Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 8, Indians 5


Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 8, Indians 5


OAKLAND -- Moneyball on the field before the game, during the game, and after the game. The A's are going streaking. The A's 8-5 win might only give them a three-game winning streak, but you have to start somewhere. With the 2002 A's in attendance, the current A's put on a show. Specifically Bartolo Colon, who put forth an effort any member of the "Big 3" would have been happy with. The A's starting pitcher stumped the Indians' bats over eight innings of one-run ball. Speaking of Moneyball, four of the six A's that reached via walk scored. At the PlateThe A's drove in four runs in the third inning. Cliff Pennington reached base on an error and Coco Crisp walked. They executed a double steal moving into scoring position. Josh Donaldson grounded out driving in the first run of the game. Josh Reddick then smacked an opposite field RBI double driving in Crisp. Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate next and hit an absolute laser into the left field bleachers for a two-run homer. Chris Carter drew his major league-leading 25th walk since the All-Star break in the second inning. In the sixth inning he smacked a double down the left field line. He would come around to score the A's fifth run when George Kottaras hit an RBI single. Cespedes gave the A's a 6-1 lead with an RBI single in the seventh inning. He ended up 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Josh Donaldson stayed hot, also going 2-for-4 with one RBI.Crisp piled on late in the game with a two-run, stand-up triple into the right-field gap. He gave the A's an 8-1 lead. Starting Pitching ReportColon was perfect through three innings but ran into a little trouble in the fourth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a deep double to left field to become the Indians' first base runner. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a single to right but Cabrera stayed on third instead of testing Reddick's throwing arm. Colon then got Carlos Santana to ground into an inning-ending double play. Colon was remarkably efficient yet again. He faced just one over the minimum in the first six innings. His only earned run came on a solo homer hit by Carlos Santana. The veteran pitcher threw 20 first-pitch strikes and faced 28 batters. He struck out three and walked none. He threw 103 pitches -- 74 strikes -- lasting eight innings giving up just five hits.At 39, it is quite amazing to watch what Colon is able to do on the mound throwing almost nothing but four-seam and two-seem fastballs. He is unflappable, in the eighth inning A's manager Bob Melvin came out for a meeting on the mound and somehow Colon made everyone involved in the session laugh. Bullpen ReportEvan Scribner entered in the ninth inning with a seven-run lead. He allowed a two-run homer to Shin-Soo Choo. Scribner left the game with two outs and a runner on first. Jerry Blevins entered in relief hoping to record the third out to end the game. He gave up another two-run homer to Brent Lillibridge who entered as a pinch hitter. He was pulled from the game after surrendering another hit to Jason Donald. The A's were forced to use their interim closer Grant Balfour with two outs in the ninth. It obviously not ideal to have to put the closer in the game last minute when entering the ninth inning with a considerable lead. The Australian-born pitcher brought the rage and struck out Ezequiel Carrera to end the game and earn his 11th save. In the FieldHow much respect is the league giving Reddick for his throwing arm? One play in the fourth pretty much sums it up. Choo singled to right field with Cabrera on second, Reddick came up throwing. As Cabrera rounded third he went into a slide near the third base coaches box in order to stop, then scurried back to the bag as Reddick's throw reached home. In the ninth inning Michael Brantley singled to right field and made a wide turn before coming to a screeching halt when he saw Reddick get to the ball. Reddick is second in the major leagues with 13 outfield assists. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 30,132. Those that came got to witness a a classy ceremony honoring the 2002 Oakland Athletics that won 20 consecutive games. Many of them got a Scott Hatteberg bobble head. Dot RaceRed wins the dot race.Up NextThe A's will send Jarrod Parker (7-7, 3.71 ERA) to the mound seeking a series sweep. Parker is 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA in his three August starts.The Indians will counter with Justin Masterson (9-10, 4.50 ERA). He is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA in his last three starts. Masterson is 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his career vs. Oakland.

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A’s general manager David Forst says he has a stack of strongly worded letters from fans who grow frustrated with many of the team’s personnel moves.

That comes with the territory of running a major league front office. But Forst also said, during a wide-ranging interview on the latest A’s Insider Podcast, that honest critiquing must come from within office walls.

“You do want to do some self-evaluation and self-assessing,” Forst said. “What I don’t do, I don’t go back and second-guess decisions, whether it’s a trade or a signing. I don’t sort of hypothetically think, ‘Well, what if we hadn’t done this,’ because it’s not a good use of anybody’s time. What you do have to do is make sure the process that led to that decision is sound and a good one.”

Certainly one of the most scrutinized A’s moves of recent history was their signing of designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year $30 million contract in November 2014. That turned out to be a costly mistake, with Butler being released in September with one year left on his deal and the A’s still on the hook for roughly $10 million. Forst acknowledged how poorly that decision worked out but sticks by the initial motivation to sign Butler.

“Look, Billy Butler didn’t go the way we expected, and that’s one that gets brought up a lot,” Forst said. “But I think back to the time when we made that decision to sign him, and what we were projecting Billy to do. It was very clear what our team needed. Again, going into 2015, coming off the wild card that year, we still felt like this was a team that could compete for a division title. So all the things that went into the decision, ultimately I will stand by.”

Forst spoke frankly about several other topics during the podcast. Regarding fans’ frustration about seeing so many high-profile players traded:

“I’ve got a stack of letters on my desk, the substance of which I can’t repeat on the air,” he said with a smile. “… But there’s passion. And I know we have a fan base that cares, and that’s really a good place to be.”

Forst said the A’s definitely will pursue starting pitching this offseason, despite the fact that 1) he’s very optimistic about the crop of young pitching Oakland has developed, and 2) he believes Sonny Gray will bounce back from a poor 2016 season. The GM takes encouragement that Gray made a full physical recovery from a strained forearm.

“Am I going to get the Cy Young (caliber pitcher) from Day 1? I don’t know. But I think there’s a confidence that this was an aberration, this whole year, more than anything else.”

Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.

Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.

The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.