The A’s celebrated the past tonight, inducting the first seven members of their team Hall of Fame. Then they went out and celebrated the present, drubbing the Yankees 8-2, before a mid-week crowd of 21,004.
A’s Celebrate Inaugural Class of Hall of Famers Tonight
The A’s inducted team legends, Dennis Eckersely, Catfish Hunter, former owner, Charlie Finley, Dave Stewart, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson into the inaugural class of the team hall of fame. It was a moving and classy pre-game ceremony, with one of the highlights occuring when Yankees special advisor, Reggie Jackson, begrudgingly put on an A’s cap:
REG - GIE— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 6, 2018
REG - GIE
REG - GIE pic.twitter.com/5bpNmS7o7Y
After donning the A’s cap, Reggie shared this amazing comment:
Fiers Escaped First Inning Jam and Then Went to Work
Mike Fiers came into tonight’s game against the Yankees with some impressive numbers (3-0, 2.93 ERA with opponents hitting .223 in five starts) since being acquired by the A’s on Aug 6th. However the Yankees came into tonight with several hitters who have had past success against the right hander (Ronald Torreyes, 2-3; Aaron Hicks, 3-5; Andrew McCutchen, 6-19, .316; Neil Walker, 9-25, .360). Fiers was roughed around for 14 hits and 7 earned runs in his two previous 2018 starts against the pinstripes (both starts while with Detroit). Things began along the same lines tonight, as Giancarlo Stanton doubled with out out and Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez both drew two out walks to load the bases for last night’s Yankees hero, first basemen, Luke Volt. Fiers was struggling to throw his breaking pitch for a strike at this point and went to the four seamed fastball four straight times against Volt to begin the at-bat. The decision worked for Fiers as he was able to get Volt in a hole at 1-2. Fiers then tried to find the grip/release point on his curveball and threw another ball in the dirt. This was his eighth attempt at throwing a curveball/slider for a strike in the inning and only one of them had found the zone. With the count even at 2-2, Josh Phegley put down the fingers for a breaking ball once again and finally on the ninth try, Fiers got a Yankee hitter to swing at it and induced a ground ball from Volt to end the threat and the inning.
A’s Get to Severino (and Catcher, Gary Sanchez) Early and Often
The A’s started off their home half of the first inning with lead-off hitter, Ramon Laureano. I noted in the pregame preview that it was surprising that Bob Melvin went with Laureano over left-handed hitting Dustin Fowler in centerfield, with the Yankees power righty, Luis Severino, on the hill tonight. Once again, BoMel proved he knows more than any of us, as Laureano made him proud with a lead-off double to begin the frame. The double would cause
justANotherAsFa n AthleticsNation commenter, “monkeysuit” to coin the phrase “Doubleano” in Ramon’s honor. After “Doubleano’s” knock, Matt Chapman grounded to short, freezing the runner at second.
Next up was A’s third place hitter Jed Lowrie. Lowrie would do what he has done best in 2018, drive in runs. Lowrie singled to right field to score Laureano who had been a third base after a passed ball from Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. With the score 1-0, A’s, Khris “Krush” Davis came to bat and promptly drove a double to right, to advance Lowrie to third and place runners on second and third with only one out against the Yankees ace and 17 game winner, Luis Severino. With Matt Olson up next, Severino and Sanchez chipped in to help the A’s cause with a wildpitch to score Lowrie and give the A’s two runs. Olson then doubled to left to score Davis, for the A’s third run of the inning. Then the wheels really fell off the Yankee train as Gary Sanchez couldn’t corral Severino wildness, allowing a passed ball to advance Olson to third and a wild pitch to score the fourth run of the inning. After one inning of baseball in this third and final game of the three game series, the A’s were leading 4 to 0.
4 Runs, 3 doubles, 2 pass balls, 1 great inning. pic.twitter.com/HlYenQtOeP— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 6, 2018
A’s Add More, Knock Out Severino in the 3rd Inning
After a two hour first inning (or at least it felt like it), the second inning for both clubs went by without any action, as both teams were retired in order. In the bottom of the third, the A’s would strike again, with usual suspects Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie leading the charge. Chapman walked to lead-off the inning and as every play by play announcer will always tell you, “lead-off walks always come back to haunt you.” Lowrie singled next to move Chapman to second and give the A’s two runners on with nobody out. Krush Davis didn’t crush in his at-bat, but his slow ground ball did allow the baserunners to advance to second and third with one out. After a Matt Olson strikeout, Stephen Piscotty stepped up and singled up the middle to score Chapman and Lowrie and give the A’s a commanding 6-0 advantage. Piscotty’s single was the knock-out blow against Severino, as the A’s in a possible A.L. Wildcard preview, posted six runs (five earned) against the Yankees ace in 2 2/3rds innings. The A’s added a seventh run in the 4th inning on a Chad Pinder single, a Josh Phegley walk, a Ramon “Doubleano” ground out and a Matt Chapman RBI ground out.
Meanwhile on the mound for the A’s, Mike Fiers (11-6) was cruising and dominating the Yankees hitters. Fiers faced the minimum in innings two through six, allowing only a single to Aaron Hicks and striking out the side in the sixth inning (Gardner, Stanton and McCutchen). On the evening, Fiers posted a line of 6+ innings, 99 pitches, 3 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts, with his only blemish being a two run homer off the bat of Gary Sanchez in the 7th inning. It was just the start the A’s desperately needed, with set-up men Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney and Shawn Kelley all unavailable tonight.
The A’s offense added an eighth run for good measure in the seventh inning when Ramon “Doubleano” and Matt Chapman (his league leading 18th double since the All-Star break) hit back to back doubles. On the day, the A’s hitters launched six doubles (two each for “Krush” and “Doubleano”)
Chappy getting in on the fun with the A's 6th double of the game! pic.twitter.com/EthgRNjoFu— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 6, 2018
A’s Relief Corps Finishes It Off
Yusmeiro Petit relieved Fiers in the 7th and allowed a hit but nothing more (no homers!) and Lou Trivino handled the 8th inning with a clean 1-2-3 and newly acquired (from the Rangers), Cory Gearrin allowed a single, but no runs in the 9th inning to close out the victory.
Scoreboard Watching (21 Games Left to Play)
The only bad news of the night came from Houston, where the Astros crushed the Twins, 9 to 1, to keep the A’s at bay at 3 1⁄2 back in the A.L. West standings. The Astros are off tomorrow (Thursday) and then travel to Boston to take on the Red Sox over the weekend.
The Mariners managed to fight someone other than themselves tonight, beating the Orioles in Seattle, 5-2. The Mariners are also off tomorrow (Thursday), before hosting the Yankees in Seattle over the weekend. So the silver lining is that both A.L. teams in the playoff hunt play competitive opponents over the weekend.
A’s head into the off day 3 1⁄2 behing the Astros in the AL West and 3 1⁄2 games behind the Yankees for the first AL Wild Card spot and 5 1⁄2 ahead of the Mariners for the second AL Wild Card Slot.
A’s Day Off Tomorrow, Bullpen Game on Friday vs. Rangers
The A’s host the Rangers for three games beginning Friday night at the Coliseum. If you are thinking, “Wait, didn’t the Rangers just come to Oakland?” You would be right. Texas was in town for three games, August 20th thru 22nd, with the A’s winning two of three.
Here are the probable starters for the weekend series:
Friday Night @ 7:05pm: A’s - “Bullpen Game” - RHP, Liam Hendricks (0-1, 7.24 ERA) and RHP, Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.19 ERA) relieving vs. Rangers - Yovani Gallardo (8-3, 5.97 ERA)
Saturday Afternoon @ 1:05pm: A’s - RHP, Edwin Jackson (5-3, 2.91 ERA) vs. Rangers - RHP, Yohander Mendez (1-1, 5.59 ERA).
Sunday Afternoon @ 1:05pm: RHP, Trevor Cahill (6-3, 3.60 ERA) vs. Rangers - TBA
After twenty games in twenty days, the A’s will enjoy the travel free off day tomorrow.
Twenty one games left to play, let’s Go A’s!