Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Angels 1


Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Angels 1


ANAHEIM -- The A's are on another one of those rolls. They have won four games in a row and reached 20 games over .500 for the first time since the 2006 season. After getting swept by the Angels in lopsided fashion in Oakland, the A's silenced the doubters by steamrolling through Seattle and opening the series in Anaheim with a 3-1 win. Oakland has now won 10 consecutive road contests.At the PlateIn the previous series against the Angels, Oakland never held a lead. They wasted no time jumping in front on Monday night. Coco Crisp started the game with a leadoff triple that crashed off the scoreboard in right field, then scooted home when Seth Smith hit an RBI groundout to first base. That one run seemingly made all the difference.
Brandon Moss also did some damage while leading off an inning. He connected on a solo homer to right field that cleared the high scoreboard. Torii Hunter tracked the ball to the wall and stopped with his glove up as if the ball was coming to him and then turned and watched it sail over his head. He must have been messing with Moss. It was his 17th home run of the season and it gave the A's a 2-1 lead.Another A's run, another big leadoff hit. Cliff Pennington started the sixth inning with a solo homer to right field. Pennington is hitting .482 (14-29) in his last nine games. Jemile Weeks is going to have a tough time prying second base away from Pennington at this rate.The A's were able to get Dan Haren out of their hair relatively early. He left the game with one out in the seventh inning. After he left the game the A's rallied to load the bases against two different Angels relievers. The third and final pitcher of the inning, Jason Isringhausen, struck out Stephen Drew and then snared a Pennington come-backer to end the inning.Starting Pitching ReportJarrod Parker was exceptional on Monday. He only allowed one run to the powerful Angels lineup over seven innings of work. He struck out two batters and walked two, giving up three hits. Parker threw 98 pitches, 58 of which were thrown for strikes.Parker was playing with fire in the third inning when he issued a two-out walk to Mike Trout. The American League leader in stolen bases took off for second, advanced to third when catcher George Kottaras' throw got away from Cliff Pennington, and scored when Torii Hunter hit an opposite field double to right. In a streaking blur of red, the Angels tied the game at one. Really the only mistake Parker made was walking Trout who has 45 stolen bases this season.Parker pitched out of a fourth inning jam with two runners on base and one out thanks to a little help from his friends. He got Mark Trumbo to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. The play was particularly impressive on Pennington's part. He hung in there at second in order to complete the throw to first and he didn't budge as Erick Aybar attempted the takeout slide.Parker became the 10th rookie in Oakland history to reach double-digit wins.Bullpen ReportThe A's bullpen has been exceptional this season.They haven't blown a save in the last 26 games. Despite the best efforts of the rally monkey they stumped the Angels.Grant Balfour pitched the ninth inning with a two-run lead. He sat down the Angels in order. He is now 10-for-10 in save opportunities since taking over the A's closer role.Ryan Cook has not allowed a run in 11 of his last 12 outings, though had little trouble with the Angels in the eighth inning. The only reason he allowed a base runner was because Trout legged out an infield single with his freakish speed.In the FieldIn the third inning Yoenis Cespedes made a ranging catch up against the barrier in left field foul territory to take the bat out of the hands of Alberto Callaspo.The A's made three errors but none of them proved costly.AttendanceThe Angels announced an attendance of 36,064.Up NextThe Angels shook up their pitching rotation prior to Monday's game. Jerome Williams (6-7. 4.59 ERA) will make a spot start on Tuesday to allow Jered Weaver to slip back into the rotation for the series finale on Thursday. Weaver missed his last start with right shoulder tendonitis. Williams hasn't started a game since July 19.Dan Straily (1-0, 3.18) will take the mound for the A's. It will be his first start since getting recalled following Brandon McCarthy's injury. Straily gave up four home runs in his last outing against the Angels despite an A's victory.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.

A’s reliever, movie buff Axford makes 2017 Oscars predictions

A’s reliever, movie buff Axford makes 2017 Oscars predictions

Update: Axford finished the night correctly predicting 19 of 24 Oscars this year.


A's reliever John Axford is not your casual movie fan. 

Axford majored in Film at Notre Dame and has a proven track record when it comes to the biggest night for movies. 

The last two years, Axford correctly predicted 17 of 24 winners for the Academy Awards. In 2014, Axford went a perfect 18-of-18 with his predictions. 

On Saturday, Axford offered 24 predictions for the 2017 Oscars. 

Axford is a clear believer in La La Land, choosing the film for eights Oscars, after winning a record-breaking seven Golden Globes. 

Will he go a perfect 24-for-24 this year?