A's have 'dry-erase board' game in Detroit


A's have 'dry-erase board' game in Detroit


DETROIT -- The A's rolled into the Motor City on Tuesday and then got run over. The beginning of the team's critical 10-game road trip through Detroit, New York, and Texas couldn't have started much worse, as the Tigers' offense tore chunks out of the A's pitching, handing them a 12-2 loss, their most lopsided defeat this season. "It just got out of hand," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I can't think of too many games that just got out of hand on us. You've just got to move on. It's just one game."The A's scored first, but had trouble piling on, even after Tigers' starting pitcher Max Scherzer was lifted from the game after just two innings as a result of right shoulder fatigue.Entering Tuesday, Scherzer was 10-1 with a 2.53 ERA in his last 14 starts. He leads the American League with 224 strikeouts. Only needing to face him for two innings should have been a big break for the A's hitters; it wasn't. The Tigers' bullpen stifled Oakland for seven innings of one-run ball."Scherzer comes out and now they've got a lefty, we've got all of our lefties in the game," Melvin said of his batting order that had five left-handed hitters and two switch hitters. "When you have a lineup with a lot of lefties at that point, it is what it is." With Scherzer out and the 6-0 A.J. Griffin on the mound, the A's chances looked pretty good early on, but the young righty had trouble with the long ball against the Tigers. He allowed a career-high three homers and five earned runs. The struggles were uncharacteristic of Griffin, who had allowed just one homer in his last seven starts. "I just wasn't executing pitches the way I usually do," Griffin said. "I wasn't pounding down in the zone, leaving pitches up, and they capitalized on it." "We're used to seeing him painting all the time and mixing his pitches," Melvin added, "He was just off today. It's the first time we've seen him like that."Griffin was bounced from the game after four and two-thirds innings. He gave up a moonshot to Miguel Cabrera on a hanging curveball in the third inning, and a line drive two-run homer to Prince Fielder in the fifth inning that gave the Tigers a 5-1 lead. "They are all really good hitters," Griffin said. "They are a big league team just like any big league team. They seemed to be pretty locked in today; they had some success. That's just how it goes sometimes." Cabrera added a grand slam in the eight inning off Jesse Chavez to blow the game wide open. It was Cabrera's 40th home run of the season. The Comerica Park crowd erupted in M-V-P chants as he rounded the bases. Chavez was then ejected from the game for hitting Fielder on a 1-2 pitch, which enraged the A's skipper. "He's not trying to hit him there on a 1-2 count; you've got to pitch that guy in, that's ridiculous," Melvin said. "There's no way he is trying to hit him there."The A's had several chances to do some damage but couldn't. They stranded 10 runners, six of them the result of Stephen Drew going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts with runners on base. "My night was kind of frustrating," Drew said. "Moss got some key hits and put me in a good situation, I just didn't get the job done. It was frustrating. I wish I could have done better." Josh Reddick scored both of the A's runs after reaching on a single in the first inning and a double in the seventh inning. He came around to score on a Brandon Moss RBI hit in the first, and scored in the seventh on a Yoenis Cespedes hit down the left field line that was interfered with by a fan. On the play, Cespedes stumbled out of the batter's box after rolling his right ankle and was initially awarded second base, but then told to go back to first base. Melvin argued the call to no avail. After the game Cespedes' ankle was heavily wrapped but he insisted he was alright. When asked if he'd be able to play on Wednesday he responded in perfect English. "Everyday." Coco Crisp left the game in the fourth inning after experiencing complications with his lingering eye infections. Chris Carter pinch hit for him and grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners. In the clubhouse after the game Crisp's eyes looked very red and puffy. "He just wasn't seeing the ball 100 percent," Melvin said of taking Crisp out of the game. "I certainly don't want to put anybody in a bad position, it just made sense to me. Your eyes are very important if you aren't seeing the spin on the ball there can be some danger involved." The A's 10-run loss to the Tigers is the worst they've suffered all season. They lost 10-1 in Baltimore on April 28. Even after the lopsided defeat the A's insist they are ready to turn the page. "It's a dry erase board," Griffin said. "We're going to wipe this one clean and come to the yard with a new day tomorrow and play the best baseball we can." Inge-ury Alert:Brandon Inge returned to the A's clubhouse just prior to first pitch. He had a clubhouse stall set up before the game but didn't want to detract attention from the team so he didn't meet with the media. He will be with the team again on Wednesday. Inge's season-ending shoulder surgery was performed last Thursday in Detroit by Dr. Stephen Lemos, who is the Tigers' orthopedic surgeon. Inge wants to dress and travel with the team as soon as he is recovered enough from the surgery.

Kaval: A's considering future move into Raiders' locker room

Kaval: A's considering future move into Raiders' locker room

OAKLAND — The Raiders are likely to play at the Coliseum for the next two seasons at least, but the A’s are daydreaming about the time they can finally call the venue their own.

One idea they’re considering is moving their home clubhouse into the space that currently serves as the Raiders locker room, which would more than double the current space they have.

Beyond that, imagine the possibility of the A’s current clubhouse being transformed into a “club” type area for fans to schmooze and enjoy some beverages. Team president Dave Kaval says both ideas are on the table for after the Raiders move to Las Vegas, which they’re planning to do for the 2020 NFL season.

The No. 1 long-term goal for the A’s, obviously, is to find a location in Oakland and build a new baseball-only stadium. The homework continues on that front, with Kaval maintaining the promise for that announcement to come sometime in 2017.

The Raiders have lease options to play at the Coliseum for each of the next two football seasons, with their plans for 2019 uncertain as their Vegas stadium is built.

Regardless, there will be a gap from the time the Raiders execute their move and the time the A’s are ready to move into their potential new digs. They apparently plan to make the most of that time at the Coliseum, which is the only two-sport complex remaining in major North American professional sports.

Kaval addressed the idea of shifting the home clubhouse into the Raiders’ locker room space.

“Well, it’s considerably bigger than our current locker room, and so we could have a more player-friendly area, more lounge space, be more spread out,” he said as the A’s wrapped up a 10-game homestand Sunday. “Even space for training facilities we don’t have now. And so it just provides a lot more flexibility, and a better draw for players if they want to play here in Oakland.”

That last statement shouldn’t be overlooked. As much as current Athletics would appreciate any upgrades to their day-to-day situation at the Coliseum, the improvements might also help a bit when it comes to attracting prospective free agents, who could be sold the idea of better conditions at the Coliseum and the promise of a brand new ballpark to come.

The A’s try to make use of every inch of space available in the current Coliseum set-up, but it’s an antiquated situation to say the least. Players sprawled out on the floor doing stretching exercises outside the A’s weight room often have to deal with reporters stepping around them as they get off the media elevator.

“I think it could be huge,” catcher Stephen Vogt said of possibly shifting the clubhouse to the Raiders’ locker room. “There’s triple the size of what we have. It’s kind of funny to think that we have the smaller locker room but they’re here for (only) 10 days a year basically. That’s just the way it is. If they are truly leaving and they’re not gonna be here, we could really utilize that space.”

Added Kaval: “We do have space in here, but when it’s a multi-purpose stadium it’s always challenging. Everything we’ve had to do over the years has been temporary.”

One consideration regarding the Raiders’ locker room: It’s a farther walk to the entrance of the field, with an extra flight of stairs to climb. That’s something to consider because baseball players tend to make quick trips back to the clubhouse during a game more so than football players do to their locker room.

But Kaval said he’s already talked to A’s manager Bob Melvin about some of the logistical challenges, and he emphasized that any changes wouldn’t happen without positive feedback from the coaching staff and players.

One change the A’s already have implemented this season with players in mind: They’ve dedicated an expanded luxury suite area solely for players’ families during games and also expanded the nanny service they provide for players’ children during games.

As for the A’s ballpark search, Kaval says the four sites the A’s are considering are all “neck and neck” — the current Coliseum site, Howard Terminal, a site near Laney College and one at Brooklyn Basin, on the other side of Highway 880 from Laney.

“We continue to have meetings with all the key stakeholders,” Kaval said. “I think we’re really happy about the acceleration of those meetings. We’re starting to talk more business terms, starting to get into some of the final feasibility (decisions) so we can make that final announcement this year on a location.”

A's find themselves in decent shape with Graveman, Gray possibly returning

A's find themselves in decent shape with Graveman, Gray possibly returning

OAKLAND — Some 10-9 records are better than others, and so it is that the A’s can hit the road for a nine-game trip feeling pretty good about themselves.

Their just-completed homestand began with Opening Night starter Kendall Graveman leaving a game early and landing on the disabled list. That was coupled with news that shortstop Marcus Semien would be lost for two months or more with a fractured wrist.

The A’s responded to those developments with a five-game winning streak that was halted by Sunday’s 11-1 rout at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.

The A’s went 5-4 on the homestand, holding their ground after a heavy dose of injury misfortune, and now the outlook changes just a bit. The focus shifts from the players joining the D.L. to those that could soon return to provide a boost.

Graveman, who has a strained right shoulder, is scheduled to throw off the mound Monday. If that goes well, expect him to be activated sometime in the early portion of the upcoming trip. Sonny Gray, who has been out since injuring a side muscle early in Cactus League games, is set to throw Thursday for Triple-A Nashville after an encouraging rehab outing Saturday for Single-A Stockton.

If Gray comes out of Thursday’s start well, look for the 2015 All-Star to join the active roster and pitch sometime against Minnesota in the final series of this road trip. Nothing can be taken for granted until both pitchers actually return healthy, but it’s a promising scenario to possibly add two starters of their caliber as April turns to May.

“I think any time you look up and you’re over .500 and you’ve had a great homestand and you’re missing your best two pitchers, that’s something to be pleased about,” catcher Stephen Vogt said. “Getting Kendall back is huge. And Sonny obviously did great last night, and felt great, which is more important than the results.

“We’re excited to get those two guys back but in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to keep playing the way we are because we’re playing really good baseball and we’ll just keep things rolling.”

It was clear early on Sunday that a five-game winning streak wouldn’t reach six. The Mariners led 2-0 in the third when Andrew Triggs missed location on a 1-0 sinker and Taylor Motter launched a grand slam over the wall in left-center.

Triggs, who excelled at missing the fat part of bats over his first three starts, didn’t have the feel for his cutter Sunday. When he fell behind to Motter, the cutter is normally a pitch he would have gone to had it been working for him.

“I wasn’t commanding well,” he said. “I didn’t wanna go 1-0 to 2-0. I felt better going with the sinker. I got it down, but missed location in and out. In a perfect world, the cutter would have been great to get a groundout.”

But to this point, the A’s rotation has held firm without Gray and with the short-term absence of Graveman. Perhaps the biggest test moving forward is whether an offense that is tied for the American League lead in extra-base hits can continue to produce consistently with Semien’s absence, particularly without anyone having established themselves as the regular leadoff man.

A’s manager Bob Melvin likes what he’s seen from his team in light of the injuries.

“Every game we go out there there’s an expectation to win,” Melvin said, “and when you win multiple games in a row, you get that feeling and it’s a little more significant. So hopefully we can carry that on to the road trip. As a group, we’ve been able to manage these injuries here recently, and once we start getting guys back it’s gonna be a good thing for us.”