Good morning again, Athletics Nation!
The 2020 MLB season began over the weekend, and there was simply too much stuff to fit in one Elephant Rumblings post. An overflow edition is necessary for such an occasion, and today we’ll use it to look back on the Oakland A’s opening weekend. If you had to miss any of the action, we’ve got you covered.
The A’s hosted the Los Angeles Angels for three games at the Coliseum, and they’re playing a fourth on Monday before moving on. Overall, Oakland won two of the three contests, dropping only the Saturday affair.
On Friday, the A’s put together perhaps the best Opening Day in Oakland history. After coming slow out the gate, Ramon Laureano sparked the lineup with some clutch extra-base hits, and the game went to extra innings — triggering the first-ever use of the new (and temporary, for now) rule putting an automatic runner on second base to begin the 10th frame and beyond. The A’s stranded the Halos’ free runner, but Oakland loaded the bases and got a walk-off grand slam from Matt Olson. It was MLB’s first Opening Day walk-off slam since 1986.
On Saturday, the A’s came out flat and stayed there. They managed only one run, while Sean Manaea started wonderfully for four innings and then got beat up in the 5th. The bright spot was the season debut of Jesus Luzardo, who came out of the bullpen to throw three scoreless frames.
On Sunday, Shohei Ohtani made his return to the MLB mound after missing 2019 to Tommy John surgery. However, he’ll have to wait a bit longer to record his first out, because all six A’s batters he faced reached base. He was knocked out in the 1st inning, with five runs eventually scoring, and the Angels never caught back up. Mark Canha had the big hit against Ohtani, Sean Murphy added a monster dinger later against the bullpen, and Liam Hendriks notched his first save after blowing one on Friday.
Here are all the links, sights, and sounds from last weekend, beginning with the Opening Day pregame ceremony.
Opening Day pregame ceremony
First, an in memoriam for 2020
A's pay tribute to Matt Keough, Claudell Washington, Ed Sprague Sr., Miguel Marte (who died of COVID-19), Roy Steele, Harold Miller (an original team employee), Jimmy "The Hot Dog Guy" Graff and scoreboard operator Chester Farrell.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 25, 2020
Black Lives Matter demonstration
A’s and Angels players holding the unity cloth to represent “we are one” in this and all communities pic.twitter.com/64tJH7Yc1o— Vince Cotroneo (@vincebaseball) July 25, 2020
Video of the unity cloth
No A’s kneeled during the national anthem, but Khris Davis and Tony Kemp raised fists
Khris Davis raises his right hand for the entire national anthem. pic.twitter.com/0bqCSJCFqp— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) July 25, 2020
The A’s released a pregame statement to make their position clear
Game 1 (Fri): A’s 7, Angels 3
- Slusser: A’s and Angels start a season like no other, win on Olson’s grand slam ($)
- Kawahara: A’s, Angels demonstrate unity, support for racial justice before season opener ($)
- Gallegos: Olson’s slam wins 2020’s 1st extra-inning tilt
- Hickey: Athletics Turn Extra Inning Rule Upside Down with Olson’s Defense and Power
- Hickey: Social Distancing Loses First Confrontation With Celebrating an Athletics Walkoff Win
- Coffey: A’s secure Opening Day win, and hope 2020 marks fulfillment of a team’s promise ($$$)
- Game #1: Opening Day walk-off! Matt Olson grand slam in 10th lifts A’s to 7-3 victory over Angels
- Nico: Opening Day: So Much To Dissect In One Game
- Matt Olson’s Opening Day walk-off grand slam is first in MLB since 1986
- Ramon Laureano homers for A’s first run of 2020
- Quick look: T.J. McFarland stays grounded in A’s debut
- Quick look: Burch Smith earns win inA’s debut
Plus a Laureano dinger to wake up the lineup with the first run of 2020
Game 2 (Sat): Angels 4, A’s 1
- Slusser: A’s pitcher Sean Manaea starts strong, fades as Oakland falls 4-1 to Angels ($)
- Gallegos: Rust? Luzardo’s 3 scoreless want a word
- Hickey: Luzardo’s Three Innings Saturday has him in Line for a Move to the Athletics Rotation
- Berman: Jesús Luzardo’s sharp in A’s season debut, but questions remain with Sean Manaea ($$$)
- Game #2: A’s flat after dramatic opener, fall 4-1 to Angels
- Jesus Luzardo aces season debut, could be in rotation soon
Luzardo is back!
Game 3 (Sun): A’s 6, Angels 4
- Slusser: Mark Canha leads charge as A’s jump on Shohei Ohtani early, top Angels ($)
- Kawahara: A’s Liam Hendriks bounces back from blown save in opener ($)
- Gallegos: Murphy flexes power in win over Halos
- Hickey: Fortunes Swing Wildly in AL West as Athletics Win, But Astros, Rangers & Angels Develop Starting Pitcher Issues
- Coffey: A’s defeat the Angels as the AL West possibly is reshaped by injuries ($$$)
- Game #3: A’s spoil Shohei Ohtani’s return to mound, beat Angels 6-4
- Quick look: Shohei Ohtani records zero outs in 2020 debut against Oakland A’s, velocity way down
Five-run 1st inning off Ohtani
Murphy goes DEEP for his first homer of the year
- Kelly: For first time in 66 years, no team starts 3-0
- Leitch: 30 teams, 30 first impressions
- AN: AL West update: Astros’ Justin Verlander, Rangers’ Corey Kluber out with injuries
- AN Elephant Rumblings: Miami Marlins home opener canceled after barrage of positive coronavirus tests
- Bell: 423 days later, Cookie’s starting return stellar
- Toribio: Yeah, right: LH Choi clobbers RH homer
- Berry: Holland is 1st ejection of ‘20 ... from seats
- Monagan: Best fan cutouts from Opening Weekend
Best of Twitter
Chapman’s dropped foul on Sunday was not ruled an error
Because of the sun, it's ruled a "no play"— John Hickey (@JHickey3) July 26, 2020
KD tipping his cap to all the cutouts in the stands pic.twitter.com/zOw7JnD2jr— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 25, 2020
We have our first “catch” by a cardboard cutout!
Great catch! Congrats to Richard Lovelady for catching the first foul ball of the season in the 811 Foul Ball Zone! We will be sending you the ball! @Athletics And that is $81.10 for the Oakland A’s Community Fund on behalf of Call 811! ⚾️⚾️⚾️ pic.twitter.com/pNEYA0dotO— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) July 25, 2020
If they made a horror movie about a baseball team, it might look something like this
Cardboard Charlie-O makes an appearance. (And who are you callin’ a horse??)
Enough horsing around. We have 15 MLB games on today. Baseball is back 15/10 pic.twitter.com/hoFpHTxVzC— Cardboard Cutout Hotties (@BallparkCutouts) July 25, 2020
The A’s concessions depth chart is loaded
And finally, this is great. Bronson Arroyo got one right. (And look for A’s play-by-play radio voice Vince Cotroneo!)