Beane's exec honor a practical matter

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Beane's exec honor a practical matter

When it was reported that most baseball general managers were actively rooting against the Washington Nationals because of the ham-headed way they handled the Steven Strasburg issue, smart people wondered why the other generals would care. Or if they did care, why they wouldnt be delighted.General managers dont think in terms of spite. Oh, they enjoy giving the screws to each other, but they dont typically act on agendas.And how do we know that? Billy Beane was named Executive of the Year at the general managers meetings in Indian Wells, Ca. In a vote of 57 other general managers and other baseball executives.NEWS: Beane named Executive of the Year
You know. The people who hated Moneyball and all it presumed, and thought Beane was a vainglorious gasbag, and all that.Beane deserved the award as much as anyone. Signing Yoenis Cespedes. Cutting Manny Ramirez loose when it became clear he couldnt play any more. Dismantling one pitching staff and reassembling it with different parts. Hiring and supporting (with the odd argument thrown in for old times sake) manager Bob Melvin after being perceived as the scourge of the managerial profession. Taking a projected 94-loss team and supervising it to 94 wins.Yeah, that ought to do it.But if vengeance were the driving force in baseball (as opposed to the more traditional verities of greed, self-satisfaction, keeping the boss off your back, screwing the other guy out of his best players for your worst ones, etc.), Beane would never have won. Moneyball: The Book torqued off baseball people, and Moneyball: The Movie even more, although if Brad Pitt has cast Jonah Hill as Beane and himself as Art Howe, that could have gone down a lot better.Indeed, Beane could have been frozen out even if the As had beaten Justin Verlander in Game 5, dope-slapped the Yankees and swept the Giants rather than the way it turned out.But as it turns out, general managers dont have that kind of attention span. They also dont have time for the grudges we think they do. They may squeeze the shoes of the odd player for petty reasons, or hate an owner who turned out to be less than as good as his word.But for the most part, they are practical men, who make practical decisions based on the information and financial and political needs of the time. And they all use math, too.Plus, they dont really give that much of a damn about the award anyway, because as practical men, they know that Executives of the Year get fired just like Schmoes of the Week and Dullards of the Month. They vote, to the extent that they do, based on the practicalities of the moment, and they dont spend a ton of time on the ballot because they have other things theyd rather do.Like swindling a colleague.So Beane wins the award because, and for no better reason than, he deserved it. Nobody did a demonstrably better job, nobody came from farther back to do it, and nobody had to confront his core beliefs and acknowledge that some of them are, well, less than absolutely correct.And baseball executives appreciate that, too. Not as much as they would have if the role of Ron Washington had been played by Denzel Washington, but hey, hes Executive of the Year, not Marty Scorsese.

A's lineup: Melvin flip flops Healy, Lowrie against Angels

A's lineup: Melvin flip flops Healy, Lowrie against Angels

Manager Bob Melvin is going with same nine in his lineup Wednesday against the Angels, but there is one change to the order.

Oakland A's (10-10)

1. Jaff Decker (L) CF
2. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
3. Ryon Healy (R) DH
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Stephen Vogt (L) C
6. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
7. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
8. Matt Joyce (L) RF
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Sean Manaea -- LHP

Los Angeles Angels (10-12)

1. Yunel Escobar (R) 3B
2. Kole Calhoun (L) RF
3. Mike Trout (R) CF
4. Albert Pujols (R) DH
5. Jefry Marte (R) 1B
6. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS
7. Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
8. Cameron Maybin (R) LF
9. Martin Maldonado (R) C
Matt Shoemaker -- RHP

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Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

ANAHEIM — The night should have been about Jesse Hahn, who had every pitch working and rendered Angels hitters helpless over eight innings.

Instead, the A’s postgame comments Tuesday were filled with second-guessing and do-overs that they wish came their way in a 2-1, 11-inning defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

The game-winner came off the bat of Kole Calhoun, who singled in Danny Espinosa from second to sink the A’s in their first extra-inning contest of the season. Ryan Madson went outside with an 0-1 fastball and Calhoun spanked it into left-center, a pitch that Madson said he never should have thrown.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that pitch,” Madson said afterward. “I should have definitely stepped off and re-thought it, so I didn’t throw it with conviction. It looked like it was off the plate but something he could handle. I learned my lesson to throw a pitch I’m convicted in.”

Calhoun swung through a changeup on Madson’s first pitch. Josh Phegley, who was behind the plate calling pitches, said he didn’t want to go right back to that pitch.

“(You) kind of obviously second-guess yourself after the game-winning hit is hit off a pitch you just called,” Phegley said. “I thought about going back to (the changeup). I saw in my head him kind of making adjustments and just looping one over the infield, getting the same result. … I thought it was a good pitch and I’ll trust that guy’s fastball any day of the year. It just was not the result we were looking for.”

Phegley was set up to be a hero himself, after he came off the bench to pinch-hit for Vogt and smacked the first pitch from Jose Alvarez in the 10th for a homer to right-center that snapped a scoreless tie. But Mike Trout — who else? — answered with a home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th off Santiago Casilla. He sliced a 2-0 pitch off the plate for a drive that cleared the short right field wall just inside the foul pole.

It was Trout’s 23rd career homer against the A’s, his most off any team.

“I don’t know anybody that hits a home run right down the right field line on a ball that looks like it’s by him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “There aren’t too many guys that are gonna do that. Maybe he and Khris Davis. It’s not like it’s a bad pitch.”

Hahn wound up with a no-decision from an outing that might have been his sharpest as an Athletic, perhaps even more so than his shutout of Detroit on Memorial Day, 2015. He allowed just one hit over eight innings, facing two batters over the minimum in that time, striking out six and walking two.

“I feel like I literally had everything working for me today,” Hahn said. “I think it might have been my best command I’ve had of all pitches.”

Hahn, who didn’t make the 25-man roster coming out of spring, is finding his groove since replacing Raul Alcantara in the rotation. In three starts he’s allowed just nine hits and four earned runs over 20 innings, for a 1.80 ERA.

“He pitched as well as we’ve seen him,” Melvin said. “He had his best sink of the year by far. His best sink in a while, and a good curve ball. He really had it working tonight.”

Unfortunately for Hahn and the A’s, his excellent start didn’t come with a ‘W’ attached.

**

Melvin said center fielder Jaff Decker felt something in his foot on a steal attempt of second in which he was thrown out easily without a slide attempt.

“He got taped up and he was OK,” Melvin said.