A's Insider notes: History vs. the Angels


A's Insider notes: History vs. the Angels

Paul Gutierrez
Our A's Insider takes a look at the A's 14-0 domination of the visiting Angels in the second and final game of the short series Tuesday night.Gio and the Bats: While it may sound like a boy band, it simply describes the A's attack of the Los Angeles Angels on this rain-soaked evening. Sure, the game was delayed 42 minutes, but the end was inevitable. On the evening his mentor, Dallas Braden, underwent surgery in New York to repair a torn capsule in his pitching shoulder, Gio Gonzalez simply dominated the Angels, allowing one hit in seven shutout innings while striking out seven and walking one. The left-hander threw 93 pitches - his final pitch was a 93-mph heater - and he was backed up by an offensive explosion not seen this season. The A's had season highs in runs (14) and hits (15), with Mark Ellis and Coco Crisp contributing three hits apiece. Ellis also had four RBI. According to A's historian David Feldman, the 14 runs scored tied the Oakland record for most runs without a home run.
RECAP: Rain shrouds A's 14-0 beating of Angels

More history made: Per Feldman, the 14-0 shutout of the Angels is the A's largest-ever margin of victory over their SoCal rivals. It is also the third largest such victory in Oakland history, behind a 16-0 defeat of the Giants on June 26, 2005 and a 15-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 30, 2001.
Back in first place: For the first time since June 3, 2010, the A's have a share of first place in the American League West. Granted, they are in a tie with Texas, and the Angels are only 12 of one game behind. Still, it's an achievement for an up-and-coming club looking to latch on to any positive momentum. At 22-20, the A's are two games over .500 for only the second time this season. Oh yeah, the team the A's were tied for first with last June? The eventual American League champion Rangers.A big-league debut: Right-hander Trystan Magnuson, called up from triple-A Sacramento last Wednesday, made his major league debut in the ninth inning, and the big right-hander threw a scoreless inning. He gave up a lead-off single to Jeff Mathis on his first pitch but after a couple of fielder's choice outs, he struck out Hank Conger to end the game.Bailey update: Closer Andrew Bailey, on the disabled list since sprint training with a strained right (pitching) forearm, completed his second extended spring training minor league stint in Phoenix Tuesday morning. The right-hander threw 19 pitches in one inning and did not allow a hit. He walked two and struck out one. Manager Bob Geren said Bailey's fastball registered between 92 and 94 mph and that he used all of his pitches. Bailey said he felt good and hoped to start a full-fledged minor league rehab assignment soon.

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

With their 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings sit 10 games under .500 at 17-27. In almost any other season, that would mean that they were dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff race. But this it the 2016-17 season where anything is possible at the bottom.

Following Sacramento’s win at the Palace at Auburn Hills, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the playoff picture.

“It’s my only goal this season,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “My only goal.” 

When pushed on the subject, he gave a more complete answer.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive - every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins added. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with the win over the Pistons and they came into the evening just 2-10 over their previous 12 games. 

Once they get through their current eight game road trip, they spend the entire month of February in the Pacific time zone and play 11 over their next 13 games at Golden 1 Center.  

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

Despite the rough patch, the Kings remain just a game and a half out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. No one is running away with that last playoff spot, at least not yet.


Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Everyone must contribute. With Rudy Gay gone for the season, Sacramento needs a team effort each night out if they are going to have a chance of turning things around. Balancing the roster on the fly is never easy, but it’s the hand that the Kings were dealt when their second leading scorer tore his Achilles last week.

Needing a win in the worst way, the Kings walked into the Palace at Auburn Hills and came away with a huge 109-104 victory. Demarcus Cousins put up numbers, but it was the supporting cast that found a way to rise to the occasion and snap the team’s five-game losing streak.

“We’re going to need everybody on this team,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “At some point, everyone on the bench is going to win a game for us. Tonight, it was Ty (Lawson), it was Willie (Cauley-Stein) and it was Malachi (Richardson).”

Lawson was a magician with the ball. He entered the game with the Kings down just one with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter, but the Pistons caught fire around that time and pushed the lead to 11 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

It looked like Sacramento might fall behind big once again, but then Lawson and the bench unit took over.

“Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson and Willie Cauley-Stein had a great energy when we were down 11 in the first half,” Joerger told reporters. “Obviously, probably the best Willie’s played all year. Same for Malachi. He got some run, he got a little burn in the second half, felt pretty good.”

Powered by Lawson, the offense instantly opened up in the second quarter as the Kings tracked down the Pistons on their home floor. Sacramento outscored Detroit 37-24 in the frame to take a three point lead into the intermission. Lawson posted nine points and handed out four assists in the quarter.

“When our offense gets sticky, he’s able to create shots for guys by getting kickouts and getting in the lane,” Joerger said.

The 5-foot-11 point guard didn’t let up in the second half, finishing the night with 19 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action.  

“Chico just goes and plays, man, that’s Chico,” Cousins said of Lawson. “If there’s anyone with a green light to just go and play, it’s him. We love what he does with this team. He’s a spark off the bench for us. He gets us going when there’s a slump. We love the little guy.”

Lawson has become a catalyst off the bench for coach Jeorger. The 29-year-old speedster signed a one-year deal with the Kings late in the offseason and he’s quickly found his niche with the team.

“You play with Ty, you can’t help by want to run, because he will pitch it to you and that’s the best motivation - everybody wants to score,” said Joerger.

Cousins and Lawson didn’t do it alone. Cauley-Stein had one of his games of the season, finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Darren Collison added 12 points, Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and veteran Matt Barnes added 10 points and eight rebounds.  

“It’s a big, bounce back win,” Cousins said. “We were kind of heartbroken about the last lost. We felt we did everything needed to pull a win and it just didn’t go that way for us. We kind of showed our character and showed we could overcome some type of adversity with the win tonight.”

The Kings are back at it on Wednesday in Cleveland when they hit game four of their season-long eight-game road trip. They’ll face LeBron James and the championship Cavs for the second time this month.  

“It’s huge, we had a little stretch where we lost like eight of nine games, something like that,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “Getting a win going into Cleveland, it makes us feel a little bit better. Now we’ve got to go in and get a tough one.”

A tough one indeed. Cleveland sits at 31-13 on the season, but they are coming off back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Pelicans.