In the beginning of the season, boasting Mike Fiers as our #1 starter seemed a bit iffy. He came in hot, riding the trail he’d blazed coming from last season’s 3.56 ERA, but would he keep burning bright for another season? At first it seemed not, as by May 1st he had compiled a 2-3 record and a 6.81 ERA. Fiers was ranked amongst the worst in the MLB.
Fiers has not lost a game since.
Fiers is now a dominant 11-3 after Friday’s contest, his ERA down to an excellent 3.30. In his start on Friday, he felt a cold coming on and wasn’t sure how he’d perform. The A’s bats lit up and Fiers posted seven shut-out innings on the Chicago White Sox, striking out eight and giving up only three hits on the night. Even a cold couldn’t stop him from staying hot!
Dustin Garneau was nabbed as a fill in catcher for the injured Josh Phegley, but took it upon himself to totally exceed expectations — which, admittedly, were about as high as “just don’t get hurt.” In 15 plate appearances with the A’s, Garneau has amassed seven RBI on four hits, including a dinger. He even drew two walks and only struck out twice. Go, go, Garneau! Fill in any time you want!
The A’s spent a total of six days in Chicago while taking on the Cubs and the White Sox. For two Athletics players, this was more than a regular road trip.
29-year-old Nick Martini grew up in Crystal Lake, IL, about an hour from Chicago. He grew up dreaming of one day playing ball in Wrigley. In the eighth inning of Monday’s game against the Cubs, his dream came to life. Martini came in as a pinch-hitter and wasted no time in sailing a Steve Cishek offering deep into the right field bleachers for his first homer of the year. Unfortunately, the A’s didn’t come away with the W, but Martini got his wish, and was able to pull it off in front of his friends and family.
Travel an hour in the opposite direction and you’ll get to Wilmington, IL, home of A’s newest acquisition, Tanner Roark. Unfortunately, Roark ran into the same problem as Martini did, pitching reasonably well but still suffering the loss in a 3-2 defeat to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
However, yesterday’s loss wasn’t all on Roark. A game where the only two runs the A’s scored both came from a fielding error is not a typical A’s game this season. Had we unleashed a deluge of dingers that we’ve grown accustomed to, the three runs (two earned) that Roark gave up wouldn’t have been an issue. If he keeps pitching like this next time, all will be well.
Matt Chapman has rocked his 25th home run of 2019, a personal record. He had been in a skid, unable to regain traction. At 1-for-20 in August, and 2-for-47 back to late July, Chapman needed something to grab hold of and swing his momentum the other way.
How about a haircut? Duh!
Chapman was starting to get bothered by his hair. When I first read this, I had to remind myself that Chappy did, in fact, have slightly more growth on his head than usual. While it was by no means close to a Tanner Roark, Khris Davis or Sean Manaea ‘do, Chapman was irritated enough by his fuzz that he needed to get rid of it. Without enough time to book a haircut, Chad Pinder stepped in and took a razor to Chapman’s head, buzzing it clean before Friday’s contest. Chappy busted his blues in his first at-bat, cracking a Ross Detweiler changeup over the left field fence.
Speaking of records, Friday’s win brought even more good cheer. Bob Melvin picked up his 700th victory as A’s manager, for a grand total of 1,193 in his career since he started with the Seattle Mariners in 2003.
I haven’t shared a weekly Brett Anderson tweet in a while. Shame on me. Here’s the good stuff.
Sean Manaea’s return has once again been pushed back due to sore body stuff.
The A’s have come up with some new gems for Players Weekend this season. Alex Hall gave his usual fantastic coverage of the event, so there’s no need for me to duplicate it. I personally am excited for the return of Manaealator and PTBNL. Smokey and Worm are two new favorites, but I agree that “martini emoji” is my top new one.
Chris Bassitt wrapped up the weekend strong this morning, with seven scoreless innings, and the A’s shut out the White Sox (Bassitt’s former team that traded him to Oakland four years ago!) for the second time in three days. And boy, did they need it! The A’s are currently 1.5 games out of the Wild Card Race and a strong surge is just what’s needed to pull them ahead of Tampa Bay.
A little shameless self-promotion, so feel free to skip this part!
I have the honor this season of participating in the second annual Battle of the Bay Art Show — hosted by NBC Sports! I got to tour the NBC Sports studio in San Francisco on Friday when I dropped my art piece off. Click here and here for more information! My piece will be showcased — along with the others in the gallery — at Oracle Park on August 13th and 14th, and at the Coliseum on August 24th and 25th. (Admission to the art show is free with a game ticket)
I won’t be around for the 14th, but I’ll be at the gallery for the others! Let me know if anyone else plans on going, I’d love to say hi!