This week was all about adding a lot of good stuff to our bullpen. Think of a pepperoni pizza. That was our bullpen. Great, right? Better: a Meat Lover’s Supreme. (Or Veggie Delight, say, if you’re a veg.) A pile of hot, spicy meat, strewn over a bed of mozzarella and roma tomato sauce, all laying on top of a hand-tossed— I’m not hungry, you’re hungry.
Anyway, we got Fernando Rodney and Shawn Kelley, who will be joining Jeurys Familia as a fresh trio of arms in our beefy bullpen. We even spiced up our starting rotation by bringing in Mike Fiers from the Tigers.
Fiers couldn’t have shown up at a better time. Nothing says ‘Welcome to the team!’ like pitting him against one of baseball’s best current hurlers, Clayton Kershaw.
Fiers went 5⅓ innings and fanned eight to help push the A’s on to a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers. Number of K’s for Kershaw over his six innings of work? One. We may have dropped the first game to our ol’ pal Rich Hill, but the victory over a Kershaw Dodgers game felt like a punk rock stick-it-to-the-man kind of victory for our rag-tag bunch of heroes.
Fernando Rodney has been around, and then some. The good thing about being in the place that we are is that the 41-year-old mega-veteran is stoked to give us his all as we close in on possible postseason action. He even is cooking up a new celebration just for Oakland to add to his quirky repertoire!
In the last ten games, the A’s are 8-2, only behind the Red Sox who went 9-1 in their previous 10. We have also won 15 of our last 18 games at the Coliseum, where we are returning for a nine-game stretch once we finish off our series against Anaheim.
There are a few things in baseball that turn me into a grumpy old armchair coach. We all have those things. One, is batters not even trying to run out a throw to first. Second, outfielders with mashed potatoes for arms. I gripe and groan every time I see a center fielder one-hop a throw to second base. It’s gross. Then, we have Ramón Laureano.
Okay, so maybe this is the play of the year and I shouldn’t be comparing every throw to this one, but holy cow! If you missed Ramón’s 321-foot throw last night, stop everything you’re doing right now and watch this. Everyone else, watch it again — I know I will be all night, just to make sure it wasn’t a dream. Pinch yourself, it might be.
This guy is nuts. Watching him play is infectious. You can’t look away. Having a guy like Laureano come up now while the A’s are in the hunt for a spot in the postseason is exactly the sort of thing that will better our future. He’s been called up right in the middle of the action, right in the middle of where everything counts and you have to give it your all if you want to make it. If that isn’t a kickstart to your major league career, nothing is.
Players’ Weekend nicknames have been announced! Sean Manaea pulled off my new favorite of “Manaealator” for this year, while Josh Phegley held strong to probably the best nickname you’ll ever see, “PTBNL”. Check out Alex Hall’s rankings for in-depth professional nickname analysis!
We have Cahill on the hill today (I have refrained from this joke for so long). The last time he pitched was when he put up 10 K’s on the Tigers behind a three-homer trouncing from our offense. Hopefully we see a little bit of that again as the A’s gear up in hopes of taking the series from Anaheim.
As of this morning, the standings are as follows:
AL West: 3.5 behind Houston
Wildcard: 1.5 ahead of Seattle, 4.5 games behind the Yankees for #1 spot
We’re taking Seattle and Houston head-on at home for three games each, followed by a three game set against the Rangers. This is the week we want to be ready for. With a close battle between us, against the Mariners and the Astros for the top spot in the AL West, it’s time to get all our new cogs in place and ready to go full steam ahead.
Ramón Laureano’s catch was
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