Category Archives: Oakland A’s

Going to sleep on Mike Trout was a bad idea

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I had the Angels game somewhat queued up last night when I passed out on the couch with my bulldog – Garrett Richards was doing everything he could to hand the game back to the A’s despite those darling Angels doing everything they could do to get him the win in the face of his own futility.

And I fell asleep on Michael Nelson Trout. And wouldn’t you know it that he did something that I very much would have liked to have been awake for. He hit a majestic two-run home run off the A’s closer Du Jour Sean Doolittle. It sent the game into extra innings. And that’s what Mike Trout does – he takes something and makes it beautiful. Trout’s gift to the world on Jackie Robinson Day was bonus baseball. As M.J. Lloyd would say, he isn’t real.

The Angels would lose the damn game 10-9 in 11 innings, making all those handicappers who said Oakland would win last night correct and my very gut feeling that the Angels would steal one so very wrong (I am picking stuff at around a 75% clip this season on the money line, giddeup).

Mike Trout has five home runs and just may have learned a new trick: how to lead the American League circuit in homers. Don’t worry about what the A’s players did because they’re boring.

Sonny Gray looks the part of Superstar

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[Box Score]

Sonny Gray has the name of a star and shined last night in his MLB postseason debut. He out-dueled Justin Verlander in one of the better baseball games in recent history. Gray went eight strong shutout innings and struck out nine holding the game scoreless and allowing the A’s to steal a 1-0 victory in the bottom of the ninth.

And perhaps Gray ends up being the great young arm that a guy like Rich Harden could never be consistently for Oakland. From the first time we saw him pitch (his MLB debut in relief in Pittsburgh) we thought he had electric stuff despite having a small frame. Gray is the type of arm that could get the A’s on a roll all the way through the postseason.

Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week

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I kind of thought this might be a breakout year for Brandon Moss. He’s OPS’ing about 100 points less than he did last season, but with the huge week he had last week he’s already bettered his power numbers and has an eye on destroying his previous career bests. He’s also also been named Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week. Here’s the weekly stat line that got him the gig:

8 for 22 (.360), .500/.955/1.455, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 walks, 8 runs, and as always the token “slow guy stolen base”.

Moss’ four homers came in three consecutive games in which he ransacked the Tigers pitching staff – Verlander, Smyly, and Scherzer were the victims.

What is it with these Oakland journeyman guys (Moss previously played for the Red Sox, Pirates, and Phillies – you did not know that) going on these apeshit streaks? I mean seriously; they have a bunch of roundabout guys who comprise a roster of 25 that no one else really wanted, they’re not good on paper, and every year they’re somehow winning the damn division and having guys get on these late season hot streaks that are the stuff of legend.

If you’re looking to catch lightning in a bottle on your fantasy team, be sure to scope out some Oakland players on the waiver wire early tomorrow morning. Like catfish in a lake that hasn’t been fished, they’ll be there. Bring your lantern for these bottom feeders.

It’s that time of the year where Jay Bruce says “Hop on my back boys, I’m going to carry you a while.”

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[Monday Night Box Score]
[Today's Tuesday Matinee Box Score]
[Bruce Home Run #23]
[Bruce Home Run #24]

Dan Straily and Bartolo Colon learned the hard way, when Jay Bruce decides he’s hot; it’s best just not to mess with him.

The Reds answered my notion that they were dead with two big wins at home over the Oakland A’s, and today on the radio Marty Brennaman brought up a good point. Maybe in this game of such a long season – you never are quite as good as you seem but things are never quite as bad as they seem either.

Bruce hit a big home run last night to the power alley in left center to get the Reds going in a 3-1 win. He also made a terrific running catch in the fourth inning to get Mat Latos out of trouble. Today he hit a two run homer and drove in three total and threw a runner out at home plate.

Bruce is carrying the Reds right now as he has so often through different points of this long and challenging season.

After a day off tomorrow the Reds welcome the Padres to Great American for the weekend with yet another chance to get hot and put their stamp on this 2013 chapter in the book of Cincinnati.

By the way, this was the second Simpsons match up lifetime. That’s right, today at GABP it was Homer vs. Bart just like six years ago (June 14th, 2007) when Colon and Homer Bailey faced off. In yet another piece of evidence that baseball just repeats its own history, neither pitcher has been very sharp when they’ve faced off, like in today’s game.

It’s a good night to watch Buccos late-night baseball from Pittsburgh

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As of this very minute, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a .600 baseball club. It’s a great story. They’ve slipped a little bit lately, and they’re mostly blacked out in my city of residence; so I am not getting the opportunity to enjoy their ride each night watching on MLB.tv.

However, tonight the Pirates take on the Oakland Athletics from Pittsburgh. Their de facto ace Francisco Liriano is going. You get the feel that Liriano has his badge of justice on, and the losing streak stops tonight.

In any event, they’re a fun bunch. McCutchen, Marte, Cole, Grilli, Melancon, Cole, Liriano and even shitty old Pedro Alvarez are a scrappy, fun bunch to pull for a little bit. That city deserves a baseball winner. I can’t wait to watch them tonight in their rare ESPN appearance.

Image via Pirates official twitter

Bartolo Colon somehow has 11 wins already

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Stuff like this; major reclamation projects that could be considered half-miracles, always seem to happen in Oakland.

Bartolo Colon was left for dead long ago in the baseball world. A few weeks ago I was laughed at in my H2H fantasy league for using my top waiver spot on the guy. I needed the pitching and I have a feeling that this roll is going to continue all year for Colon.

Now he’s 11-2 with a 2.79 ERA after beating the Cardinals last night in Oakland. He went 8 innings, gave up six hits and walked only one while striking out five.

It’s easy to forget that Colon had 14 wins from the beginning of the 2006 season to the beginning of the 2011 season, and in 2010 he was out of the game completely.

The A’s always find something on the scrap heap that no one else wants and it works out. There’s a lot of teams around baseball that were apparently caught sleeping at the wheel on this one, and who could blame them.

And we thought we had seen Colon at the top of his game.

Francisco Liriano IcyHot Award: Bart Colon

Bartolo colon may be seem to be wearing a catcher’s vest under his jersey, but he can still sling it.

Big Fat Bartolo Colon (BFBC) is really the perfect pitcher to win this award.  He’s been in the league longer but the past, oh, I don’t know, 7 years have resembled the IcyHotness of Liriano.  This week he was hot.  BFBC racked up two shutouts and yielded a WHIP under 1.00.  Neither outing was completely dominant.  The first go round he was able to strike out 9 but also scattered 9 hits.  The second he only gave up 5 runs in a complete game shut out, but only struck out 3.  The one consistent stat was control.  BFBC gave up zero free passes in 16 innings this week.  Oh, and he turned 40 right before this stretch.  BFBC has been a great sign for the Oakland A’s.  He’s only getting paid $3M and still eats innings (and many other things) and will occasionally throw off a week like this.  I benefited from the second start in a fantasy streaming strategy.  Thanks.  We are just as likely to see BFBC here again on the Icy side, but we’ll enjoy the hefty one for now.  See full stats below:

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10 Bold Predictions for 2013: Yoenis Cespedes will get more MVP votes than Robinson Cano

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Is Cano or Cespedes going to have the better year?

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2013 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2013 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our third prediction: Yoenis Cespedes collects more MVP votes than Robinson Cano.

Robinson Cano has been one of the best hitters in baseball over past several years.  His three year averages:  .311/.370/.539, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 104 runs, and 5 sB.  The 30/100/100 mark is a milestone and when someone averages that over three years in an increasingly pitching dominated era, it’s incredible.  He has finished 3rd, 6th, and 4th in the MVP race in the past three years.  It seems like any year now he is going to win it.  Well, it’s not likely to be this year.  Let me get this out there to start.  In no way is this prediction based on the fact that Cano will be meaningfully worse this year, but the Yankees lineup is not going to be great this year and two of these stats depend in part on his teammates – RBIs and runs.  In each case, Cano only contributes half of the contribution to the stat.  I don’t think Cano will go over 100 in RBIs or runs this year.  His average should maintain over .300 and the o/u on his HRs this year is probably 30.  Still a great year, but it won’t stack up against his previous seasons.

Let’s look at the other side of the coin, Yoenis Cespedes.  Cespedes came to Oakland last year from Cuba.  It was a bit of a surprise that Oakland spent on what was basically a free agent, but I suppose they saw more value than anyone else did.  Cespedes’ rookie year was going great, certainly overshadowed by Mike Trout, but great nonetheless.  However, he only got to play in 129 games last year due to a wrist injury.  What could he have done with a full season?  His 162 game averages were .292/.356/.505, 29 HR, 103 RBI, 88 runs, and 20 SB.  Take a few counting stats off for a 158 games season and his numbers don’t look too far off of Cano except exchange some runs for some SB.  Cespedes isn’t a young rookie, he’ll be entering his age 27 season this year.  Cespedes has always been rated as plus raw power with speed to match so the 30 HR/20 SB averages aren’t too surprising.  The .292 average to go with it is what can set him apart from the typical power/speed outfield type.  In a season where the overall average with .260 you can count the guys on two hands who can hit for average, power and steal plenty of bases.

Part of this prediction is based on the fact that the MVP is voted on.  It’s not a mathematical calculation of who had the best year.  Although Cano possibly has the advantage of being in a bigger market, the media is national enough that Cespedes will get plenty of press, especially if Oakland comes close to their 2012 season.  Another great year from Cespedes will be exciting as he is still relatively unknown to the casual fan and he could still have the “breakout” year narrative since last season was cut short by injury.  I don’t think either of these guys will necessarily win the MVP, but we can count the votes at the end of the year.  Check back to see if I’m brilliant or a complete idiot, or a little bit of neither.

Final Predictions:

  • Cano:  .301, 28 HR, 94 RBI, 90 runs, 4 SB
  • Cespedes:  .296, 34 HR, 105 RBI, 85 runs, 23 SB

2013 Oakland Athletics Team Preview

The San Francisco Giants may have taken home the World Series title, but they weren’t the only team in the Bay Area to grab our collective attention last year.  The Oakland A’s, of Catfish Hunter Bash Brothers Moneyball regular baseball fame, had a great year and, in combination with a Texas collapse, rallied to actually win the AL West in 2012.

Let’s take a closer look at the A’s.

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • Acquired John Jaso in 3 way from Seattle.  Jaso is good young player and will be a sneaky great addition for the A’s
  • Acquired IF Jed Lowrie from the Houston after he made a temporary home their.  Lowrie made like $20/hour, so he was way too much for the Astros.
  • Signed Hiroyuki Nakajima from half across the world in Japan.  They hope he is better than Kaz Matsui.

I think the Jaso and Lowrie trades were great deals for the A’s but, in typical fashion, they weren’t flashy this offseason.  If Brad Pitt knows anything, it’s how to acquire players below market value.  Side note:  we discussed one of Jaso’s most important features here when the trade was made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now on to who is going to take the field this year.

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Mike Morse headed to Seattle in three-team trade

We had a feeling that this would be the last Take on Me ever heard at Nationals Park.

Today was another day that the Nationals were in the thick of things, highlighting a three-team trade that sent Micheal Morse to Seattle and A.J. Cole to Washington. The trade also involved the Oakland Athletics picking up catcher John Jaso.

The Nationals will receive right-handed pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen along with a player to be named later from the A’s, according to CBSSports.com baseball insider Danny Knobler.

As part of the deal, the A’s will receive catcher John Jaso from the Mariners. The A’s also announced that catcher George Kottaras has been designated for assignment.

Cole was rated the A’s third best prospect and performed well at class-A before struggling in high-A ball. This trade was a return home of sorts, as the Nationals originally drafted Cole in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Morse originally broke into the big leagues with the Mariners in 2005 and was in Seattle until 2009.

We always liked Morse. Later on it was for the A-ha batter walk-up song. Any guy who digs 80′s music that much and flaunts it is okay in our book. But our mind always shifts back to a night in Cincinnati in 2010 when we saw him take batting practice before the game. He was just a reserve then. We noticed how big he was. We noticed how he seemed to lace balls and there was a different sound off the bat compared to other guys. We thought the guy could play if given the chance as a full-time regular. The rest is history, and when it happened we always had a soft spot for Morse.

Yoenis Cespedes helps A’s to Japan triumph over Mariners

We survived Tebowmania and Linsanity, now it’s time to help think of a catchy phrase that will captivate the sports world that follows every at-bat of the (presumably) young Cuban sensation of the Oakland A’s.

Yoenis Cespedes hit his first career big league home run off a hanging breaking ball, and Bartolo Colon threw 8 strong innings to earn a 4-1 over the Seattle Mariners in the Tokyo Dome.

These two AL West teams split the Tokyo series and now will return home to American soil to play their remaining 160 games. Josh Reddick homered immediately after Cespedes, and Justin Smoak accounted for the lone Mariners run with a bomb of his own.

The good news is that now we can all settle in, because the next games played that count will be the real deal variety of openers and we’ll have a lot to focus on in just a short while.

Dustin Ackley and the Mariners get off to a smiling start

While you were sleeping this morning, the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics played 11 innings of baseball to kick off the 2012 season. This bonus baseball resulted in a 3-1 triumph for the Seattle Mariners, which kind of sucks for the Oakland A’s seeing as how they gave up a couple of home games to go over to Japan and play the Mariners for the good of the game.

Things began mostly as they should have. Felix Hernandez went 8 innings and got one lonely run of support for striking out six and walking nobody. Ichiro went 4 for 5, and Dustin Ackley was what we like to call the whole damn show. He homered to open up scoring, stole a bag, doubled in the run to break the tie in the top of the 11th and then scored on an Ichiro single.

Cliff Pennington had two hits for the A’s and Yoenis Cespedes went 1 for 3 with a double in his big league debut.

I am so happy that we have real baseball. I can’t wait for the American soil version a week from now.

Get some sleep everyone, and get ready for Tokyo (Regular Season) Baseball

Everyone ready for the start of the 2012 MLB season tomorrow morning at 6 am sharp? Mariners-A’s in the Egg Dome in Tokyo. Yoenis Cespedes, King Felix, Brandon McCarthy, and Eric Wedge are all part of a cast of characters who help us kick off another big league season. Things are starting to feel exciting in these parts.

Now get your fantasy lineups set, make sure your alarms are ready and get a few hours of sleep before we wake up and start tabulating those counting stats for six months plus.

I love this sport and this time of year.