaprielian on Tuesday in a corresponding move to placing pitcher Jordan Weems on the 10-day IL with a strained right latissimus dorsi.

Kaprielian, 26, was the No. 16 pick in the 2015 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. The A's acquired the right-hander, along with Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo, from the Yankees for Sonny Gray on July 31, 2017. 

The UCLA product has dealt with injuries for much of his minor league career. He missed the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons after sustaining an elbow injury in 2016 and undergoing Tommy John surgery the following the year. But in 2019, he was back on the bump

[RELATED: A's eight-run inning vs. Mariners not as rare as expected]

Between three levels last season -- Advanced Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A -- Kaprielian went 4-3 with a 3.18 ERA. Over 68 innings, he struck out 75 batters and had a 1.10 WHIP. He appeared in 19 games, making 16 starts.

Weems, 27, has a 3.60 ERA over five innings this season.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Dave Stewart calls Astros 'cheaters,' thanks them for Ramon Laureano

Dave Stewart calls Astros 'cheaters,' thanks them for Ramon Laureano

Dave Stewart had one of the most intimidating stares in MLB history. When the A's pitcher turned NBC Sports California analyst gave you that look, it was game over. 

Stewart once again brought the heat Monday night on A's Postgame Live after Oakland's 11-1 blowout win over the Seattle Mariners. Everyone loves a good dig at the Houston Astros, and Stewart didn't hold back. 

"He's solid, he is a solid player," Stewart said of A's outfielder Ramon Laureano. "How the A's got this guy is unbelievable. And what it took to get is unbelievable in Houston. Houston, thanks once again, you cheaters."

The Houston Astros selected Laureano in the 16th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Just three years later, Houston traded the outfielder to Oakland in November 2017 for pitcher Brandon Bailey. 

Laureano, 26, made his MLB debut the next season and has been an integral player for the A's ever since. He hit .288 with five homers and seven stolen bases in just 48 games in 2017, following it up with another .288 season last year. Laureano also added 24 long balls and swiped 13 bags. The center fielder is hitting .324 with two home runs and nine RBI through 10 games this season. 

[RELATED: A's eight-run inning vs. Mariners not as rare as expected]

Bailey, 25, made his big league debut this season for Houston out of the bullpen.

Laureano has one of the best arms in baseball, can knock the ball over the fence and steal a base for extra credit. This was one of the A's best trades in recent memory, and Stewart will remind the Astros as much as he can.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]