Athletics

A's-Tigers stat pack

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A's-Tigers stat pack

Programming note: A's-Tigers coverage gets underway today at 3:30 p.m. with A's Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California!

A's rookies have thrown 641.2 inning this season - the most in baseball by far. With 4 rookies in the rotation the A's could set a record for most innings pitch by rookies on a team that advances to the postseason:

Most Innings Pitched by Rookies
Teams that advanced to Postseason 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers 720.1 2012 Oakland Athletics 641.2 1944 St. Louis Browns 569.2 1984 Kansas City Royals 534.2 1947 New York Yankees 468 1949 Brooklyn Dodgers 457.1
But not only that, the A's have 4 rookie everyday players (Cespedes, Carter, Norris, Donaldson). Only one team in history ever started 4 rookies in a postseason game - the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks did that 3 times - and who was the manager of the 2007 D-Backs? Bob Melvin.

The A's are starting a totally different infield and catcher compared to what they started for the first 2 months of the season:

A's Regular Lineup

April-May September
C Suzuki, Recker Norris, Kottaras 1B Barton, Ka'aihue Carter, Moss 2B Weeks Pennington, Rosales SS Pennington Drew
3B Inge Donaldson

Most Home Runs by First Basemen American League
Angels 33
White Sox 32
Athletics 30
Blue Jays 30
Orioles 27
Tigers 26
Last Season: A's 1B hit 7 HR - Fewest in Majors

Most Home Runs

First Season with New Team
Josh Willingham MIN 34 Albert Pujols LAA 30 Josh Reddick OAK 29 Carlos Beltran STL 29 Jason Kubel ARI 29 Prince Fielde DET 26 Ryan Ludwick CIN 26
Most Batter Strikeouts
A.L. History
2007 Tampa Bay 1,324
2010 Tampa Bay 1,292
2011 Seattle 1,280
2011 Cleveland 1,269
1996 Detroit 1,268
2009 Texas 1,253
2012 Oakland 1,232

The A's will take their league-leading road winning pct into the 3 cities whose teams have the 3 best home winning pcts:

Best Road Winning Pct in A.L.
Oakland 40-31 .563 Baltimore 40-32 .556 Texas 40-32 .556 New York 40-34 .541 Los Angeles 40-35 .533
Best Home Winning Pct in A.L. Texas 47-27 .635 Detroit 43-28 .606 New York 43-29 .597 Oakland 44-31 .587 Chicago 43-31 .581
A.J. Griffin is 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his first 11 big-league starts. Since the major leagues began recording earned runs in 1912, the only other pitcher who was undefeated in his first 11 big-league appearances, all of which were starts, while maintaining an earned run average under 2.00, was Jered Weaver in 2006 (12 GS, 9-0, 1.95).

Lowest WHIP This Season
Min 10 Starts

A.J. Griffin OAK 0.91 Brandon Beachy ATL 0.96 Jered Weaver LAA 1.00 Clayton Kershaw LAD 1.02 R.A. Dickey NYM 1.04 Matt Cain SF 1.05 Justin Verlander DET 1.05
Max Scherzer
Since June 28th
Starts 14
Rec 10-1
ERA 2.53
Opp Avg .221
IP 92.1
K's 113
Leads Majors

Max Scherzer
Last 3 Starts: 1 Walk, 25 Strikeouts

A.L. MVP Candidates

Miguel Cabrera Mike Trout Josh Hamilton Games 145 124 137 Avg .330 .329 .287 HR 38 27 42 RBI 123 77 123 Runs 97 116 98 OPS .993 .957 .947
Detroit Tigers
Since August 8
Record 17-19 1-Runs Games 2-13 AVG .256 RGM 4.0 ERA 3.45 SavesOpps 912
Lost Last 10 Games Decided by 1 Run

Bregman's big night against A's catches attention of his counterpart

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USATSI

Bregman's big night against A's catches attention of his counterpart

HOUSTON — A subplot to Friday night’s game at Minute Maid Park is one that will likely repeat itself often over the next few years.

The A’s and Astros boast two of the better young third basemen in the American League in Matt Chapman and Alex Bregman. Both are under 25, excellent with the glove and sure to face each other plenty as AL West opponents. The difference right now is Bregman is a key piece to a team likely to contend for the World Series.

Dallas Keuchel dominated the A’s on the mound Friday, but he got a huge assist from his 23-year-old third baseman.

Bregman made several standout defensive plays and drilled an opposite-field homer off Sean Manaea in the Astros’ 3-1 victory. Paying close attention from the opposing dugout was Chapman, who’s part of the A’s young nucleus that’s taking its lumps as it tries to learn how to win consistently at the major league level.

“He definitely showed up ready to play today,” Chapman said of Bregman. “He was all over the place at third base. I like to watch opposing third basemen and see what they kind of do. He’s definitely good at his craft.”

The two know each other well. Chapman, 24, played at Cal State Fullerton while Bregman attended LSU. They never faced each other in college, but they played together on Team USA in the summer of 2013, and Chapman praised the way Bregman goes about the game.

“(Bregman) literally is a shortstop playing third,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “So the ones on the run, especially to his backhand, he’s used to making those plays. He was significant in where the game went.”

Bregman has filled in at shortstop lately for Houston with Carlos Correa on the disabled list, though Marwin Gonzalez played short Friday.

Manaea, his fastball still lacking its typical zip of late, went six solid innings and showed improvement after three consecutive poor outings. The difference Friday was his ability to pitch inside better. He had a good changeup to offset a slider that he’s still trying to rediscover the feel for.

“I was just trying to let loose and not worry too much about the little things —mechanics , pitch grips, finishing through the ball,” Manaea said. “Today I just threw everything out the window and let my arm take care of everything.”

But his margin for error was minuscule with Keuchel dealing over seven innings of three-hit ball. Manaea fell behind Bregman 2-0 in the third and watched Bregman deposit a ball into the right field seats. Manaea then got ahead 0-2 on the next hitter, MVP candidate Jose Altuve. He tried to go high and tight with a fastball but caught too much plate, and Altuve made it back-to-back homers.

Former Athletic Josh Reddick singled home another run off Manaea in the sixth for a 3-0 Houston lead.

That was sufficient for Keuchel, whose repertoire was an eye-opener for Chapman and some of the A’s other young hitters. Chapman -- who came in leading AL rookies in runs, homers, RBI and extra base hits since the All-Star break -- doubled off the lefty in the fifth. But the A's only run came on Matt Joyce's eighth-inning homer against reliever Chris Devenski.

“(Keuchel) was getting ahead,” Chapman said. “If he happened to fall behind, he was still making quality pitches. You can prepare as much as you want, but until you get out there and see for yourself, that’s how you make adjustments.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's can't find answers vs Keuchel

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Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's can't find answers vs Keuchel

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON — Sean Manaea was much improved Friday night over his previous three starts for the A’s.

Unfortunately for the left-hander, he had no control over the work of his counterpart on the mound.

Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel was at his ground ball-inducing best, frustrating the A’s over seven scoreless innings as Houston continued its recent dominance over Oakland with a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Keuchel recorded 17 of his 21 outs via ground ball, an astonishing rate but typical of the way the 2015 AL Cy Young winner likes to do business. He entered the night leading the major leagues in groundball percentage (64.7) among those with at least 90 innings pitched. Keuchel (11-2) got a big assist from his infield defense, particularly third baseman Alex Bregman and shortstop Marwin Gonzalez.

Manaea went six innings and gave up three runs, including back-to-back solo homers from Bregman and Jose Altuve in the third. But it was a definite step forward after his previous three outings, in which he surrendered 13 earned runs and 21 hits over just 6 2/3 innings.

The A’s mustered just five hits. Aside from Matt Joyce’s homer in the eighth, they didn’t advance a single runner past second base.

Oakland has dropped 11 of 13 games to Houston so far this season.

IMPROVED SHOWING: After showing signs of fatigue in his recent starts, Manaea showed improved form simply based on the batters he retired. His fastball generally sat between 89-91, still a bit below normal, but he overall pitched more effectively and turned in his longest outing since going seven innings July 27. He gave up six hits over his six innings, struck out two and walked one. A wild pitch in the sixth hurt, as it set up Josh Reddick’s RBI single.

HEY, IT’S PROGRESS: Seeing Manaea get through a scoreless first inning was noteworthy, as the A’s had gone five consecutive games with allowing at least one run in the first.

PINDER DEBUTS IN CENTER: Matt Olson entered the game as a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth, then went to right field in the bottom half. That pushed Chad Pinder over to center field, his first time playing the position in the major leagues. Manager Bob Melvin has mentioned Pinder is likely to draw some starts in center before the end of the season.

STRIKEOUTS MOUNTING FOR KD: After striking out four times Wednesday, the A’s cleanup man struck out three more times Friday. His 158 strikeouts entering the night were tied for eighth most in franchise history.

CATCHING UPDATE: Josh Phegley, coming back from a strained oblique, has played two games for Triple-A Nashville on a rehab assignment. Melvin said the A’s are not going to rush Phegley. Part of that is they think highly of the work Dustin Garneau has done in his place as the right-handed portion of the catching platoon with Bruce Maxwell.