An MVP you have to watch play to understand

879719.jpg

An MVP you have to watch play to understand

The case for Yoenis Cespedes as American League Most Valuable Player comes too late, flies in the face of the two actual candidates, and really has no constituency.His numbers arent good enough to match Miguel Cabreras. His WAR doesnt even merit comparison with Mike Trouts; hell, hes tied for 61st with Desmond Jennings. He plays for the Battling Piefaces, the team that laughs at conventional analysis.And without him, the Oakland Athletics are . . . well, the Chicago White Sox.But with him, the As are positioned unusually well to end up with the best record in the American League of Baseball Clubs after all the games are played. Thats right. Theyre only two games behind Texas, with the faltering Rangers coming into Seagull City for the final series of the year. They are also a game behind both Baltimore and New York. In short, they could Cespedes their way to the absolute top of the game that has stood on their necks for the last five years.But Johnny Lawns (the rough English mang-lation of his name) isnt an MVP candidate. He is that bane of the sabermetricians skills and the traditionalists biases the guy you have to actually have to see to comprehend. And since Oakland has been baseballs must-see-something-else team, Cespedes doesnt register on radar.But a game-winning home run, a triple, a stolen run because he decided to gamble on a close play at the plate, and his general command of his new position has made him The Best Candidate Who Missed The Filing Deadline.Bob Melvin knows his value. So does Wm. Lamar Beane, who committed 20 percent of Johnny-Boy Fishers payroll to the notion that Cespedes might be ready to be functional major leaguer by June.As it turned out, Beane was too generous by three months, underpaid Johnny Lawns based on productivity and general eye appeal, and is now reaping the benefits of the guy who fixed not only Melvins lineup card but his outfield defense. He got Coco Crisp out of the holding cell of left field and back in center, where he rightly belongs, and took the bull by the pointy hat to learn left field. Add Josh Reddick, and the As may have the most productive O-D outfield combination in the game.Now we ask is that valuable, or what?Of course it is. And while we dont mean to suggest that this alone cured the As of their hardened arteries, irregular heartbeat and gout, it did change the nature of the team. The pitchers didnt have to win their game, 0-to-minus-one. The other hitters didnt have to master the five-run homer. The third baseman and shortstop werent responsible for any fly ball between the infield dirt and the warning track.And yes, we understand that hitting .291 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs in 126 games isnt Triple Crown stuff, and a WAR that is almost seven games lower than the league leaders. We get that he will get approximately no first-place votes, and frankly, he shouldnt. Mike Trout is a better candidate, and so is Miguel Cabrera.But the As are one game away from savaging baseball logic, dismembering the pundit class, and making the We Believe Warriors look like a dull, featureless collection of disinterested parties. They also are the new model in lie detectors anyone in this plane of existence who says he or she thought this was better than a 75-win team is a liar and should be treated as such.Thats valuable, too. Defying gravity always is.So maybe Bob Melvin can reflect on Monday morning what he might have done had he sold Cespedes a little harder to the notebookedmicrophoned hyenas. Maybe Beane could have made a few calls to schmooze the electorate, and lets be frank here, the electorate is always willing to be schmoozed.But it wouldnt be the same. Yoenis Cespedes, Johnny Lawns, has created a new template for the award, one that means more actual money and automobile fuel to be expended.The MVP you have to watch play to understand.Nahhh. Thatll never catch on.

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Rookie Matt Chapman quickly atoned for a baserunning blunder by hitting a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that sent the Oakland Athletics over the Mets 3-2 Sunday, ending New York's four-game winning streak.

With the July 31 trade deadline nearing and far back in the NL wild-card race, the Mets now start a 10-game trip, and there's no telling whether veterans such as Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda will remain on the team when it returns to Citi Field.

Marcus Semien and Khris Davis also homered for Oakland, helping Bob Melvin post his 999th victory as a big league manager. Semien connected on the sixth pitch of the game, and Davis hit his 28th home run in the fourth.

Michael Conforto hit his 19th homer of the season and fifth of the Mets' 6-4 homestand that followed the All-Star break.

Oakland led 2-1 when Chapman opened the fifth with a double and moved up on a wild pitch by Rafael Montero (1-7). But with no outs, Chapman wandered too far from third base and was picked off by catcher Rene Rivera.

After the Mets tied it on an RBI grounder by Jose Reyes, Chapman launched a drive with two outs in the seventh. Chapman showed pop in the minors, and has homered four times since making his major league debut last month, including a drive Saturday night.

The Athletics made another mistake on the bases in the ninth when Jed Lowrie tried to steal second — with pinch-runner Rajai Davis already there, resulting in an out.

Rookie Daniel Gossett (2-5) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He snagged a line drive by Curtis Granderson just above his head in the fifth, preserving Oakland's one-run lead.

Santiago Casilla, a possible trade target in the next two weeks, worked the ninth for his 16th save in 21 chances. After Wilmer Flores singled with one out, pinch-hitter Yoenis Cespedes hit a flyball that got fans hollering it might leave the park, but it was caught way short of the warning track.

The A's improved to 3-10 in interleague play, still the worst mark in the majors. The start of the game was delayed 61 minutes because of rain.

Despite the defeat, it was not a total loss for Montero. He was 0 for 28 at the plate in his major league career before lining a two-out single in the fifth. He broke into a big smile and the ball was thrown into the Mets dugout for safekeeping.

Montero then scampered to third when Conforto struck out on a wild pitch that bounced toward the New York bench. Granderson's bid for a tying hit was caught by the right-handed Gossett, who took off his glove, rotated his left shoulder to work out a kink, spit, tilted his hat and shook his head as he slowly walked off the mound.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Righty reliever Ryan Dull (strained knee) could rejoin the A's for the finale of the upcoming four-game series in Toronto. ... 1B Ryon Healy didn't start for the second straight game after getting hit in the head by a bad hop Friday.

Mets: Cespedes and INF Asdrubal Cabrera didn't start, with manager Terry Collins saying the veterans told him they could use a day off.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-0, 2.77 ERA) starts in Toronto vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (5-5, 6.15). Smith made his first major league start earlier this month at age 36.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (11-3, 3.37) has won seven straight starts. He has a 1.51 ERA in that span, striking out 50 and walking 10. He'll face Padres LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35).

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.