OAKLAND -- Just 20 days after straining his right oblique the Oakland Athletics insist that Brett Anderson is completely healthy. Why would they send him out to the mound if he wasn't? The Detroit Tigers might be a bit more skeptical and they will have a clever way to see just how healthy Anderson is. On Sept. 19, the day Anderson injured his right oblique, Detroit started the third inning by laying back-to-back bunt singles down the first-base line. Anderson, who falls off the mound to the third base side, had trouble getting back into position to field the bunts and ended up leaving the game four batters later. The A's insist that if the Tigers try that approach again they will be ready. "We're prepared for that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Whether it's him or someone else we're prepared." The A's are facing elimination with Anderson on the mound and when he's healthy they have to like their odds. There are some interesting variables in play with the 24-year-old lefty on the mound. It will be his first game action since suffering a Grade 2 oblique strain. It is also Anderson's first ever postseason experience. He may have looked healthy in his bullpen sessions, but it is impossible to simulate the adrenaline rush he will get when taking the mound in front of a sellout crowd. One minor tweak of the oblique and the A's season could be in jeopardy. "He was cleared on all fronts," Melvin said. "We wouldn't throw him out there if we weren't comfortable with his health. That means fielding his position, doing whatever he has to do." "My bullpens have been strong," Anderson said on Monday. "I took some time off with my oblique, so my arm feels good." Usually it's Anderson's left arm that has people worried. He missed 14 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011. The fact that he was forced to miss time with the oblique injury just six starts after his return to the mound might have been a blessing in disguise, because it forced him to rest his surgically repaired left elbow. Anderson is 6-2 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts since returning. He went 4-0 in his first four starts with the A's after Tommy John. The A's have been able to successfully gauge his readiness based on bullpen sessions this season. "We've looked at this thing pretty hard and we feel like we are in a good position with him and he feels good," Melvin said. "The training staff feels good about it. It's like a normal start." Except it's in the playoffs. "I'm sure there will be adrenaline rushing, and it will be fun to pitch here," Anderson said. "A postseason game in Oakland, there hasn't been one in a while so I am excited."
After five seasons in Oakland, Stephen Vogt begins a new chapter of his career in Milwaukee.
The 32-year-old was designated for assignment by the last-place A's on Thursday and claimed by the first-place Brewers on Sunday.
On Monday, the two-time All-Star catcher discussed his new opportunity with a contender on MLB Network Radio.
"Obviously I was ecstatic to hear I was headed to Milwaukee. We all watch baseball and they are such a fun team to watch right now. And your buddy Eric Sogard is there, so I've got some familiarity. It's an opportunity to win and I think anybody, when you get to the stage I'm in in my career, where I'm 32, I want to win. I'm at the point where that's kind of the goal in the big leagues where all you care about is winning and that's where I'm at. So, to get the news that I'm headed to a first-place team, I couldn't be more excited," Vogt said.
After making the AL All-Star team the last two seasons, Vogt struggled to the tune of a .217 batting average with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games.
But with a new team in a new league comes a fresh slate.
"You get that rejuvenation feeling, you get that feeling that this is the change you needed especially going to a winning team where when you're winning, everyone plays better, when you're winning, everyones happier. No matter where you are in life, you want to have that feeling that somebody wants you. So to have Milwaukee come in and say 'We wanted you,' Yeah, it recharged the batteries. I'm ready to go," Vogt said.
The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.
They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.
The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.
The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.
They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.
Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.
Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.
Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).
Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.
An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.