A's vs. Rangers lineups: Matt Chapman sits, Sheldon Neuse starts at third


A's vs. Rangers lineups: Matt Chapman sits, Sheldon Neuse starts at third

The lineup for the A's will look slightly different on Friday night as the team stays in Texas, but heads north to take on the Texas Rangers in a three-game series.

Oakland was sensational against the Houston Astros, taking three out of four games, which was well-needed as the team chases one of two AL wild-card spots. The team is now ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card standings by half of a game with the Cleveland Indians a full game behind the A's.

Chris Bassitt gets the ball for the Green and Gold and he hasn't lost since July 24 -- and that was to the Astros. He's held Rangers batters this season to a .189 average giving up seven hits and no homers.

On the other side, Brock Burke will get starting honors for the Rangers and seeks the first win of his career. Still, the Rangers are 3-1 across his four starts.

It was previously mentioned, the A's lineup wouldn't take its usual form and that's because Ramón Laureano will take over for Matt Chapman's usual second slot in the lineup -- Chappy will be enjoying an off day. Laureano will start in right field with Sheldon Neuse starting at the hot corner and batting ninth. 

Here are how both lineups will look like as the Rangers play host to the A's. You can follow the action on NBC Sports California or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams App.

Oakland A's (87-60)
SS Marcus Semien
RF Ramón Laureano
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha
LF Chad Pinder
DH Khris Davis
2B Jurickson Profar
C Sean Murphy
3B Sheldon Neuse
RHP Chris Bassitt (10-5, 3.64 ERA)

Texas Rangers (74-74)
DH Shin-Soo Choo
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Willie Calhoun
3B Nick Solak
RF Danny Santana
2B Rougned Odor
CF Delino DeShields
1B Ronald Guzman
C Jose Trevino
LHP Brock Burke (0-1, 3.52 ERA)

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


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.

Ex-Giant, A's third base coach Matt Williams will next manage in Korea


Ex-Giant, A's third base coach Matt Williams will next manage in Korea

The A's coaching staff could look much different next season. 

A source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic that quality control coach Mark Kotsay interviewed for the Giants' managerial opening, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Monday that bench coach Ryan Christenson is a candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates and third base coach Matt Williams has a new job lined up. 

Williams confirmed to NBC Sports California's Ben Ross in a text message that he will manage the Kia Tigers in Korea's KBO next season. MLB Network's Jon Heyman first reported the news, and Slusser was the first to confirm Heyman's report. 

The A's hired Williams in November 2017. He previously managed the Washington Nationals from 2014 through 2015, winning National League Manager of the Year in his first season in Washington's dugout. The 17-year MLB veteran compiled a 179-145 record as a manager, but Williams was fired by the Nationals after his second season with the team. Williams, who played for the Giants for 10 seasons, covered San Francisco as a studio analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area in 2017 after serving as the Arizona Diamondbacks' third base coach in 2016.

[RELATED: A's Stay or Go candidate for 2020 season: Ryan Buchter] 

Oakland made the playoffs in both of Williams' seasons as third base coach, losing in the AL Wild Card Game each time. 2018 and 2019 marked just the fifth time the A's qualified for the playoffs in consecutive seasons since moving to Oakland.

If the A's are going to play in the postseason again next October, they're likely to have some new faces in the dugout and in the third-base box.