Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 8, Indians 5

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 8, Indians 5

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OAKLAND -- Moneyball on the field before the game, during the game, and after the game. The A's are going streaking. The A's 8-5 win might only give them a three-game winning streak, but you have to start somewhere. With the 2002 A's in attendance, the current A's put on a show. Specifically Bartolo Colon, who put forth an effort any member of the "Big 3" would have been happy with. The A's starting pitcher stumped the Indians' bats over eight innings of one-run ball. Speaking of Moneyball, four of the six A's that reached via walk scored. At the PlateThe A's drove in four runs in the third inning. Cliff Pennington reached base on an error and Coco Crisp walked. They executed a double steal moving into scoring position. Josh Donaldson grounded out driving in the first run of the game. Josh Reddick then smacked an opposite field RBI double driving in Crisp. Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate next and hit an absolute laser into the left field bleachers for a two-run homer. Chris Carter drew his major league-leading 25th walk since the All-Star break in the second inning. In the sixth inning he smacked a double down the left field line. He would come around to score the A's fifth run when George Kottaras hit an RBI single. Cespedes gave the A's a 6-1 lead with an RBI single in the seventh inning. He ended up 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Josh Donaldson stayed hot, also going 2-for-4 with one RBI.Crisp piled on late in the game with a two-run, stand-up triple into the right-field gap. He gave the A's an 8-1 lead. Starting Pitching ReportColon was perfect through three innings but ran into a little trouble in the fourth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a deep double to left field to become the Indians' first base runner. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a single to right but Cabrera stayed on third instead of testing Reddick's throwing arm. Colon then got Carlos Santana to ground into an inning-ending double play. Colon was remarkably efficient yet again. He faced just one over the minimum in the first six innings. His only earned run came on a solo homer hit by Carlos Santana. The veteran pitcher threw 20 first-pitch strikes and faced 28 batters. He struck out three and walked none. He threw 103 pitches -- 74 strikes -- lasting eight innings giving up just five hits.At 39, it is quite amazing to watch what Colon is able to do on the mound throwing almost nothing but four-seam and two-seem fastballs. He is unflappable, in the eighth inning A's manager Bob Melvin came out for a meeting on the mound and somehow Colon made everyone involved in the session laugh. Bullpen ReportEvan Scribner entered in the ninth inning with a seven-run lead. He allowed a two-run homer to Shin-Soo Choo. Scribner left the game with two outs and a runner on first. Jerry Blevins entered in relief hoping to record the third out to end the game. He gave up another two-run homer to Brent Lillibridge who entered as a pinch hitter. He was pulled from the game after surrendering another hit to Jason Donald. The A's were forced to use their interim closer Grant Balfour with two outs in the ninth. It obviously not ideal to have to put the closer in the game last minute when entering the ninth inning with a considerable lead. The Australian-born pitcher brought the rage and struck out Ezequiel Carrera to end the game and earn his 11th save. In the FieldHow much respect is the league giving Reddick for his throwing arm? One play in the fourth pretty much sums it up. Choo singled to right field with Cabrera on second, Reddick came up throwing. As Cabrera rounded third he went into a slide near the third base coaches box in order to stop, then scurried back to the bag as Reddick's throw reached home. In the ninth inning Michael Brantley singled to right field and made a wide turn before coming to a screeching halt when he saw Reddick get to the ball. Reddick is second in the major leagues with 13 outfield assists. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 30,132. Those that came got to witness a a classy ceremony honoring the 2002 Oakland Athletics that won 20 consecutive games. Many of them got a Scott Hatteberg bobble head. Dot RaceRed wins the dot race.Up NextThe A's will send Jarrod Parker (7-7, 3.71 ERA) to the mound seeking a series sweep. Parker is 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA in his three August starts.The Indians will counter with Justin Masterson (9-10, 4.50 ERA). He is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA in his last three starts. Masterson is 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his career vs. Oakland.

With Yankees on the prowl, error costs Sonny Gray in loss to Blue Jays

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USATSI

With Yankees on the prowl, error costs Sonny Gray in loss to Blue Jays

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Sonny Gray walked off the mound after a scoreless bottom of the sixth Tuesday in Toronto.

Was it the last inning he’ll pitch in green and gold?

That’s the dominant storyline around the A’s right now, especially in light of Tuesday afternoon’s revelation that the Yankees are making a run at acquiring both Gray and first baseman Yonder Alonso from Oakland in a package deal.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported multiple sources as saying the teams were “making progress” on a deal that would send both players to the Big Apple.

The A’s have been scouting the Yankees’ farm system recently, along with the systems of other contending teams who are considering Gray. The speculation surrounding Alonso, a free agent this winter, has been light in recent weeks except for the Yankees’ known interest. But after New York acquired corner infielder Todd Frazier from the White Sox last week, it seemed the Yankees’ need for Alonso might have lessened. Apparently, that’s not the case.

Gray struck out nine over six innings in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays, which leaves the A’s 1-4 so far on this seven-game road trip. All four runs off him came in the second, when his own throwing error toward second base helped open the gates to the only rally Toronto needed. Ryan Goins had a two-out two-run double and Jose Bautista also doubled home a run in the inning, with all four runs off Gray unearned.

MLB.com also reported earlier Tuesday that the A’s had a particular interest in Yankees Single-A center fielder Estevan Florial, and that infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo, ranked New York’s fourth-best prospect by Baseball America before the season, could also enter the equation. That same report mentioned that such elite Yankee prospects as shortstop Gleyber Torres, outfielder Clint Frazier and pitchers Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield would be all but untouchable. All are among New York’s top-10 prospects.

But for a deal that includes both Gray and Alonso, it stands to reason the A’s could ask for the inclusion of one or more of those four in a deal.

The Yankees aren’t the only team that has an enticing pool of prospects that could make for a match with Oakland. Houston, known to be going after a starter, has multiple outfielders who could be attractive to the A’s. The Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are among other teams in search of pitching who could put together competitive offers.

Gray’s next scheduled start would come Sunday at home against the Minnesota Twins, one day before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Decision time for A's: Trade Sonny Gray now or later?

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AP

Decision time for A's: Trade Sonny Gray now or later?

As Sonny Gray prepares to take the mound against Toronto on Tuesday night, there’s not a hotter name in the rumor mill as the major leagues’ non-waiver trade deadline approaches Monday.

Yet there’s a contradiction attached to the A’s right-hander. He is simultaneously the likeliest Athletic to be traded, and the toughest to pry away simply because of what the team will demand in return.

The markets for first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Jed Lowrie haven’t developed as expected, to the point that you wonder how much the A’s could even get in return for them right now.

That focuses the spotlight squarely on Gray, 27, who has posted a 1.62 ERA over his last five starts and comes with two more seasons of team control before he hits free agency. That’s why he’s been linked to no fewer than nine contending teams who are looking for starting pitching.

The A’s sit in a position of strength here. They don’t have to deal Gray right now, and indications from within the organization are that they don’t feel a pressing need to deal him before Monday if they don’t get swept off their feet by an offer. They can retain him, and he’ll still hold great value as an offseason trade chip with those two years of team control.

MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported Tuesday morning that the Yankees and Nationals — who have already struck a deal with Oakland to get relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson this month — are two teams in particular to watch in the hunt for Gray.

Morosi also reported that the A’s are targeting young outfielders as the anchor of any deal. That makes all the sense in the world given their organizational needs, particularly in center. It’s also in line with what I’ve heard that the A’s would prioritize getting position players in return since they worked so hard over the past couple of years to acquire and draft young starting pitching (though it stands to reason a deal for Gray would be a multi-player package that could also include pitching prospects as well).

Morosi specifically mentions Yankees Single-A center fielder Estevan Florial as a player the A’s like. He’s just 19 and at least a couple years away from the majors. But Billy Beane, the head of Oakland’s baseball operations, said after making the Doolittle/Madson trade that the emphasis moving forward would be on acquiring high-end talent, not necessarily prospects close to being major league-ready.

Other potential Gray suitors have elite outfield prospects in their system: The Astros boast Kyle Tucker, the Nats have Victor Robles and the Mariners have Kyle Lewis, though it’s doubtful whether Seattle has enough elsewhere in its farm system to assemble a package to land Gray.

Just a hunch, but keep an eye on the Dodgers as a team that could enter the Sonny Sweepstakes in light of Clayton Kershaw’s lower back injury. There’s strong ties between the Oakland and Los Angeles front offices, and the teams struck a deadline deal last summer that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers. They have one of the majors’ top outfield prospects in Alex Verdugo, who’s currently at Triple-A.

Though much mystery remains, an eventual trade of Gray is inevitable. The A’s have a solid base of young pitching depth, both in the majors and coming up through the system. And Gray’s rebound from a poor 2016, combined with his favorable contract status, makes him too tantalizing a trade chip for the A’s not to make the move.

The key question is not “if” but “when.”