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Fatrolf’s Monday Sketches: BASSitt Reels In Radical Record Edition

And, Oakland A’s rookies make some Neuse!

After a weekend where they lost two out of three to the Yankees, the A’s burst back on track, mowing down the opposition and chomping at the bit of a postseason berth. It was a week of record-setting, seven-run-seventh inning, Sean Manaea returning, A’s brand baseball. It was showing the rest of the league what our team is capable of, and showing ourselves what we’re capable of, even through injury and loss.

The A’s salary is less than half of both the Red Sox and Cubs, who are currently #1 and #2 on the salary list. This season, the A’s have a better record than both teams, despite having to get there without the massive stars top tier teams like Boston and Chicago can go down to the store and pick up.

After a week of crazy baseball, the A’s are holding strong to the second Wild Card position, one game behind Tampa and one and a half ahead of Cleveland.

The A’s have a history of having a good farm system, tilling their soil and grooming their little prospect sprouts into big bushels of produce. Catcher Sean Murphy was the latest fruit of their labor, finally getting his call up early this month. Murphy was not only one of the A’s best prospects, but one of the top in the entire league. Murphy is our catcher of the future. So, no pressure!

Despite an injury setback that cut out most of his 2019 season, Murphy has risen from draftee in 2016, to callup on September 1st. Murphy will remain a backup for now, as Phegley and Herrmann are still the A’s starting catchers. It was planned Murphy would get a couple starts in, but he has showed us he deserves that, and then some.

With his family in the stands for his debut on Wednesday night, Sean Murphy would not settle for just a first Big League hit. No, Murphy’s first hit also turned out to be his first home run. Not only that, but Murphy also caught a shut-out in the A’s 4-0 win over the Angels.

Murphy is the latest top prospect to clamber out of AAA, following Seth Brown, Sheldon Neuse, and lefty AJ Puk.

On Thursday morning, we made the trek over to the Coliseum to watch the series finale against the Angels from great seats behind home plate. Things started out grumpy. Justin Upton said hello with a sharp double that drove in Mike Trout and Brian Goodwin. A Canha RBI in the bottom half of the inning put the A’s on the board, but was quickly forgotten when Trout answered with a two-run mash in the top of the third.

When Trout was driven in again in the fifth, Brett Anderson was ready to crawl into the mound and the retirees behind us engaged in a conversation about how trimming their beards might rejuvenate their romantic life. The crowd vibe had shifted from oh boy, we could see the A’s sweep to socializing and day drinking on a Thursday afternoon!

Puk didn’t make anything better, as Kevan Smith gagged him up for a homer in the seventh. The A’s were going to need a miracle, even just to stop the onslaught of Angels scoring. Lou Trivino stepped in and closed out the inning before any more damage could be done.

All you need is one pebble to start a landslide. Sometimes, that pebble is a 225lb catcher named Josh Phegley. In the bottom of the seventh, Phegs crushed his 11th dinger of the season, swooping Sheldon Neuse in with him. 6-3 tastes more like a ballgame.

With the bases loaded, Buttrey (no laughing) walked in Semien for the 4th A’s run. The dugout was electric. Sean Manaea, dancing on the grass. One pitching change later, Chapman is walked in for the fifth run. Someone in the dugout threw a cup of water at Sean Manaea’s butt.

Khrush sac’d in Olson, and on their way to the dugout, Manaea and Fiers greeted them and Fiers asked Khrush for the ball.

Justice is a sweet and delicious delicacy. Grossman, despite his name, served up a tantalizing triple with a fly ball to Mike Trout in center field. If Trout had caught it, the inning would have ended 6-6. He lost the ball and was sent scuttling after it as Grossman hustled to third, chasing in Canha and Profar.

Profar’s pinch of perfection came in the next inning when he singled on a fly ball to... Mike Trout! Semien and Olson both scored on the shot, bringing the game to its final resting position, 10-6 Oakland.

I may have missed the Sean Murphy home run game by one day, but no complaints with how the show turned out.

Ramon Laureano returned to action in the second Friday game against the Tigers after missing 32 games due to a leg injury. The 25-year-old was enjoying cruising along in a break-out season, but injuries are heartless and don’t care about that stuff. Despite the time he missed, Laureano still ranks second in dingers and RBI among AL center fielders.

Unfortunately, the celebration was short-lived. In the 2nd inning of the A’s 10-2 rout of the Tigers last night, Laureano hobbled off the field after attempting to run to second. He was replaced by a pinch runner, and it was stated that he had suffered from a cramp in his problem leg. He should still be able to play, but maybe not every day.

Just after Khrush and Bassitt celebrated the births of their infants, Yusmeiro Petit was given devastating news. His father, Alberto, had passed away. To make matters worse, just over a year ago, Petit had lost his mother as well. Petit was going to fly to Venezuela to be with his family after his father’s death, but with the short notice, he wouldn’t have made it back in time for the funeral. Faced with the choice of still taking off for his home or stick with the team, he decided to stay in Oakland.

Petit returned to the field yesterday, welcomed by a moment of silence in honor of the loss he and his family suffered. On Sunday, he returned to the mound, and even the Tigers offered some loving support in an emotional moment.

On his first start since the birth of his daughter, Chris Bassitt made it a memorable one. With his kid just 2 days old, Bassitt pitched one of the best games of his season, posting 11 K’s over 6 innings, a career high. For the 5th time in 2019, Bassitt did not walk a single batter.

Matt Chapman is chugging towards a record all his own, but he’ll need one more dinger to set it. Chapman’s shot in the game last night brought his season total up to 32, which ties him with Eric Chavez’s, put up back in 2001.

With Blake Treinen still hampered by back issues, the A’s called up Josh Phegley’s fellow Meat Tent Man, JB Wendelken, to provide some long relief. This will be Wendelken’s fourth time being called up this season.

110 days after the rain delay, the A’s staked victory over the Tigers. Mike Fiers got his win from May 19th over his former ball club and now holds 12 straight ... for real.

Sean Manaea had a promising return back to the A’s front a week ago against the Yankees. While he did not get the win, Manaea threw a fantastic five frames against the Pinstripes. The plan was to not overwork Manaea, but he crushed the opposition, giving up zero runs on 82 pitches and racking up five K’s. He did even better his next time out the following Sunday against the Tigers, going seven innings yesterday with 10 Ks. He and Bassitt combined to do something the A’s haven’t done in nearly 50 years, with back-to-back 10-strikeout performances.

Now it’s off to Houston, for one last chance to prove the A’s can beat the best of the best before October starts!