Leyland expects more from his offense, campaigns for Melvin

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Leyland expects more from his offense, campaigns for Melvin

OAKLAND Considering his Tigers have a commanding 2-0 leadin the American League Division series against the As, it was surprising tohear Jim Leyland say before Tuesdays Game 3 that his team needs to hit betterto advance.Leyland brought up the fact that his Tigers have scored only one of their eightruns in the series by way of a hit. Their first run of Game 1 came on a groundball double play and a second run scored on an error by starting pitcher JarrodParker. Alex Avilas solo home run in the seventh inning Saturday was the lonerun-scoring hit Leyland referenced.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's lose close Game 1 in Detroit
The Tigers scored five runs in Game 2, none by way of thelegitimate hit. A groundout scored the first Detroit run and a Coco Crisp errorled to two more in the seventh. The game-tying run in the eighth came across ona Ryan Cook wild pitch and the game-winning run scored on a sacrifice fly.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's on verge of elimination
Its hard to believe that a lineup that boasts Triple Crown winner MiguelCabrera and Prince Fielder has had to manufacture runs and take advantage of acrucial error and wild pitch. Were going to have to do better than that if we want toclose this thing out at some point, whether it be tonight, tomorrow or the nextday, Leyland said. If were going to close it out, were going to have to hitbetter, to be honest with you.The Tigers are tasked with hitting better against As left-hander BrettAnderson, whose last start came in Detroit on Sept. 19. Leyland said he had noidea what the Tigers would be up against in a well-rested Anderson.I really dont know, Leyland said. You just really dont know what toexpect, to be honest with you.Leyland said he did know what to expect from the Asoverall, however.This As team is ready to play tonight, Leyland said. Theyre down twogames to none, but theyre ready to play; their mindset is good.Leyland said he was paying attention to the As surprising run to steal theAmerican League West title away from the Texas Rangers long before he knew hisTigers would be matched up against Oakland in a playoff series.The job theyve done all year has been remarkable, Leyland said. They won 94games. Theyve had the best record in baseball for a long, long period of timenow. Its an unbelievable job whats happened here with what Billy Beane andBob Melvin have done.At Mondays workout in Oakland, Leyland and Melvin traded compliments, but theTigers skipper took it a step further before Game 3.Not to put the cart before the horse, but I hope that Buck Showalter and BobMelvin are Co-Managers of the Year this year, Leyland said. I think thiswould be a year there should be two guys that get the award.The Coliseum has been in hibernation since it rocked for Game 162 against theTexas Rangers. When the As clubhouse opened Monday, many players said theyexpected the crowd to be a factor in their first postseason home game since2006, which unfortunately comes in Game 3 for the team with home-fieldadvantage due to the new playoff format.I guarantee if you ask the guys from Texas, theyll tell you its loud, JoshDonaldson said Monday. This place is going to be rowdy.The crowd is probably the key ingredient, Brandon Ingesaid. Who wants to play in front of nobody?The atmosphere was really good in Detroit, Cliff Pennington said. Imexcited to see what we have here.Jonny Gomes said the Coliseum will be rocking and rollingand Leyland agreed.I know its loud here; its very loud, Leyland said Tuesday. Theyre goingto be out in force tonight supporting their team, which they should be. Andthey should be very proud of this team, by the way. We know this is not goingto be easy to do. Its going to be very loud, very difficult. Were playing agreat team, one that has done a wonderful, wonderful job. But thats what we dofor a living. Were here, were supposed to be able to handle that kind ofstuff.One final baseball-ism from Mr. Leyland:Its baseball and you never know how its going to play out.The As are banking on it.

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito,” is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game.

Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment.

“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, A's manager Bob Melvin recently said.

Armenteros also got a chance to mingle with Dodger outfielder (and fellow Cuban) Yasiel Puig before the game.

“Over there (in Cuba) you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros recently said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”

Armenteros will stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.

A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

MESA, Ariz. — Something flipped a switch inside Sean Manaea in the third inning Saturday, and the A’s left-hander pitched with the aggressiveness he’s shown most of spring training.

It was a different story before that, as Manaea issued five walks, two of them forcing in runs, against the Cincinnati Reds. His final Cactus League outing ended after just three innings, his pitch count at more than 70, and he was charged with five earned runs.

“I was trying to nibble at the corners too much,” Manaea said. “The third inning I finally just said, ‘Throw it right down the middle and let them hit it.’”

The plan was to get Manaea close to 90 pitches, so he went to the bullpen and threw 10 more after he was pulled from the game. He entered the day with a 2.81 ERA in his first five outings, walking just one in each of those games.

He downplayed his struggles Saturday in Oakland’s 11-6 split-squad defeat at Hohokam Stadium, and manager Bob Melvin wasn’t expressing major concern either.

“He was just out of sync,” Melvin said. “Typically you don’t see him walk guys like that, let alone multiple guys in a row. It was just a tough day for him. We wanted to try to get him close to 90 pitches. But when you’re throwing that many pitches in three innings, I just couldn’t risk sending him back out there.”

Manaea was stressing the positives of his camp afterward. As he preps for one final tune-up start at AT&T Park against the Giants in the Bay Bridge Series, he particularly likes the way his slider has rounded into form.

“Just being able to have that confidence to throw it for a strike and get weak ground balls and swings and misses, it’s huge,” he said.

CAMP BATTLE: The A’s lost their other split-squad matchup by an identical 11-6 score to the Dodgers in Glendale. Jesse Hahn took the hill and struggled for the second consecutive outing, allowing two homers — including a grand slam by Andrew Toles — and surrendering seven runs (five earned) over 3 1/3 innings. Competing for one of two open rotation spots, Hahn hasn’t shown his best in the Cactus League stretch run. He gave up seven runs against Colorado in his previous start.

ODDS AND ENDS: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe had two more hits against the Reds to raise his average to .425 but left the game after tweaking an abductor muscle in his lower body. “He felt like he’s OK. We just didn’t wanna risk that,” Melvin said. … Rajai Davis connected for his first spring home run and scored three runs. … Sean Doolittle gave up two runs in his inning of work but struck out three. He sported his new eyeglasses for the first time in a major league game. … Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer off former Athletic Rich Hill in the game at Glendale.