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

A's newfound leverage has limits and Libby Schaaf can take a punch

A's newfound leverage has limits and Libby Schaaf can take a punch

John Fisher has shown admirable restraint so far as he contemplates life without the Oakland Raiders in his craw. For one, he hasn’t jumped up and down on Libby Schaaf’s desk and demand that the Oakland mayor take care of the only team she ever has to worry about ever again.

Then again, that might just be prudence on his part. In her present frame of mind, she might take such an opportunity to punch him about 35 times directly in the throat.

Schaaf’s strategy to keep the National Football League from steamrolling her worked, though it came with far more irritation at the end of the process than she thought. She learned face-first that dealing with the NFL means being attacked on all fronts, including the demonstrably false fronts tossed up at the end. She may have thought foolishly that the NFL could be somehow persuaded to see Oakland's rationale for keeping the team, but found out just how well the NFL does dismissive. Frankly, she looked Monday like she’d just had a marathon run over her.

This is not an attempt at sympathy, mind you. She’s a politician in a major American city, and she knew the job was dangerous when took it.

But now that the A’s are the last turkey in the shop, it would be good for Fisher and his new public face, Dave Kaval, to take great care not to push the city too hard. Their leverage has limits, and Schaaf, having punched the NFL to a draw by refusing to budge from his original stadium proposal, knows she can take a punch.

Also, she knows that the A’s don’t have the options the Raiders had. In short, her first offer is likely to be damned close to her last offer, because she just showed that she can do that.

In other words, the A’s have only that leverage the mayor will allow them, and will have to be happy that for the first time ever, they have no impediments between them and a new stadium save their own abilities to achieve them.

You see, the A’s new stadium has been painted as a privately financed operation, and even though there is actually no such thing (the Giants got city money for infrastructure and security when they built PacSBC&TT Park, and never forget that), that’s what it has to remain.

Oakland is trying to guide the A’s toward the Howard Terminal site with all its come-hither stares, but would tolerate Brooklyn Basin or the Coliseum. The A’s want something that allows them to cash in on the land around the stadium (shops, eateries, drinkeries, strip clubs, tattoo parlors, etc.). That much is easily done.

After that, though, Fisher and Kaval need to understand that as one of the few mayors in the nation who gave and held to a take-it-or-leave-it proposal the NFL hated at the start, middle and end, Schaaf has some steel in her spine, and now has the experience to wield it. They push too hard at their peril.

Not because they can be forced from the city, but because they could be left in the Coliseum well beyond their four-year revenue sharing window. At that point, any losses are real-money losses, and any profits come at the expense of the product.

In short, the stadium is the A’s project alone, and though Fisher and Kaval know that and have said all the right things in mind, the temptation to poke the wasp hive of public money may be too much to decline. The smart move is to accept that they are the last team standing, Oaklandically speaking, but not to assume too much beyond that.

The A’s should view this opportunity as theirs and theirs alone. They should also view as an opportunity with limits, because the undertold story about the Raiders’ move is that Schaaf lost almost no approval rating points during the process. She made it clear that the city’s commitment to the Raiders was finite and its interest in letting the NFL turn the Coliseum into the Oklahoma Land Rush was a non-starter, and she stuck to her guns with the only cost being her exasperation level late in the process. Frankly, she might have been better off announcing on Day One that any NFL official entering the city limits would be summarily jailed, jail the first one and then dare them to send any more.

That would have been the pure Oakland play.

As for the A’s, their pure Oakland play is to own the town with their deeds. A stadium built on their own dime that people want to see, and a team with talent and attitude that makes the stadium worth having.

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

MESA, Ariz. — As the pieces are beginning to fit for the A’s 25-man roster, Jaff Decker may be an unlikely feel-good story come Opening Night.

A non-roster invitee this spring, the journeyman has impressed with his all-around game to the point that he might make Oakland’s club as a fifth outfielder.

There’s other factors that play into it — how many relievers the A’s carry will determine whether they keep five outfielders — but things are breaking right for the 27-year-old Decker, who’s with his fourth organization and has never made an Opening Night roster.

When Jake Smolinski went down with a shoulder injury that required surgery, it thrust Decker into the competition. Then Monday, the A’s released veteran Alejandro De Aza, who had impressed this spring but had an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. The A’s think enough of Decker that they cut De Aza loose. On Monday, Decker returned from a minor oblique issue and started in left field, going 1-for-3 in a 10-3 loss to Kansas City.

“I’m super excited,” Decker said. “I feel like I fit in well here, and I get along with the guys really well. It’s a good group of baseball minds, baseball guys. I hope I have done enough and shown I’m healthy enough to land that spot.”

De Aza hit .300 in 19 games and displayed the veteran savvy that seemed to make him a possible fit on the A’s bench. Manager Bob Melvin expressed hope that De Aza might re-sign with the A’s if he doesn’t find a big league opportunity elsewhere.

But Decker, who bats left-handed as does De Aza, is hitting .308 and has his own attributes, including a strong arm and the ability to play all three outfield spots. It’s a nice package of skills for a player who, at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, doesn’t appear the prototypical big league outfielder at first glance.

If the A’s keep seven relievers, they will take five outfielders into the regular season. The decision on a seventh reliever appears to be between lefty Daniel Coulombe and right-hander Frankie Montas. But the A’s could hang on to both and only keep four outfielders, with Mark Canha being the fourth.

Decker fun fact: His first name is pronounced “Jeff.” He’s named after his uncle, whose first name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Decker’s uncle kept the spelling.

MELVIN ON RAIDERS: Melvin, a Bay Area native who is quite tuned in to the history of local teams, weighed in on the Raiders announcing a move to Las Vegas. That news has a direct impact on the A’s, obviously, as a co-tenant of the Coliseum with the Raiders.

“It’s too bad,” Melvin said. “Like us, they have a rich tradition and unbelievable fan base. They’re well supported in the Bay Area. It’s tough to have to deal with it.”

NOTEWORTHY: In his first start since being named part of the rotation, Andrew Triggs struggled mightily against the Royals, getting tagged for eight runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings. While stressing that now is no time for complacency in his position, Triggs also said he was approaching the game differently than if it were the regular season. He kept throwing his changeup, his fourth best pitch, in an effort to get more comfortable with it.

“If this were (the regular season), we probably would have said in the first or second inning, this wasn’t so great, and gone out there and started back-dooring cutters and working off the sinker,” he said. “But we made a concerted effort to work on a pitch, it wasn’t very good, and the results showed that.”

FAMILIAR FACE: One of the homers off Triggs came from former Athletic Brandon Moss, who connected for a two-run shot in the fourth. The outfielder signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Royals in the offseason.

ODDS AND ENDS: Coulombe had a great day, tossing three scoreless innings. That’s three outings in a row without allowing a run for the lefty after a rough patch before that. Melvin pointed out that the ability to throw multiple innings will be important if Coulombe makes the team. … Matt Chapman homered in the fifth, his third long ball of the spring. He’s hitting .261 and playing stellar defense. “He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and it rubs off on guys,” Melvin said.