Athletics

A's walk off Angels, win first series vs AL West since April

A's walk off Angels, win first series vs AL West since April

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI single off the center-field wall in the 11th inning and the Oakland Athletics capped their comeback Sunday with a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

The A's rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it at 5, then took advantage of control problems by a pair of Angels relievers to win.

Jed Lowrie led off the 11th with a single and Jake Jewell (0-1) hit Khris Davis with a pitch. After Matt Olson flied, Eduardo Paredes replaced Jewell and walked Mark Canha to load the bases.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought left fielder Justin Upton in for a five-man infield but it didn't matter. Lucroy hit a deep drive to win it.

Canha hit an early two-run homer, and added a tying single with two outs in the ninth. Marcus Semien homered to begin the Oakland ninth.

Albert Pujols hit his 625th career home run, Chris Young also went deep and Mike Trout reached base five times for the Angels.

It was another blown save for Scioscia's bullpen, the 15th by the Angels this season.

Blake Parker gave up two runs in the ninth. He also had a blown save Wednesday in Seattle. Canha's tying single came off Cam Bedrosian.

Pujols' drive off Daniel Mengden was his fourth this month and 11th overall this season. It also moved the Angels' 38-year-old slugger within five home runs of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth place all time.

Pujols also had an RBI single in the third.

Trout had homered in four of his previous six games. He had singles in the fifth and ninth, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (right thumb contusion) added throwing to his regimen, one day before his scheduled visit with a hand specialist in Los Angeles. Chapman's biggest hurdle remains swinging a bat. . LHP Brett Anderson (strained left shoulder) is headed for Arizona to pitch in extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (5-2, 2.61 ERA) faces the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a two-game series Monday in Anaheim. Barria's ERA is the lowest among all rookies with at least 40 innings pitched this season.

Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05 ERA) starts against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday to begin Oakland's 10-game road trip.

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Buchter

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USATSI

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Buchter

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

While other A's relievers may have earned more notoriety, Ryan Buchter was an important part of the bullpen in 2018. The 31-year-old southpaw went 6-0 with a 2.75 ERA in 39 1/3 innings in his first season with Oakland.

Buchter was especially effective against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .169/.231/.265 slash line. He finished the season extremely strong, allowing just two runs in his final 24 appearances.

The fourth-year pro earned $555k in 2018 and is projected to get $1.3 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

Buchter spent almost the entire year as Oakland's only left-hander in the bullpen. Manager Bob Melvin relied on him to retire opponents' best left-handed hitters, and Buchter did a tremendous job of that. He also faced a number of right-handed batters and held his own against them.

For $1.3 million, the A's would be wise to bring Buchter back, especially since there is a good chance they will lose Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney, and Shawn Kelley.

Why he might be too pricey

Some might argue that $1.3 million is too much money to spend on a left-handed specialist. Most of Buchter's outings lasted less than an inning, as he was typically only asked to retire one or two batters.

Even if the A's do end up losing Familia, Rodney, and Kelley, they still have solid right-handers to turn to in Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, J.B. Wendelken, and Yusmeiro Petit.

Verdict

For just over a million dollars, Buchter is absolutely worth bringing back for another season. He proved to be a reliable left-handed option out of the bullpen and only got better as the season progressed. While Oakland has other reliable arms in the pen, Buchter is their only left-hander and would be especially valuable against AL West lefties like Robinson Cano, Kole Calhoun, Josh Reddick, and Joey Gallo.

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Khris Davis

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Khris Davis

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Khris Davis is the best power hitter in baseball. That's not an opinion. It's a fact.

Over the last three seasons, Davis leads all of MLB with 133 home runs. He led the league with 48 homers this past season and finished second with 123 RBI. It marked the third straight year he hit 40-plus home runs and drove in more than 100 runs.

Davis, 30, slashed .247/.326/.549 for the season. Incredibly, it was the fourth straight year he hit exactly .247.

Davis earned a team-high $10.5 million and is projected to get $18.1 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

It's hard to call $18.1 million a bargain, but for Khris Davis, it probably is. Davis affects the A's lineup in a way that very few other hitters can. He changes the way other A's players are pitched and can change any game with one swing of the bat.

Davis has also been extremely durable during his three seasons in Oakland. He has missed just 32 games over the course of three years, playing in 150 games or more in all three seasons. Davis' power numbers have improved each year in Oakland, from 42 home runs and 102 RBI in 2016, to 43 homers and 110 RBI in 2017, to a career-high 48 round-trippers and 123 RBI in 2018.

Why he might be too pricey

It's honestly hard to even make this argument. I guess you could say $18.1 million is too much for a designated hitter who doesn't hit for a great average.

While it's obviously a lot of money, Davis has earned whatever he gets.

Verdict

Davis will be back in Oakland next season. Executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has already said as much. The real question is whether the A's will lock him up past 2019.

Beyond his production on the field, Davis has become a leader in the clubhouse and a fan favorite. He truly loves playing in Oakland, and Oakland loves him.