Good morning, Athletics Nation!
Live baseball is just around the corner, after an extra-long wait due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Oakland A’s will open their 2020 season next week, on Friday, July 24, at home against the Angels to begin their 60-game schedule. But first, they’ve got a couple exhibition games with the Giants, on Monday and Tuesday — that’s just four days away!
As we eagerly anticipate our first A’s games in nearly 10 months, Wednesday brought an update on the upcoming scrimmages. Sean Manaea will start the Monday game at the Coliseum, while Mike Fiers and Chris Bassitt will each pitch on Tuesday in San Francisco, reports insider Martin Gallegos and the other beat writers. The games will be televised on NBCS California and NBCS Bay Area, respectively, around 6:40 p.m. PT.
It’s fun to know who we’ll see on TV for these long-awaited contests, even though they’re just practice and don’t count for anything, but there are even bigger implications to this news. With Opening Day just a few days after the exhibitions, everyone pitching against the Giants is likely ruled out of starting the regular season opener. That leaves Frankie Montas as a leading candidate, suggests Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.
Of course, Montas wouldn’t exactly be a surprising choice for Opening Day. He was easily the team’s best starter last year before his season was abruptly cut short in June by a PED suspension. He’s received rave reviews during the shutdown and Summer Camp, and is as good a pick as any to lead this Oakland rotation. It’s not official yet, but bet on seeing him next Friday against the Halos. Check out John Hickey of Sports Illustrated for more details on Montas.
- Slusser: Tom Hanks among the options A’s are exploring for in-game sound at Coliseum ($)
- Slusser: A’s name exhibition starters; Frankie Montas looks set to go in season opener ($)
- Hickey: Montas in Position to get Opening Night Start for Athletics against Angels
- Hickey: Athletics Rookie Catching Corps Doing Battle with History in 2020
- Hickey: When Luzardo Returns to Athletics, Will it be as a Starter or a Reliever?
- Gallegos: Luzardo ramping up while away from team
- Kawahara: A’s Jesús Luzardo in ‘great’ spirits, could return to versatile role
- Hall: A’s considering piggyback starters, multi-inning relievers in short 2020 season
- Hall: Is Eric Chavez the biggest All-Star snub in MLB history?
MLB News, & Interest:
- Justice: 9 burning questions for the 2020 season
- Bowman: Here’s why Puig makes Braves a better club
- Stebbins: Cubs add catcher José Lobatón on minor league deal with invite to Summer Camp
- Callis: Inbox: Will Padres promote Gore in 2020?
- Kelly: The 2020 ‘Bomba Squad’ is even scarier
- Petriello: Every uniform number ever, ranked by value
- Today in Baseball History
Summer Camp video
Enjoy some batting practice from Wednesday’s workout at the Coliseum! No commentary from Townie this time, though.
Bonus hype video!
Best of Twitter:
See my link in the A’s Coverage section for more info on the piggybacking strategy
Melvin says A’s are thinking about piggy-backing some starters. Bassitt, Mengden good possibilities to help out here, one would imagine. Even Burch Smith, Petit. Etc.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 15, 2020
Interesting note on a name we don’t talk about much
Burch Smith is getting stretched out to three innings his next time out. He’s throwing at 96 mph Emerson says.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 15, 2020
Turns out Joe Smith didn’t officially opt out yet, but he’s on the restricted list while he decides
Baker said he's proceeding as if veteran reliever Joe Smith won't be with the club this year. "He's welcome to come back. Right now, we plan to go without Joe."— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 15, 2020
And a new detail on the topic of opt-outs
Current protocols say a player who isn't high-risk can't change his mind if he opts out. So he wouldn't be eligible to play in the season or postseason.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 15, 2020
But my understanding is, there have been discussions about whether there are circumstances where they could allow flexibility. https://t.co/4mImMdjfTv
Good news on the MLB injury front (dealing with a back issue)
Jacob deGrom's MRI did not show anything concerning, per source. He is day to day.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 15, 2020
Some cool A’s history from Wednesday
Sneak peek of the cardboard fans