There are a number of important and/or fun outcomes of this game.
- The A’s are now only 2.5 games out of a wild card spot.
- The A’s are now only 7.5 games out of the division lead (just sayin’).
- The A’s are now 15 games over .500 for the first time since September 2014.
- They A’s have now won 24 of their past 31, making them the best team in the majors over the past month.
However, most importantly, the way this game played out gave the big-time bullpen arms a much-needed night off. Let’s take a look back at the key players.
Anderson really came up clutch tonight. He ended with final like of 6IP, 6 hits, 2 runs (both earned), a walk, and six strikeouts. His fastball was in the high 80s-low 90s, and if it weren’t for the third-inning Elvis Andrus 2-run shot on an 83 mph slider, this outing would have been stellar. Following his pre-All-Star break 3 inning outing, this was highly promising.
Thanks to the blowout, we finally got a look at the non-Trivino or Treinen members of the A’s bullpen. The first was Emilio Pagan, who allowed a run on one hit and one walk in the seventh inning. His fastball was sitting around 92-93 mph, with some 94-95s sprinkled in. J.B. Wendelken took the eight inning, allowing a leadoff single. But he retired the next three batters in order, thrice touching 96 mph with his fastball. Chris Hatcher, whose lasting presence on the roster is perplexing, did make himself useful in the ninth, throwing a clean inning to end the game.
The A’s raked the whole dinger cycle, hitting solo, 2-run, 3-run, and 4-run homers tonight.
Jonathan Lucroy got the party started with a top of the second grand slam against his former team. He scored Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and Mark Canha, who walked, singled, and singled to load the bases for him. Khris Davis notably doubled later in the inning.
Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, scoring Olson, who got on base via a single.
Jed Lowrie opened the seventh inning with a walk, then Khris Davis followed with his second hit of the night, a single. Piscotty later scored Lowrie and advance Davis with a double, then Matt Chapman brought them all home with a three-run homer. His shot was the hardest-hit A’s home run in at least the Statcast era.
Matt Chapman just hit a 115.2 mph, 18° laser home run. That's the A's hardest homer since Statcast started tracking in 2015. pic.twitter.com/TjPrwMC5Dq— David Adler (@_dadler) July 24, 2018
Lucroy, Marcus Semien, and Chad Pinder all doubled later in the inning.
The solo shot came from the red-hot Khris Davis in the 8th inning – his third long ball in two games. It’s clear at this point he just owns Arlington: tonight made it 12 homers in 92 career at-bats there.
There was a bunch of other scoring scattered in there, but you get the idea: it was hot, and the A’s took advantage.
Conveniently, earlier today, SABR released its mid-season defensive index rankings. Matt Chapman is on top by nearly double at third base.
Oakland @Athletics 3B Matt Chapman leads all qualified fielders in #SABR Defensive Index through the first half of 2018 season. Check out full positional rankings here: https://t.co/uNHawPjMNP @RawlingsSports pic.twitter.com/XuTBNRK15G— SABR (@sabr) July 23, 2018
Tonight featured an A+ example of why.
Matt Olson also deserves a shoutout for his scooping abilities, but dang, Chapman.
First pitch is at 5:05pm Tuesday.