Weeks like last week can be exhausting. You start off on a high, watch it dissolve into pits of despair. When the A’s lose their second game in four days by giving up 11, you start wondering why you even watch baseball. Maybe you should go outside more. Maybe you’ll go get some corn and steaks and start grilling again. Maybe, instead of watching the A’s get destroyed, you’ll devote that time to something else. Reading, chess, Netflix... banjo...
That’s when they get you. Just when you’re trying to remember which grocery stores always have the best deals on meat, the A’s are beating up on the Rangers again. And then... dingers everywhere! The benches clear! No, you don’t want to have to deal with cleaning the grill off, it can wait another month or two!
Saturday was geared up to be just another game — albeit ripe with frustrations over the A’s inability to put up dingers. After Friday night’s game, Mark Canha stated that somebody needed to “make something happen” to get the spark going. Turns out, that somebody was Canha. It only took two innings before Canha snapped the thick tension with a solo shot off of Adrian Sampson. Turns out, Canha was right. The floodgates opened and the A’s put up three more dingers (Semien, Chapman, Laureano) on the night in the 5-4 victory over the Rangers.
However, the A’s were not the only ones feeling the strain of frustration. In the 6th, Laureano launched a himself a 413-foot monster off of Adrian Sampson, watching the ball soar for just long enough that Sampson snapped. Back on June 8th, Sampson and Laureano had faced each other in Arlington. When Sampson retired Laureano, he intentionally stepped on Laureano’s bat.
Laureano did not forget. Perhaps that was his own “make something happen” moment, like Canha had talked about the night before.
On his way down the first base line, Laureano placed his bat down and told Sampson he could step on it again, if he liked, while Laureano circled the bases. Sampson, already frustrated, was ready to spontaneously combust. Thankfully, he was ushered back to the mound and Laureano made it around the bases without further incident.
In the 6th, Laureano was up again, this time facing Rangers reliever, Rafael Montero. He took a couple inside pitches before the Rangers pitching coach jogged to the mound. Two pitches later, Montero cracked Laureano on the side of the helmet with a 95MPH fastball. The benches cleared as Laureano tossed his bat to the ground and gestured to Montero.
Laureano was guided from the mess while Montero and Rangers manager, Chris Woodward, each received an ejection.
Hours before fresh-from-the-Royals Homer Bailey picked up his second W, the A’s made another deal with KC. With Sean Manaea and Marco Estrada gleaming on the horizon, it was time to face the bullpen demon. The A’s have strong arms in the pen, but have struggled to hit on a solid, reliable foundation. They needed to bolster their bunch in hopes of chasing down the post season.
LHP, Jake Diekman comes in hot with a 97mph fastball and a slider that draws a high number of whiffs. Much like Bailey, Diekman was picked up just this offseason by the Royals, before they let him fly free — in return for prospects, Ismael Aquino and Dairon Blanco. He’ll have an automatic pal in Bailey, but has already been on four different clubs, besides Oakland, so switching teams is not a new battle for the Nebraska native. He’s got a mutual contract option for 2020, so maybe he’ll even stick around next year!
Diekman should be available to pitch in Tuesday’s introduction to the three-game Brewers series.
In the middle of his longest homer-free drought ever — currently 29 games — Khris Davis was hungry for a Sunday night walk-off... walk? Sure! Anything to get the win, anything to give Khrush a boost of confidence!
The other slumping star who needed a release from his woes was Blake Treinen, who hasn’t found his groove this season. Amid a couple stretches on the IL and botched performances, Treinen needed anything to elevate his spirits.
He came into the ninth, following a dismal eighth, where Soria and Hendriks were pounded for a combined three runs and a loss of the lead — and of the W for Fiers. Treinen shouldered the pressure and shut down the Rangers, picking up two K’s in his single inning of work. When the A’s came back and won in the bottom half of the inning, Treinen also got his W.
After enduring some brutal losses this week, a series split with the Rangers feels like a victory.
Stephen Piscotty is making strides in his recovery. He started a game early for Vegas, playing 7 innings at DH on Saturday instead of the planned Sunday game. After that, it will all depend on how he feels at the plate.
While the A’s are headed into an off day today, the front office surely is still abuzz as the trade deadline looming above us. Will the A’s make a big splash? Have we made all the moves we needed? Any more Royals want to jump aboard the A’s Train?
Chris Bassitt takes the mound tomorrow to start the series against the Brewers. Momentum is on his side after the last couple days. No need to step on Laureano’s bat to get it hot again!