Pratt's Instant Replay: Mariners 3, A's 2

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Mariners 3, A's 2

BOX SCORE

When the Mariners and Athletics lock horns, offense is at a premium. The Mariners ended up taking the game 3-2 after an eighth inning rally. As much trouble as Seattle has had winning, they seem to have the A's number. Oakland is 3-6 against the Mariners this season, and 45-59 against them since 2007, the worst winning percentage by any team against Seattle. Starting Pitching ReportThe Mariners ran their scoreless streak up to 25 innings before scoring a run on Travis Blackley in the third inning. The run came on a long RBI double by Franklin Gutierrez, which hit the top of the wall in left-center field. The Mariners plated one more run on a sacrifice fly, making it 2-0. The Australian lefty was efficient in Seattle, where he started his career. He threw 88 pitches over seven innings. He allowed only two runs and struck out three hitters, gave up five hits, and issued one walk.
Blackley has allowed five runs over his last three starts combined, not bad for a guy who pitched in Korea last year. At the PlateAs the Mariners ended their scoreless innings streak, the A's began one of their own. Reaching 13 scoreless before Yoenis Cespedes launched a solo homer to left-center field. It was the Cuban sluggers eighth homer of the season. Seth Smith followed Cespedes with a double down the right field line. He has collected a hit in his last eight road games. Jonny Gomes then tied the game at two, driving in Smith with a single. Cespedes' homer knocked Vargas out of the game. The A's hitters must have been happy to see him go. After flailing away for 11 strikeouts on Monday, Vargas struck out five of the first six hitters he faced. He ended up tying a career-high with 10 strikeouts. The previous time he struck out 10 hitters also came against the A's. In total, the A's hitters have registered 25 strikeouts in the two games this series. Cespedes has hit four homers and driven in eight runs this season against Seattle and they had seen enough of him. Mariners manager Eric Wedge chose to intentionally walk him in the eighth inning, bringing Brandon Inge to the plate with two on and two outs. Inge struck out in the biggest at-bat of the game for the A's. Inge ended 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Jemile Weeks stole his first base since May 14. It was his first stolen base in 35 games. and 11th steal on the season.Bullpen ReportThe A's bullpen gave up the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jim Miller started the inning and got into trouble. He allowed two hits, and intentionally walked Ichiro. The second hit that he gave up was an RBI-single to Brendan Ryan who is batting .182 this season. Jerry Blevins entered with two outs and two on after Miller departed. He got Kyle Seager to fly out to end the inning. In the FieldBlackley showed off his pickoff move in the fifth, freezing Casper Wells at first base. In the sixth inning Blackley had Ichiro picked clean off first base too, but the umpire called him safe. Also in the bottom of the sixth, Smith made a slick backhanded sliding catch to rob Seager. Cespedes played all nine innings in center field. He hadn't started a game in the outfield since June 13. He made a catch in the right-center field gap in the eighth inning ranging very far on the run. He said he didn't want to play the outfield until he was 100-percent. It appears he is fully healthy. AttendanceThe announced attendance at SafeCo Field was 12,411. That is a very small crowd considering the Mariners have one of the nicest stadiums in baseball. Up NextJarrod Parker (3-3, 2.70 ERA) takes on Kevin Millwood (3-6, 4.02 ERA). Parker was in line to get the victory against the Giants on Friday but Ryan Cook blew the save. The rookie right-handed pitcher is 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA in his last three starts.Millwood allowed eight runs -- five of which were earned -- in his last start against the Padres. He hasn't been very successful at home this season, going 1-2 with a 5.46 ERA.

Hendriks cites travel, readiness as reasons he withdrew from WBC

Hendriks cites travel, readiness as reasons he withdrew from WBC

MESA, Ariz. — In his heart, Liam Hendriks wanted to pitch for his national team in the World Baseball Classic. In reality, the A’s reliever just couldn’t justify it.

So Hendriks withdrew from joining Team Australia for its first-round games in Tokyo. He becomes the second Athletic to bow out of the WBC after left fielder Khris Davis decided not to play for Mexico. Relievers John Axford (Canada) and Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic), and starter Sonny Gray (United States) are still slated to play, though Gray wouldn’t join the American squad unless it advances to Round 2 and Casilla still hasn’t reported to A’s camp because of visa issues, so his exact plans aren’t known.

“When I really sat down and thought about it, I’m not quite where I want to be to be pitching in competitive games yet,” Hendriks said Saturday morning. “I’m not hurt or anything like that. There’s no issues, I feel great physically. But it’s one of those things, I’m not quite ready to go into a game, and I know if I get into a situation where if I push it a little bit more, I’m going to overextend myself and I don’t want to do that. And I don’t want to risk this season coming up with Oakland.”

Hendriks told Australian officials he could be available for Round 2, but it will be a joint decision between how he was feeling and whether the Aussie pitching staff needs him.

The right-hander was originally scheduled to pitch in Saturday’s Cactus League opener, in an effort to get him into game shape for the WBC. Now that he’s not playing in the first round, the A’s are slowing him down just a bit. Hendriks will throw on the side a bit more and then throw live batting practice before pitching in an exhibition.

“I could pitch in a game right now … but I’m not confident in all my pitches,” he said. “I’m confident in my spring training pitches, but it’s not midseason form like I’d want to be to be able to perform for that (Australian) team.”

The 30-hour round trip travel to Tokyo also complicated things, with Hendriks saying his throwing schedule would have been thrown out of whack upon his return.

Now 28, Hendriks pointed out that he got to pitch in the 2009 WBC as a wide-eyed 20-year-old, getting his roster spot because a veteran backed out. He’s hopeful another youngster now gets the same opportunity.

Hendriks posted a 3.76 ERA in 53 appearances last season, but pitched particularly well over the second half of the season, setting him up as an important piece of this year’s A's bullpen.

“It’s just a better decision for my career and my season,” he said.

 

Mailbag: Will A's find Healy regular playing time?

Mailbag: Will A's find Healy regular playing time?

MESA, Ariz. — The start of Cactus League games will provide some tangible results and statistics, and that will eventually give us some clarity on how the A’s 25-man roster will shake out.

Until then, it’s all speculation. And there’s no shortage of questions to ponder. With that in mind, I’ll periodically open it up to whatever is on your mind regarding this team and try to shed as much insight as I can.

And we’re off …

From @Mr_Peach33: Is Yonder Alonso going to be taking at-bats away from Ryon Healy?

Maybe it’s more accurate to say the signing of third baseman Trevor Plouffe is what threatens to eat into Healy’s playing time. By inking Plouffe to a one-year deal off the free agency market, the A’s took away a position that was solely Healy’s over the second half of 2016. This is going to be interesting to watch play out, because GM David Forst says there can still be 500 at-bats for Healy between first base, DH and occasional starts at third.

It’s hard to fathom the A’s not making it a priority to find Healy regular playing time somewhere on the diamond. I don’t buy into any thoughts that taking Healy off third somehow stunts his growth. The guy’s biggest contribution to this team will be with his bat, not his defense. And he’s played more first base over the years than third anyway, going back to his college days at Oregon. But, he absolutely needs to be in the lineup somewhere on a regular basis, based on his impressive showing in his major league debut in 2016. Maybe it’s Healy that will be taking at-bats away from Alonso.

From @mikemendonca22: Is Andrew Triggs a lock for the rotation? Where do you see Mark Canha fitting in?

Slick effort from Mike to squeeze two questions into one. I’ll try to quickly address both …

Triggs is by no means a lock for the rotation. He’s got to pitch well in exhibitions to nail down the No. 5 starter spot. But Jesse Hahn has a say in this too. He’s also got a legitimate shot to win this job, beginning with Saturday’s start against the Cubs. Triggs’ advantage is that the front office is a big believer that he can get the job done in a starting role. Hahn’s advantage is that the A’s have seen a body of work from him as a successful big league starter, when he posted a 3.35 ERA over 16 starts in 2015. That included a shutout of the Detroit Tigers.

Right now, Canha fits in as a platoon partner in right field with the left-handed hitting Matt Joyce. He could also play some left field when Khris Davis is serving as DH. Canha is an option at first base too against left-handed pitchers.

From @KennyPaul68: What are they doing bringing old guys back? Let the kids play and learn. Second base and third base should be the kids!!

I generally agree with your stance, Kenny, about going young and letting the prospects get experience and learn from their mistakes. If it’s going to be another long year in the bottom half of the AL West, and the objective viewpoint says it will be, you might as well let these talented kids play and develop. But in the A’s defense, switching Healy off third and putting him at first is OK in my book because Healy would eventually be moving to first anyway when Matt Chapman is ready. Thing is, the A’s simply don’t think Chapman is ready to take over at third base yet. His 173 strikeouts at Double-A last year would suggest perhaps they are right. So that’s why they signed veteran Trevor Plouffe to play third as a place holder until Chapman is ready.

As for second base, let’s allow this scenario to play out. Jed Lowrie is in the final year of his contract, and if he’s healthy and turns in a productive first half, you have to think he’s a legitimate trade candidate at the Aug. 1 deadline. The A’s could go with a combo of Joey Wendle/Chad Pinder at second base if Lowrie is dealt. Or, if top prospect Franklin Barreto tears it up at Triple-A, he could force the A’s hand by making them clear a spot for him to get promoted and take over at second base.