Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Angels 1

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Angels 1

BOX SCORE

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.

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

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USATI

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

Don’t count out top prospect Franklin Barreto as a possibility for the A’s in center field.

It’s long been speculated that the middle infielder might eventually get a look in center, and the idea has at least been discussed in team circles. It’s tied partially to whether the A’s exercise their $6 million club option on Jed Lowrie and bring him back as their regular second baseman in 2018.

Regardless, the battle to be Oakland’s everyday center fielder will be one of the A’s most intriguing storylines next spring. Grady Fuson, a special assistant to general manager David Forst who spends much of the season evaluating the team’s farm system, discussed several of the team’s center field options in the latest A’s Insider Podcast.

So much revolves around the health of 22-year-old Dustin Fowler, one of three prospects the A’s received from the Yankees for Sonny Gray. He’ll spend the winter continuing to rehab from a devastating knee injury suffered in his very first major league game in June while still with New York.

The A’s are hopeful he’ll be ready for spring training and believe he can be a solution in center.

“Fowler certainly is the guy we made this trade for, and I think everybody, top to bottom, in the system is counting on him taking that spot,” Fuson said. “But we all know he’s been hurt. How he comes back, who knows? Boog (Powell’s) been doing a very good job for us. And there’s other options.”

The 21-year-old Barreto, who has split time between second and short this season at Triple-A and with the big club, played some center in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2015. He’s always talked with enthusiasm about the idea.

The A’s experimented with another highly touted young infielder, Yairo Munoz, in center field in the minors this season.

“(We’ve) had discussions about taking Munoz out there, which we’ve done,” Fuson said. “We’ve had discussions about maybe Franklin Barreto, depending on what happens at second here at end of the year, over the winter, and early in camp.”

Lowrie has enjoyed a very strong season with Oakland, and A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has said the team is seriously considering picking up his option. Having Barreto be an option in center could be a way to keep him in the majors in 2018 even if Lowrie returns at second base.

Fuson stressed that the idea of Barreto in center hasn’t advanced past the early-discussion phase. No decisions have been made.

What’s interesting is that, in a short time, the A’s have gone from scarce few center field options to suddenly having several. Powell and Fowler may enter the spring as front runners, but Munoz, Jaycob Brugman, Chad Pinder, Jake Smolinski and, perhaps, Barreto may all have a shot too.

The A’s also used their first-round pick in June on high school center fielder Austin Beck, who represents another option down the road.

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

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USATSI

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

A's catcher Bruce Maxwell has a history with foul tips and concussion concerns, so there was cause for concern after he took a direct shot during Wednesday's game against the Tigers.

With one out in the ninth inning, Tigers shortstop fouled a ball square into Maxwell's facemask. The A's catcher immediately fell backwards. As manager Bob Melvin and the team trainer checked on him, he appeared dazed and rubbed his eyes. In an attempt to try to stay in the game, reliever Liam Hendriks tossed two warmup pitches. Maxwell missed the first one, but even after he caught the second one, it was clear he wasn't right and was removed from the game.

Afterwards, Melvin was asked about Maxwell's status.

"He went through all the protocol. It doesn't look like a concussion at this point. We'll probably know more in the next couple of days," Melvin told reporters in Detroit. "Took a pretty good shot. More sore on his face because of where the impact was, which was right in the middle of his face."

Josh Phegley replaced Maxwell for the final two outs of the game. Hendriks managed to close out the 3-2 win for the A's.