Murphy says playing against Semien like 'a chess match'


Marcus Semien’s arrival to the Oakland Coliseum this week was a mixture of the familiarity of being able to sleep in his own Alameda home with the struggle of finding the visiting clubhouse.

After six years with the Athletics, Semien’s new home is with the Toronto Blue Jays. For the A's, facing him could have a little more incentive, perhaps more of a gambit. 

“We treat him just like every other player,” A’s catcher Sean Murphy said following Thursday’s 10-4 loss. “We go through heat maps and all that stuff, but on the flip side, he knows our pitchers. So it’s sort of a chess match with a guy like that who’s familiar with us and we’re familiar with him, and try to keep him guessing. He obviously had a very good day.”

Semien did. 

He went 4-for-6 with a home run as the Jays earned a split of the four-game series. When that ball went over the fence, A’s fans cheered just as they used to during an afternoon game at the Coliseum when Semien would sport the green and gold. The royal blue colors suited him well, however.

The Bay Area native grew up in Oakland, so coming back to the 510 was extra special for him. 

A’s starter Mike Fiers kept the sentiments more about the game itself but knew Semien anticipated the pitch repertoire from the A's staff.

“He’s a tough out,” Fiers said. “No matter what the scoreboard says, what his average is right now, it’s still early in the season and that guy’s a tough out. He has a short swing, he knows me as a pitcher. He’s been behind me for two and a half years, he’s kind of seen how my pitches work.”   

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Despite the “weird” reunion for Semien, the Cal alum was able to chat with A’s manager Bob Melvin throughout the series. Semien referred to Melvin as a father figure. Melvin’s always grown extra close to players, something he’s been unapologetic for in the past, but this particular relationship was strong.

“There are certain guys that you just don’t want to see in a different uniform and that’s the way baseball is,” Melvin said on Monday. "It happens.”