Jake Diekman

How Jake Diekman gave 15-year-old best day of his life at A's-Giants game

How Jake Diekman gave 15-year-old best day of his life at A's-Giants game

OAKLAND -- Jake Diekman was diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis at 10 years old, but that didn't stop him from achieving his dream of reaching the major leagues.

Now the A's reliever wants to help others who suffer from Inflammatory bowel disease, which can include Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. In 2017, Diekman and his wife Amanda created the Gut It Out Foundation.

"I was going through the first of three surgeries to have my colon removed, so we created the Gut It Out Foundation to support people with IBD, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative colitis, and just give them some sort of a resource," Diekman told NBC Sports California.

This weekend, Diekman hosted 15-year-old Nathan Nichols at the A's-Giants game. Nichols suffers from IBD himself and won the Gut It Out Foundation's VIP Experience for being the top fundraiser.

Diekman flew Nichols and his mother out from Lenexa, Kansas for several incredible experiences, including a tour of Alcatraz on Friday, dinner with Diekman and his wife, and a conversation and game of catch with Diekman on the Coliseum field before Saturday's game.

"It's been amazing," Nichols said. "Best day of my life by far. ... (Diekman) is just a great guy. I love talking to him."

Nichols actually first connected with Diekman in Kansas City when the hard-throwing left-hander was still a member of the Royals. Diekman encouraged Nichols to join his foundation and it has worked out wonderfully for both parties.

"It's great," Diekman said. "He's everything that we created a foundation for. If bringing him out here can influence to help when he grows up and influence others, then that's perfect."

The feeling is certainly mutual. A high school pitcher himself, Nichols draws inspiration from Diekman's story.

"A lot of inspiration," Nichols emphasized. "I'm a pitcher, he's a pitcher. He has IBD, I have IBD. A lot of similarities between us and I think that's awesome."

After playing catch and getting some tips from Diekman, Nichols and his mother got to stay on the field to watch batting practice, followed by tickets to the game. 

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"Playing catch on the field (was my favorite part)," Nichols said. "It's not every day you play catch with an MLB pitcher. It's super cool."

Added Diekman: "It makes you feel really good. I know what it's like to have it when you're younger. You think it's a pretty big disability. You don't really know (if you're going to need surgery). You just want to be normal. So if they can look up to me in any aspect and say, 'Well he's pretty normal and doing what he loves,' that's the biggest thing."

A's bullpen turns back the clock with dominant effort in win vs. Astros

A's bullpen turns back the clock with dominant effort in win vs. Astros

OAKLAND -- It's no secret that the A's bullpen has dealt with its share of struggles this season. Heck, we literally just published an article about it earlier Friday.

But on Friday night, Oakland's pen turned back the clock to 2018. Blake Treinen, Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria, and Lou Trivino combined to pitch seven scoreless innings against a relentless Astros lineup, leading the A's to a thrilling 3-2 win in 13 innings.

"It was a big night for a lot of guys, and maybe some guys who were struggling a little bit really emerged," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "We saw the type of stuff that we saw last year. So hats off."

The final numbers? Seven innings, no runs, three hits, two walks (one intentional), and nine strikeouts. It was a performance made even more impressive by the fact that Melvin was down his top two bullpen arms -- Liam Hendriks had pitched the previous two days and Yusmeiro Petit the last three.

Instead, Oakland had to turn to four relievers with ERAs above four. And all four came through in a big way.

"I would love to not give up a single run -- all of us -- and absolutely dominate a game like we did today," Trivino said. "It's awesome. Baseball's not like that, unfortunately, so it's nice to have a good night like this. Lord willing, it continues."

Trivino was especially impressive, extending himself for three innings and 41 pitches. He allowed just a single hit and an intentional walk, pitching around a rare Matt Chapman error in the 13th inning to earn his fourth win of the year.

"That's huge for him," Melvin said. "You have to go out there and be perfect to not lose the game. I think this was great for his confidence as well. That's a really tough lineup he went through for three innings. He hasn't done that in quite some time. Really impressive to see."

Trivino joked that it was nice to finally answer reporters' questions after a positive outing, which have been far too rare this season.

"It seems like recently, it's been telling you guys how terrible I am," Trivino said. "I finally felt behind the ball today. I was able to attack the hitters and throw all of my pitches for strikes. It was something that I really needed and I'm thankful that I was able to pull through for the team and give us a chance to win."

Soria's performance was just as important, as he grinded through two exhausting innings and 43 pitches himself. The veteran right-hander also had to overcome an error, picking up second baseman Corban Joseph in the 10th.

"Soria was impressive too because he was completely out of gas," Melvin said. "But when I went out to talk to him, he had no part of coming out of that game. He wanted that last out."

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Perhaps this will be the night that changes the fortunes for Oakland's bullpen. Maybe they can regain last season's form for the rest of the year.

At the very least, Friday provided an enormous boost of confidence for four pitchers who desperately needed it.
 

MLB trade deadline grades: How pundits across baseball rated A's moves

MLB trade deadline grades: How pundits across baseball rated A's moves

The MLB trade deadline is over and Noah Syndergaard is not a member of the A's. 

Homer Bailey was acquired by the Royals on July 14th to begin the process, but the Green and Gold wasn't done adding to the rotation. 

The team acquired a starter in Tanner Roark on Wednesday in a trade sending prospect Jameson Hannah to the Cincinnati Reds. There were also cash considerations in the trade.

Jake Diekman also was acquired from the Royals a few days ahead of the Wednesday cutoff time in a trade for two prospects to add some bullpen relief. 

With all the transactions the A's made, or didn't make, how did the organization do overall? Here's how others across the baseball world rated the A's front office's efforts to acquire Roark.

Grades

Dayn Perry, CBS Sports
Grade:
B
What they're saying: "By recent Oakland standards, this was a strong contender's deadline. Tanner Roark upgrades the rotation, and Homer Bailey gives them depth, at least theoretically. As well, Jake Diekman gives them a third lefty in the bullpen. Catching the post-Greinke Astros in the NL West is a longshot, but the A's solidified their grip on a wild-card spot."

Emma Baccellieri, Sports Illustrated
Grade:
B-
What they're saying: "Oakland’s big move of the day was picking up Tanner Roark, which feels extremely on-brand—a middle-of-the-rotation addition to bolster an unexpected playoff run is just as A’s as an A’s move can be. It’s practical, if not very exciting. But Oakland’s rotation is shaky enough that it really could have benefitted from adding an extra arm here, and Roark doesn’t quite do the trick."

Zachary D. Rymer, Bleacher Report
Grade:
B+
What they're saying: "We liked the idea of an A's trade for Roark. It's nice to find out that they thought so, too.
Roark will slot into a staff that's done fine with a 4.10 ERA but had a clear need for a reliable veteran innings-eater. That's Roark in a nutshell. He only has a 4.24 ERA this season, but his pitch-to-contact style should work well with Oakland's strong defense and huge home ballpark.
Roark, 32, is making a hefty $10 million in his final season before free agency, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that $2.1 million of that will be on the Reds."

Winners or Losers?

David Schoenfield, ESPN: Neither, but he liked it
What they said: "This is not a comprehensive review of every trade, but I did like the A's picking Tanner Roark in the most A's trade the A's could make."

Eric Stephen, SB Nation: Loser (Tanner Roark)
To preface, Roark discovered of his trade to the A's while he was at an Arby's.

What they said: "Roark was driving ahead to Cincinnati’s next stop, in Atlanta, when he learned he had been dealt to the A’s. His delicious processed meat was rudely interrupted with the news of his new destination. By sending minor league outfielder Jameson Hannah to the Reds, the A’s were able to meat Cincinnati’s demand. It’s just too bad that Roark’s roast beef quest was interrupted, even briefly."