A's agree win against Angels was 'big'

878811.jpg

A's agree win against Angels was 'big'

ANAHEIM -- Sometimes simple things get overlooked in the aftermath of a ballgame. As the Oakland Athletics took down the Angels' six-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory, several obvious things stood out. One, the pitching of Jarrod Parker. Two, the A's two solo home runs. Three, the fact that Oakland has now won 10 road games in a row and are 20 games over .500 for the first time since 2006. Lost in the shuffle was the most important run of the game. The first one. The A's never once held a lead when they got swept in three games at home against the Angels last week. Coco Crisp started the game by smacking a lead-off triple off the jumbo electronic scoreboard wall in right field. Seth Smith grounded out scoring Crisp. That one run in the first inning that gave the A's a 1-0 lead seemed to change the tone of the whole contest. "It's always key especially on the road, especially against these guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They're going to be very aggressive when they get ahead." That's not to say the pitching of Parker wasn't important. He shut down the red-hot Angels lineup with ease. He allowed just three hits and pitched seven innings of one-run ball. "I tried to get some early outs and early contact and it translated into going deep into the game," Parker said. "Pitching to their aggression was big because they saw me just a week ago."Parker's plan worked brilliantly. The rookie pitcher earned his 10th win becoming the 10th rookie pitcher in Oakland history to reach double-digit wins. "I'm not done so it's a feather in the cap and it is what it is," Parker said. "Moving on it's a big win today and we need to continue doing it." It was a big win indeed. So big in fact, that Melvin admitted it. "That's a big win for us based on the fact they handled us pretty good at our place and they've been playing so well at home," Melvin said. He wasn't the only one that felt that way. The A's usually stick to the company mantra of one inning, and one game at a time. They can enjoy this one at least until they wake up on Tuesday. "That was definitely a big game for us," second baseman Cliff Pennington said. "They came into our place and did what they did. We need to come into their place and take care of business too. To get the first one is a big step."Parker was poised in front of the crowd of 36,064. The hype and pressures of the playoff atmosphere seemed to play into his strengths. He had a poker face that even Lady Gaga would have been proud of. "He's a pretty calm guy," Melvin said. "You never know what's going on inside.""It's just kind of who I am and how I pitch," Parker said. "If I get too hyped up or too anxious I start trying to do too much." Parker got enough run support to win the game because the A's continued to have success with the long ball. Brandon Moss hit the go-ahead homer in the fifth inning and Pennington tattooed one of his own in the sixth. "A lot of us don't swing for singles," Moss said after his 17th homer. "You look at their club and a lot of good clubs, they all have the ability to change the score with one swing and that's something we have."Maybe more important than the home runs, was an inning-ending double play turned by Pennington. Yep, we are back to the underrated and overlooked theme. With two runners on base in the fourth inning and the Angels gaining momentum fast, Mark Trumbo hit a grounder to third baseman Josh Donaldson who flung the ball to Pennington, who stood his ground absorbing the blow of Erick Aybar's takeout slide before as he threw to first for the final out of the inning.The way Pennington handled the play impressed his skipper. Pennington is still learning second base but looked every bit the part at that moment. "For a guy that hasn't been playing the position that long he was just fearless," Melvin said. "And he has a great arm on top of it." Melvin said he was equally impressed with what Pennington did with his glove and bat this evening. Pennington elected to choose a side. Not surprisingly the long ball won out. "I'll take the homer," Pennington said laughing. "The double play we've been working at it and trying to get better at it."

A's Jharel Cotton among MLB's brightest prospects to watch in 2017

A's Jharel Cotton among MLB's brightest prospects to watch in 2017

CHICAGO -- Corey Seager helped the Los Angeles Dodgers make it all the way to the NL Championship Series last year. Michael Fulmer developed into a reliable part of Detroit's rotation, winning 11 games for the Tigers with a 3.06 ERA.

Here is a closer look at a group of rookies hoping to have a similar impact this season:

-OF Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox: There is a lot to love about the 22-year-old Benintendi, who rocketed through Boston's minor league system after the Red Sox grabbed him with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft. He made it to the majors last August and hit .295 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 34 games. He also went deep in the AL Division Series against Cleveland.

-2B Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox: The Cuban slugger was acquired by Chicago in the blockbuster deal that sent lefty ace Chris Sale to Boston. The rebuilding White Sox plan to go slow with Moncada, who just turned 21 in September. But he could bring his powerful swing and athleticism to Chicago's starting lineup at some point this summer.

-RHP Jose De Leon, Tampa Bay Rays: The chance to bring in De Leon was just too tempting for the Rays, who got the right-hander in a January trade with the Dodgers for second baseman Logan Forsythe. De Leon, who likely will begin the year with Triple-A Durham, made his major league debut in September and was 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts. He went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts last year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he was sidelined for stretches by ankle and shoulder injuries.

-SS Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees: The speedy Torres was the youngest MVP in the history of the Arizona Fall League last year at age 19. He carried that success into spring training, drawing praise for his impressive skills and maturity. The Yankees appear set at shortstop for now, but Torres could make it to New York soon.

-RHP Jharel Cotton, Oakland Athletics: Cotton dazzled in his first stint in the majors last year, going 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts. He was acquired by the Athletics in the August trade that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers.

[RELATED: Down on the Farm: 10 A's prospects to watch in 2017]

-OF Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland Indians: The 6-foot-5 Zimmer drew praise from Indians manager Terry Francona this spring for his bat and improvement in the outfield. Zimmer, a first-round pick in2014 from the University of San Francisco, batted .250 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in two minor league stops last season.

-RHP Tyler Glasnow, Pittsburgh Pirates: The 23-year-old Glasnow struggled a bit in his first stint in the majors last year, but the 6-8 right-hander looked great this spring. He went 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA in 20 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis in 2016.

-SS Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves: The Kennesaw, Georgia, native played college ball at Vanderbilt before he was selected by Arizona with the first pick of the 2015 draft. The Diamondbacks traded him to Atlanta six months later, and he hit .302 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 38 games with the Braves last year. He was slowed by back stiffness this spring, but he has the look of a budding star.

-OF Dylan Cozens, Philadelphia Phillies: The 2012 second-round pick had 40 homers, 125 RBIs and 21 steals in 134 games for Double-A Reading last season. He is expected to begin this year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but his major league debut could be soon.

-OF Lewis Brinson, Milwaukee Brewers: The future of Milwaukee's outfield looks pretty good, with Brinson, Brett Phillips and Ryan Cordell slated to begin the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Brinson, who arrived last August in the Jonathan Lucroy trade with Texas, hit .268 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs over three minor league stops in 2016.

-OF Hunter Renfroe, San Diego Padres: The 25-year-old Renfroe has big-time power. He was promoted late last year and connected against San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner for his first major league homer on Sept. 24. He also hit the first-ever home run onto the top of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in left at cavernous Petco Park.

-1B Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers: The son of former Yankees outfielder Clay Bellinger hit 23 homers for Double-A Tulsa last year. With Adrian Gonzalez entrenched at first, Cody Bellinger, 21, also could play in the outfield to speed his ascension to the majors.

Doolittle will go 'full lefty reliever,' wear glasses on mound

Doolittle will go 'full lefty reliever,' wear glasses on mound

MESA, Ariz. — After a spring training eye exam showed his vision had worsened, A’s reliever Sean Doolittle plans to start the season wearing prescription eyeglasses when he takes the mound.

“I’m going full ‘lefty reliever,’” Doolittle joked. “I had the beard, now I’m wearing glasses. Just full lefty reliever.”

Doolittle got his glasses Tuesday and wore them while pitching in a minor league game Wednesday, reporting no problems. He didn’t want to experiment with contact lenses in the dry Arizona air, though he might try contacts at some point.

The glasses he’ll wear for games are a pair of clear, rectangular-shaped Oakleys with black trim. They have rubber gripping on the sides and bridge of the nose so they won’t fall off. Doolittle showed off a second pair of glasses that he’s wearing away from the field. Those ones are rounder, a bit more scholarly looking.

He’ll debut the new eye wear in a Cactus League game Saturday, when he’s slated to pitch in a split-squad home game against Cincinnati.

Players get their vision checked when they get their physical at the start of spring training.

“I bombed the eye chart,” Doolittle admitted.

He’s got 20/25 vision in his left eye, 20/40 in the right. Doolittle said he noticed he was squinting while driving at night, and wearing glasses seems to have literally opened up a new world to him.

“Looking around now at the mountains, oh my gosh, they’re really nice,” he said with a straight face. “I can see everything in more detail. It’s like going from Standard Def to 4K.”

And the lefty notices another benefit of wearing glasses.

“It’s been great with March Madness,” Doolittle said. “I don’t have to get up and walk over to the TV to see the score.”