Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's eighth straight loss


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's eighth straight loss


OAKLAND — The A’s do enough good things in many games to convince you a victory might be waiting at the end of the rainbow.

That was the case Tuesday night, when they hit three homers in the same inning and erased three different deficits against the Los Angeles Angels. It was all for naught in another marathon game between these teams.

Ben Revere’s RBI single in the top of the 10th sank Oakland in an 8-7 loss, the A's eighth in a row that marks their longest losing streak since a nine-game skid early in the 2012 season.

With the September roster expansion, A’s manager Bob Melvin and Angels manager Mike Scioscia have burned through relievers with abandon in the first two games of this series. The A’s used seven pitchers. A day after Scioscia set an American League record by using 12, he settled on eight pitchers Tuesday night.

The A’s trailed 4-1 in the fifth, when Matt Joyce, Khris Davis (two-run shot) and Matt Olson all homered to put the A’s ahead 5-4. It was a back-and-forth game from there, and the A’s hurt themselves by going 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

The end result was an Angels victory that moved them into the American League’s second Wild Card spot by a half-game ahead of Minnesota.

LAST-INNING DRAMA: The A’s tried for a fourth comeback rally in the 10th off Eduardo Parades. They loaded the bases with two outs and Jed Lowrie worked the count to 3-2 before flying out to center.

ROOKIE ON A ROLL: Olson went deep as part of the A’s four-run fifth, continuing a torrid stretch that’s seen him homer seven times in his past eight games. He put a charge into a 2-0 fastball from Blake Wood, sending it over the center field wall for his 15th homer of the season. His 15 homers are second most by a player in franchise history over his first 53 games, trailing Mark McGwire’s 18.

GRAVEMAN’S NIGHT: Kendall Graveman gave up four runs over five innings, which qualifies as a decent start in the context of how short the outings have been by A’s starters recently. He walks three in the third, when the Angels struck for three runs to go up 3-0. Albert Pujols’ run-scoring single made it a 4-1 game in the fifth.

MENGDEN GETS THE CALL: Among four call-ups to the A’s roster Tuesday was right-hander Daniel Mengden, who has endured an injury-marred season that began with a broken foot before spring training and included a two-month stay on the D.L. with a strained oblique. Mengden is healthy now and will start the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Houston, taking the rotation spot of Chris Smith, who has struggled mightily. Third baseman/outfielder Renato Nunez also was recalled from Triple-A Nashville, as expected, along with second baseman Joey Wendle and right-hander Raul Alcantara. Alcantara is pitching in relief now, providing needed depth for an overworked A’s bullpen.

HONOR FOR HENDRIKS: It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Liam Hendriks on the mound this season. But the reliever was named Tuesday afternoon as the A’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente award, which recognizes a player’s community involvement, philanthropy and positive impact. One cause near to Hendriks’ heart and that of his wife, Kristi, is Striking Out Poverty, a charity aimed at ending poverty in the Dominican Republic. Hendriks played winter ball there in 2014 and came away wanting to make a difference.

“You go through a couple areas where it’s just poverty-stricken and it breaks your heart,” Hendriks said. “You go through these places where you’re told, ‘Don’t drink the water.’ We can afford to buy bottled water. Some of these people can’t.”

Hendriks also is heavily involved with Players for Pits, Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation and other organizations aimed at rescuing animals.

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear


A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

When it comes to power hitting, rookie first baseman Matt Olson has enjoyed one of the most impressive career-opening stretches in A’s history.

He went deep again in Monday night’s 8-3 victory over Detroit. Although he’s only played in roughly one-third of Oakland’s games this year, Olson has vaulted into a tie for fourth on the team with 22 homers this season.

Here’s a glance inside some of the numbers behind the rookie’s home run tear:

22 — Olson’s 2017 —and career — home run total. Those 22 homers tie Mark McGwire for most in franchise history over a player’s first 65 games.

18: The number of times Olson has gone deep since Aug. 11, which leads the American League.

19 — The number of major league games Olson appeared in before connecting for his first homer. That came June 24. Since then, he hasn’t gone more than eight games in the majors without clearing the fence.

47 — Olson was the 47th overall pick of the 2012 draft, a compensation choice between the first and second rounds. He was one of a trio of high school infielders Oakland took with its first three picks that year. The others were two shortstops — Addison Russell (11th overall) and Daniel Robertson (34th).

At the time the A’s said perhaps they had drafted three-fourths of their future infield. But Russell and Robertson eventually got dealt. Now, Olson is part of a different young infield core that could include third baseman Matt Chapman and second baseman Franklin Barreto along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien.

2: The number of players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the minors and majors in the same season. Olson has done it this year. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who’s generating his share of headlines with his own power hitting, did it back in 2010.

103 The number of homers Olson hit over five minor league seasons leading into this year. That included a whopping 37 for Single-A Stockton in the homer-happy California League in 2014. In comparison, the 17 homers he hit each of the next two seasons at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville looked paltry. Olson says he struggled for a while to trust his natural power stroke and not try to alter his approach too much to boost those power numbers.

4: The total number of major leaguers produced by Olson’s alma mater of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. The others were outfielder Jeff Francoeur, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Clint Sammons.

4 (Part II): Number of consecutive games Olson has homered in. That ties the Oakland rookie record for most games in a row with a homer. Dan Johnson also homered in four straight from Aug. 3-6, 2005. Extend it out farther, and Olson has gone deep 14 times over his past 20 games. And speaking of that …

14: Olson is tied with a couple of legends when it comes to most homers in a 20-game span in Oakland history. McGwire (1987) and Reggie Jackson (1969) also had 14 over their own 20-game stretches, and Jackson did it twice that season. (Hat tip to A’s P.R. stats guru Mike Selleck for several of these factoids, by the way).

23: Remember that Olson is just 23 years old. His 22 homers are the most in a single season by an Athletic 23 or younger since Eric Chavez swatted 32 back in 2001. Chavez also was 23 at the time.

Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers


Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers

A’s rookie Jharel Cotton was a late scratch from Monday’s start in Detroit after suffering a strained right groin.

Cotton began his typical pregame throwing routine at Comerica Park. Then cameras caught him grabbing at his leg. Shortly after, he walked off the field and long reliever Raul Alcantara went out to warm up. Alcantara made the start in the opener of a three-game series against the Tigers.

Though there was no indication from the A’s about the severity of the strain, with less than two weeks left in the regular season, it brings up the possibility of Cotton simply being shut down for the season. More detail likely will be given to reporters by manager Bob Melvin after the game.

Cotton is 8-10 with a 5.81 ERA in 23 starts this season.