Athletics

Matt Chapman makes public plea to A's fans after win over Mariners

Matt Chapman makes public plea to A's fans after win over Mariners

OAKLAND -- The Oakland A’s are good. In fact, they might be really good, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of fans streaming in the turnstiles. While the vibe around the team is amazing, the players are starting to notice the lack of support and they are starting to get vocal about the issue.

Matt Chapman is the latest A’s player to step up and make a public plea to the Oakland fanbase. After posting multiple highlight reel defensive plays to go with three doubles, three runs and a pair of RBI, the second-year third basemen topped his night off with a pointed message.

“I just want to use this time to just encourage people in Oakland to come out, man,” the 25-year-old star said on the A’s telecast following the A’s 7-6 win on Monday night. “All the fans and support we can get, we can really appreciate it. Tonight, we’re fighting ‘til the very end against the Mariners and I just wish we can get some people out here, man. We’re fun to watch. We really want our fans to come out and support us, it’d be great.”

Chapman is 100-percent correct. This is an exciting and fun team to watch. They play hard. They hit home runs. They hustle all over the field and they have one of the best bullpens in major league baseball.

The announced crowd of 10,400 fans is not what you would expect to see when a team is in the thick of a postseason chase. With the win, the A’s moved to 71-48 on the season. They trail the Houston Astros by just two games for the lead in the West and they have a 2.5 game lead over Seattle for the wildcard.

Chapman is on the cusp of being the next superstar. He’s a player that fans would love to see play his entire career in green and gold. There is a history of players like him leaving long before they should, but at some point fans need to show up and appreciate him for the special player he is and the unique team that the A’s front office has assembled. 

This club is pacing for 97 wins. They have momentum and they are in the midst of a long homestand against division rivals fighting for a playoff spot. It’s probably time for the fanbase to come to the ballpark and show them the love and respect they deserve.

A's notes: Chapman extends two streaks, Lowrie returning to form

A's notes: Chapman extends two streaks, Lowrie returning to form

OAKLAND — The A’s continued their recent offensive outburst Monday evening, jumping all over the Seattle Mariners early and then hanging on for a 7-6 victory at the Coliseum. 

The win moved the games within two games of the Houston Astros for the lead in the West and opened up some much needed breathing room in the Wild Card chase as well. It also snapped the Mariners four-game win streak and dropped them 2.5 games back in the Wild Card standings.

--- Matt Chapman isn’t just one of the best fielders in Major League Baseball, he’s also found a groove at the plate. The A’s third baseman came into Monday night riding a career-best 10-game hitting streak and he’s reached base safely in 26 straight games. He extended that both streaks early with a double down the line off the top of Kyle Seager’s glove. 

Chapman finished 3-for-5 on the evening with three doubles and three runs. He also survived a scare in the third evening when he slid into second and jammed his left hand into the bag. 

--- With the victory, Sean Manaea moved to within one win of his career-high of 12, which he set last season. The 26-year-old is the lone starter remaining from the A’s opening day rotation. Manaea is now 11-8 on the season and he’s the only A’s starter on the staff with more than six wins on the season. 

--- Jed Lowrie is returning to form. After struggling with a leg injury over the last month, the veteran second baseman has a five-game hit streak after finishing -for- with - RBI against the Mariners. He’s hitting (5-16) over the stretch after batting just .169 (14-for-83) over the previous 23 games.  

--- Blake Treinen inherited a bases-loaded, no-out situation from Jeurys Familia in the ninth. He struck out the first batter, before allowing a run on a wild pitch to make it 7-4. Mitch Haniger ripped a single to left to make the score 7-6, but Treinen settled down to pick the final two outs for his 31st save of the season.

--- The A’s haven’t been within two games of the Astros since April 2, which was the fifth game of the 2018 MLB season. 

--- Oakland improved to 49-0 on the season when leading after seven innings and 58-0 on the season when leading after the eighth.

Here's what fans missed in the A's come-from-way-ahead-to-damned-near-behind win over M's

Here's what fans missed in the A's come-from-way-ahead-to-damned-near-behind win over M's

The first sign that baseball playoff races are heating up in the East Bay is the faded yard lines on the field at the Coliseum. The second is the river of complaints about the yard lines on the field at the Coliseum, which run neck by jowl with the complaints by football fans of the indignity of their precious heroes having to play practice games on infield dirt.

The last sign, of course, is in the attendance. But isn’t that typically the way with the A’s? The folks who want them to entertain are typically the last to know.

But here’s the fun they missed Monday in the Elephants’ hilarious come-from-way-ahead-to-damned-near-behind 7-6 win over Seattle, a victory that strengthened their hold on the second wild-card space (now 2½ games over the Mariners), narrowed the distance between themselves and division-leading Houston (now two games), not to mention the first-wild-carded Yankees (3½ and shrinking):

-- They missed three more doubles by third baseman Matt Chapman, who will win no awards but almost surely will feature on many of the 30 American League Most Valuable Player ballots.

Hey, in the olden days, he’d have been a Minnesota Twin by July 23.

-- They missed two more doubles and four runs batted in by Jed Lowrie, who might get a couple of votes himself.

And he WAS going to be traded before smarted heads than those engaged in the various rumor mills prevailed.

-- They missed Sean Manaea’s most effective start since his no-hitter in April, as he stifled the Mariners’ fly-ball-laden lineup into a series of groundouts that not only kept him in the game into the eighth inning (his second longest start since the second day of the season) but allowed manager Bob Melvin to almost, but actually not at all, leave his bullpen in the bubble wrap for a change.

Hey, why have five closers if you can’t use a couple whenever you want?

-- They missed a brilliant two-out, 6-3-5 double play to end the fourth inning, starting with a smart pickup and throw by shortstop Marcus Semien to retire Ryon Healy and then an excellent cross-diamond throw by first baseman Matt Olson to third to get Kyle Seager with the extraneous but still delightful fourth out.

Hey, even superfluous athleticism should get noticed, if not tangibly rewarded.

-- And they missed the indisputable proof that some people already have Pachyderm Fever. Melvin hooked Manaea after seeing his starter get Guillermo Heredia and Andrew Romine to start the eighth before allowing a single to Ryan Haniger. Melvin replaced him with Emilio Pagan, who immediate gave up singles to Cameron Maybin and Jean Segura, and as Melvin walked out to replace Pagan with Lou Trivino, a fan in the second deck yelled (and I’m quoting here), “Boo Melvin! You idiot!”

Yes, the man SAID “boo.” He didn’t actually boo. He said the word “boo” the way you would say “Pass the sugar.” Fans are the best, no matter how many there are.

-- Finally, they missed the thigh-slapping, commode-hugging ninth inning, in which they aggressively tried to blow Manaea’s six-run lead. Jeurys Familia started the inning and quickly threw 17 pitches, five of them for strikes, thus loading the bases with no outs for closer Blake Treinen, who had pitched the day before and was probably looking forward to a well-earned night off.

He quickly taught Familia a valuable lesson about wasting pitches by throwing a wild pitch to score Ryon Healy, and then giving up a two-run single to Mitch Haniger to score the other two Familia walks, Mike Zunino and pinch-hitter Denard Span.

And the reason all this mattered in the long run? The 10,400 fans rose after the Haniger single and started chanting “Let’s Go Oakland” as though there were 13,873 of them. They demanded their heroes rise from their knees, and they got a response, albeit delayed.

Treinen struck out Maybin, gave up a single to Segura and, because it has to be this way with these guys, struck out power-hitting Nelson Cruz to win the game before a relieved mob that sounded more like 18,101.

See? The crowds ARE building, even if the math calls us all liars.

Besides, the 2002 A’s didn’t catch the area’s notice, in the year of their 20-game winning streak (2002) until after Game 15 of their 20-game winning streak in which Games 6 through 15 were played on the road. So maybe it isn’t that A’s fans are incapable of reacting to normal baseball stimulus after all. Maybe they just have a higher threshold the boys must reach before they fully commit to the concept.

Game Two is Tuesday. It will almost certainly be weirder than Monday’s, though it’s hard to imagine how. But at least the field will look a little less football-y.