OAKLAND -- As players were being swapped like cardboard gods at a trade show, the A's were all quiet on the deadline front. Oakland clearly has a need to address at shortstop, but the price wasn't right. A's shortstops are batting a combined .191 with a .254 on-base percentage and just 24 RBIs -- they rank last in the American League in all three of those categories. On the flip side of the equation, Oakland is 34-16 since June 2 -- making them the hottest team in baseball. The A's also clinched a franchise best July record, going 19-4 this month with one game to play. They weren't exactly desperate to make a move. If it ain't broke don't fix it. The A's have made a staggering amount of roster moves this season and the team is just now starting to gel -- both in the clubhouse and on the field. The results are showing in the standings. The team is 10 games over .500 and in the thick of the A.L. playoff race. I've been writing, saying, tweeting, emailing for months that the best course of action would be for the A's to stand pat. Not panicking keeps the A's in tact and doesn't sacrifice the farm system. Don't blame the ownership for the A's making a move, they tried. Adding payroll wasn't the main reason the A's didn't make a trade. Their payroll is around 52M this season. It was as high as 67M in 2011, and 79M in 2007. The ownership has stated they have payroll flexibility. According to reports Oakland was willing to part with much more in terms of players than the Dodgers were for Hanley Ramirez. Except L.A. decided to eat his contract and the Marlins did what was best for their pocketbooks, rather than what was best for their franchise. That might have been the A's best chance to shore up the left side of their infield. Their best fit could have been Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar. He has a very reasonable contract that earns him 5M per year through 2014 with a 5M club option for 2015 as well. The Jays have a shortstop prospect named Adeiny Hechavarria knocking on the door, so they could have afforded to move Escobar in order to stock up elsewhere. Alameda native Jimmy Rollins would have been an interesting addition but he is well liked in Philadelphia. He also has a burdensome contract and is trending downward statistically year by year. He is owed 22M through 2014, and has a vesting option for 2015. The 2015 option is worth 11M more if he is able to reach certain performance incentives. Stephen Drew wasn't a fantastic fit for the A's who want to win now. He is still getting back into the swing of things after a serious ankle injury that forced him to miss the last two months of 2011, and didn't return to the Diamondbacks lineup until June 27 this season.The A's did address their catching situation in a minor trade by acquiring left-handed hitter George Kottaras. He will be used in a catching platoon with Kurt Suzuki. The A's newest catcher has some power and gets on-base effectively. July 31 merely marks the end of the non-waiver trade deadline. The A's can still make moves. It just becomes slightly more complicated. What do you think? Are you upset the A's didn't make any major moves?
ANAHEIM – The A’s endured one of those nights Wednesday when the scoreboard couldn’t convey the extent of their blues.
The tone of an 8-5 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels was set early, when starting pitcher Sean Manaea left after two innings with what was announced as tightness in his throwing shoulder.
From there, things gradually unraveled as the A’s lost their third in a row and took on what looks to be another injury to a key player. The seriousness of Manaea’s injury wasn’t immediately known, but his early exit added to the recent run of medical misfortune, as center fielder Rajai Davis, shortstop Marcus Semien and starter Kendall Graveman have all hit the disabled list over the past 12 days.
Graveman will be activated Thursday and start against the Angels, but Manaea’s condition will loom large as the 25-year-old lefty is considered a foundation piece for the A’s, now and for the future.
The A’s trailed 4-3 in the seventh when the Angels pulled away with four runs off Ryan Dull. Matt Joyce’s two-run homer in the eighth pulled them closer but they lost for the second night in a row at Angel Stadium and will have to win Thursday night to avoid a sweep. Wednesday’s loss dropped them back below .500 at 10-11.
Starting pitching report:
It was obvious early that something was bothering Manaea. His fastball, which usually sits in the low 90’s and gets into the mid-90’s, was hovering in the 88-89 range. The A’s led 2-0 before the Angels struck for three runs in the second. Danny Espinosa and Martin Maldonado each delivered RBI doubles that landed just past the diving reach of right fielder Matt Joyce and center fielder Jaff Decker, respectively. Another run scored on Cameron Maybin’s single.
Frankie Montas gave up a run over 2 1/3 innings after being called into early duty when Manaea got hurt. Dull, trying to keep it a 4-3 game, did not have his command in the seventh. He threw a wild pitch, hit Danny Espinosa with a 1-2 pitch and then allowed Maybin’s two-run single that keyed Los Angeles’ four-run seventh.
At the plate:
It was a big night for Yonder Alonso, who had a two-run single in the first and then homered in the sixth to pull Oakland within 4-3. Alonso already has four homers, putting more than halfway to his 2016 total of seven in the season’s first month. The A’s struck out 13 times, giving them 24 strikeouts over the first two games of this series.
In the field:
It took until the seventh inning for the A’s to be charged with an error that snapped their streak of six consecutive errorless games. Stephen Vogt couldn’t hold on to Dull’s glove flip on Martin Maldonado’s squeeze bunt. But even before then, this wasn’t a sharp defensive effort. Joyce got caught off guard in the fourth when Maybin tagged up and made it to second on a fly to right. Joyce’s gesturing afterward seemed to suggest nobody was letting him now the runner was tagging. An inning later, Decker seemed stunned as the lumbering Albert Pujols went first to third on Andrelton Simmons’ single.
The announced crowd was 30,248.
Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.00) is set to come off the D.L. on Thursday and make his first start since April 14, when he was lost to a strained right shoulder. He’ll be opposed by Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 4.76), who took the Opening Night loss against the A’s at the Coliseum when he allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.
ANAHEIM — A’s starter Sean Manaea left Wednesday night’s game after two innings with tightness in his throwing shoulder.
It’s a troubling sign for an Oakland rotation that’s already been hit hard by injuries.
The A’s are about to welcome back Kendall Graveman from his own shoulder issue — he’s scheduled to come off the disabled list and pitch Thursday night. Sonny Gray’s return from a lat injury could come next week if he emerges from Thursday’s Triple-A rehab start OK.
But if Manaea goes on the shelf for any period of time, it certainly cancels out a portion of that optimism. The 25-year-old lefty usually sits in the low to mid-90’s with his fastball. Throughout Wednesday’s start, his fastball was in the 88-89 mile-per-hour range, only registering as high as 90 a handful of times. Manaea gave up three runs in the second inning against the Angels. For the season, he’s 1-1 with a 5.18 ERA in five starts.
More information should be coming after the game. The A’s trailed the Angels 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.