A's-Yankees a dream matchup for Wild Card play-in game


A's-Yankees a dream matchup for Wild Card play-in game

Our festival of postseason conclusion-jumping continues today with this disturbing thought: The As, as of this moment, lined up to face in a one-game, winner-take-all-loser-takes-tee-times showdown at the Coliseum with . . .

. . . wait for it . . .

. . . the New York Yankees.

Thats right, the team that devalued the As teams of a decade and change ago. The team that got Derek Jetered in 2001. The team that caused Billy Beane to have his famous, If I had 50 million more . . . post-playoff speech. The team that most starkly defined the As via payroll disparity, and jump-started Beanes cinematic philosophies.

Of course, this all comes with the standard its-way-too-early caveat. The Fightin McCarthys trail Texas by three games, and lead the Yankees and Orioles by two and Rays by five. Nothing is settled, nothing is revealed.

RELATED: MLB standings

But imagine it anyway. A sunny day at the ballpark, 28,837 cheering away, watching A.J. Griffin dueling David Phelps. History, backstory, pies vs. pressure punching both teams in the face. Why, it makes you all nostalgic inside.

Except that it actually doesnt when you think about it. The As only got pipped by the Yankees twice, in 2000 and 2001. The Jeter play is extraordinarily movie-friendly and all, but the As have more playoff history with Minnesota and Boston, and the Twins and Sawx are getting into the playoffs only if you look at the standings while hanging from a door jamb in gravity boots.

But the alternatives to the Yankees are Baltimore and Tampa, which are closer to the As in self-imposed fiscal limits. The As have never played Tampa in a meaningful game, and Baltimore lost to the As in the '73 and '74 playoffs when only equipment manager Steve Vucinich roamed the earth.

And to be fair, the Angels are still a distant fourth option, but losing Games 1, 2 and 3 of this series dont exactly make you want to crave their chances.

No, the vortex of manufactured memories demands that this end up being the angst-riddled Yankees and their omnipresent entourage, and the Fightin McCarthys mocking the odds with a smile, a swollen face and a Twitter account that glows in the dark.

In fact, you wont get a better metaphor for the FMCs in 2012 than their namesake, the pitcher who got his face broken by Erick Aybar, had life- and career-threatening brain surgery, and for all we know will be throwing on the side in two weeks in hopes of being a middle-relief fill-in in that Yankee game that we still dont know will happen.

But lets be honest, it should.

An Orioles-As game will be fine -- hell, both teams would sell body parts to be back within a game of the postseason. Rays-As would be grand entertainment, too. Angels-As, even, although weve seen plenty of that already.

But for full drooling East Coast bias-ish effect, for full national notice, for financial comparison points, for all the things that the As have not been in the last six years (interesting), this would be the dream matchup. Especially if we can keep management from turning it into a nine-inning whine-o-mercial for San Jose stadium action from the other 29 owners.

That would be intolerable, and sufficient in my mind to invalidate the move south on its face. You never use a potentially magical moment for shameless huckstering unless you want to look like a shameless huckster.

But we have faith that even they will understand the magnitude of such a moment. The New York Yankees and the Oakland Fightin McCarthys. This can be filed under Oh what the hell, lets do it just for kicks.

But first, lets play those 20 other games that could sink one, or both teams. And remember to be as thankful for what you already have as for what youre hoping to get.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman


Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

The A's hit a lot of home runs and they appear to be bringing back a player that hits a lot of home runs.

Chris Carter, who played for the A's from 2010 through 2012, is reportedly signing a minor league contract to return to the organization.

News of the deal was first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Carter was released by the Yankees on July 10. In 62 games for New York, Carter hit .201/.284/.370 with five doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBI.

Over the previous four seasons between Houston and Milwaukee, Carter hit 131 home runs and drove in 328 runs.

Carter's high-water mark with the A's came in 2012 when he hit 16 home runs in 67 games.

Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays


Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays


OAKLAND — Sonny Gray struck out six pitching into the seventh in what might have been his final home start in Oakland if the club tries to deal him before the trade deadline, and the Athletics rallied in the fifth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Wednesday.

Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to the right-field seats in the eighth for Oakland.

Rajai Davis doubled home Oakland's first run in the fifth then Joyce followed with a tying sacrifice fly before Davis scurried home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Gray (6-4) won his third straight start and fourth in five. When speculation arose from the White Sox side before his Friday outing that the right-hander had been scratched because of a possible deal, the A's quickly announced that he was indeed taking the mound for his scheduled outing.

After a pair of one-run defeats to begin this series, the A's avoided being swept by the Rays in Oakland for the first time. This already marked just their third lost series at home to Tampa Bay.

Gray allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks.

The Rays got three straight singles off Gray to start the fourth inning, including an RBI single by Wilson Ramos. Brad Miller also drove in a run on a groundout.

But Oakland finally got to Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Faria (4-1) in the fifth. With seven straight quality starts to begin his career, Faria took his first big league loss.

A's All-Star Yonder Alonso hit an RBI single in the inning, when Faria had two of his four walks. He allowed six hits and four runs in five innings, striking out four.

Alonso was thrown out at home in the first when he tried to go from first on Khris Davis' double to right. The throw beat him so handily Alonso didn't even try to slide and instead ran behind the plate before turning for the dugout.


Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. exited the game in the first after straining his left hip trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk to start the game. Shane Peterson replaced him. X-rays were negative and he will be re-evaluated once the team arrives home. ... Manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell would make his next turn in the rotation despite still being winless at 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 starts. "He's going to pitch well," Cash said.

Athletics: The A's hope to have Chad Pinder back from the DL and a strained left hamstring when they return home from an upcoming seven-game trip to the New York Mets and Toronto. Manager Bob Melvin plans to use him as a utilityman. ... RHP Kendall Graveman allowed five hits and four runs with one strikeout and a walk on 46 pitches in 2 1/3 innings with Triple-A Nashville rehabbing his strained pitching shoulder. RHP Jharel Cotton (blister on his right thumb) also pitched in the game, striking out six in 3 1/3 innings, while Pinder was 0 for 2 with a walk and strikeout for the Sounds.


Rays: With the Rays back home, RHP Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.59 ERA) takes the ball in Friday's series opener against Yu Darvish and Texas having not faced the Rangers since April 6, 2014.

Athletics: After Thursday's day off following a cross-country flight, RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.83 ERA) pitches the series opener at the Mets in his fourth career start.