Pratt's Instant Replay: Twins 4, A's 0

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Twins 4, A's 0

Things can't get much worse for the Oakland Athletics. Their 4-0 loss in Minnesota on Wednesday means they have lost eight straight games. The A's just cannot muster any offense. They have the fewest runs scored in the American League by a wide margin.The sweep at the hands of the Twins is particularly demoralizing. Minnesota, at 18-32, has the worst record in the American League.There is something about the end of May that doesn't agree with this team. Last year on this exact date, the A's started a 10-game losing streak that ended up being their undoing. During that losing streak, manager Bob Geren was fired, and Bob Melvin was hired.Starting Pitching ReportTyson Ross wasn't at his best. He allowed a mammoth two-run blast off the bat of former Athletic Josh Willingham in the fifth inning. That homer gave the Twins a 4-0 lead. He got off to a rocky start allowing two runs in the first as well.Ross only managed to pitch five innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits, and three walks. He only struck out one hitter.At the PlateEntering Tuesday, Francisco Liriano was 0-5, with an 8.05 ERA. The A's hitters made him look like the Liriano of old. He baffled the A's batsmen throwing six shutout innings, striking out nine.The A's went down in order in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. In the eighth inning Cliff Pennington snapped that skid with a one-out walk. The next batter Jemile Weeks grounded into an inning-ending double play. In the ninth the A's were again retired in order.The A's have now been shutout nine times this season.Bullpen ReportThe A's bullpen has had a rough series in Minnesota. They coughed up late leads on Monday and Tuesday, costing the A's two potential wins. Wednesday the A's relievers pitched well. Andrew Carignan, Jordan Norberto, and Jim Miller all pitcher a scoreless inning.In the FieldKurt Suzuki threw out his first baserunner in his last 17 attempts in the third inning. On the play Josh Willingham struck out swinging, and Ben Revere was caught stealing second.
Up NextThe A's have an off-day on Thursday. They will take on the Kansas City Royals on Friday. Injured outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is expected to return in that game. Maybe Manny Ramirez will come with him.

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks and catcher Stephen Vogt when they agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2017 season, the club announced today.

Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 22 starts last year in a season shortened by two stints on the disabled list.  His ERA was more than 2½ runs higher than his previous career high and his five wins follow back-to-back 14-win seasons.  Gray went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA 76 games over his first three seasons with the A’s and now has a 3.42 ERA in his career, which ranks ninth in Oakland history.

Hendriks compiled a 3.76 ERA and .270 opponents batting average in 53 relief appearances in his first season with the A’s.  He had an 8.27 ERA and .394 opponents batting average in 11 games before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right triceps.  Hendriks then logged a 2.23 ERA and .222 opponents batting average in 42 games following his return from the DL.

Vogt played in a career-high 137 games last year and hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.  He also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits.  Vogt was named to his second consecutive American League All-Star team.

The only remaining arbitration eligible player on the A’s roster is Khris Davis.

A's media services

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto's 11th trade this offseason rounded out the Seattle Mariners roster with his top target.

"I've probably spent more time through the course of our offseason trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other thing that we've done," the general manager said Wednesday.

Seattle made pair of deals on Wednesday that ultimately landed Smyly, a pitcher Dipoto thinks will fill out the Mariners starting rotation. Seattle also landed a potential key reliever, getting right-hander Shae Simmons from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from Atlanta, then sent him to Tampa Bay along with infielder Carlos Vargas and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Smyly. Smith was also an offseason target for the Mariners but when Seattle acquired Jarrod Dyson from Kansas City last week, Smith instead became the conduit in helping to obtain Smyly.

"It became apparent to us over the last two or three days that we were able to access Drew Smyly by making the deal with Atlanta that tapped into Mallex Smith," Dipoto said. "So effectively these were two deals that were interlinked."

Smyly is the centerpiece of what Seattle was trying to accomplish as the Mariners seem to have rounded out a starting rotation that appeared to be a major question at the start of the year. The acquisitions of Smyly and Yovani Gallardo from Baltimore last week appear to have filled out a rotation where Felix HernandezHisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton were the only certainties.

Smyly, 27, made 30 starts last season for Tampa Bay, throwing a career-high 175 1/3 innings and striking out 167. He was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, but starting pitching is one of Tampa Bay's strongest assets, and Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander felt comfortable making the deal because of the depth the Rays have in that area.

Smyly was 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA in 49 starts for Tampa Bay after being acquired from Detroit in the 2014 trade deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers. He is arbitration eligible after winning $3.75 million in an arbitration hearing last season.

"He fits our ballpark particularly well. He's a pretty extreme fly-ball pitcher with the low walks, high strikeouts, who in our ballpark, with what we think is a greatly improved outfield defense fits us like a glove really," Dipoto said. "If as we expect he shows up and does his thing it should fit very well for us in this ballpark."

What Smith may be able to add was attractive to Neander, who said the trade was made to help position the Rays to be competitive in 2017. He stopped short of saying he expects Smith to make the team coming out of spring training.

"We need to get better," Neander said. "To do that, we need more competition" for jobs.

Simmons is also a key acquisition for Seattle, providing another power arm in the bullpen. Simmons, 26, made seven appearances last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and threw just 6 2/3 big league innings. Before elbow issues, Simmons was 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 26 appearances during the 2014 season.

"He's had a strong history with striking (batters) out and (we're) really excited to plug him in," Dipoto said.

The cost for Seattle to complete to two deals meant giving up two of its top pitching prospects in Yarbrough and Luiz Gohara. Yarbrough, 25, was named the Southern League pitcher of the year after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA at Double-A Jackson last season. Gohara, 20, was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 13 starts at two Class A stops.

Seattle also sent lefty Thomas Burrows to Atlanta and designated right-hander Cody Martin for assignment to make room on its 40-man roster.