Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The Oakland A’s had a wild weekend. On the bright side they swept the Houston Astros, who are currently illustrating the dangers of starting off a short season in a slump — the defending AL champ Astros are now in third place more than a quarter of the way into the campaign.
However, Oakland’s good feelings were brought down at least slightly by a brawl at the end of the finale. Ramon Laureano got hit by his second pitch of the game and third of the series and wasn’t happy about it, and Houston COACH Alex Cintron aggressively egged him into charging the DUGOUT. Click here for all the details, as we await news of who gets suspended and for how long.
Looking around the rest of the league, MLB is not quite done dealing with its first round of coronavirus outbreak. The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, who had both received numerous positive tests, were cleared to return to action last week. However, the Cardinals never played a game, as further new cases emerged and they were postponed once more. They missed a weekend series against the Cubs, and will take a rain check for this week’s upcoming three games against the Pirates from Mon-Wed, reports insider Jon Heyman.
The Cards last played July 29, and have now missed 15 games including the next three days. That’s an entire quarter of the schedule. The A’s have played 16 games so far.
Three St. Louis players are confirmed to have newly tested positive, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: relief pitcher Ryan Helsley, and outfielders Austin Dean and Lane Thomas, plus at least one more unidentified staff member. SB Nation Cardinals site Viva El Birdos has some thoughts on their team’s situation.
This is an unfortunate development, both for the club in question and also for the league as a whole. Any amount of virus floating around increases the chance of a larger outbreak that could threaten the season, but for now there is still hope that this is just a minor aftershock and the issue remains effectively contained — especially with teams taking things more seriously, as you can read about below in the MLB News section with the Cleveland Indians and pitcher Zach Plesac.
- Hickey: Athletics’ Chapman Hasn’t Lost any of His Wizardry at Third Base
- Hickey: Target Practice: Athletics 3B Chapman Finds Cardboard Cutouts Have Some Game
- Hickey: In an Era Where the Productivity of First Basemen is Tailing off, Athletics Olson an Exception
- Hickey: At the One-Quarter Mark of 2020, Semien Getting Athletics Up & Going
- Hickey: Montas Setting an Exhilarating Pace for Athletics Starting Rotation
- Hickey: Suspensions, Fines Likely After Astros, Athletics Brawl in A’s Sweep
- Kawahara: A’s Marcus Semien hopes to build on walk-off hit amid a slow start ($)
- Kawahara: A’s Mark Canha says lack of in-game video access has been ‘extremely difficult’ ($)
- Kawahara: Cutouts beware: A’s Matt Chapman has taken aim at the stands ($)
- Slusser: From ‘Houston Asterisks’ flyover to megaphones, A’s fans will rip Astros from afar ($)
- Slusser: A’s, Astros mix it up on field but Oakland wins 9th in row, completes sweep ($)
- Slusser: 500 strikeouts: How A’s closer Liam Hendriks reached unlikely milestone ($)
- Kaplan and Coffey: After benches-clearing scuffle, Astros and A’s must brace for MLB discipline ($$$)
- Berman: The streaking A’s and struggling Astros are heading in opposite directions ($$$)
- Strauss: This is the best A’s team I’ve seen ($$$)
- Didion: Giants’ Farhan Zaidi reveals why A’s job was ‘best’ of MLB career
Best of AN
- Hall: Benches clear between Oakland A’s and Houston Astros after Ramon Laureano hit with second pitch of game
- Hall: A’s have best record in AL at one-quarter mark of 2020 season
- Hall: Tony Kemp is the perfect role player for the A’s
- Hall: A’s trade Mark Payton back to Reds
- Friday: Game #14: Marcus Semien walk-off in 13th wins marathon 3-2 game over Astros
- Saturday: Game #15: Frankie Montas gem leads A’s to 8th straight win, 3-1 over Astros
- Sunday: Game #16: Sweep! Brawl! A’s beat Astros 7-2 for 9th straight win
- Buy your Stache Brothers T-shirt today!
MLB News & Interest
- Bell: Indians send Plesac home after night out
- Rosenthal and Meisel: Indians send Zach Plesac home for violating health and safety protocols ($$$)
- Rosenthal: Thankful for a long MLB career, Chris Iannetta retires on his own terms ($$$)
- Law: Scouting prospects and young players in the early going (third edition) ($$$)
- Today in Baseball History
Weekend’s SWEEP Highlights
Friday: Win! On a walk-off by Semien.
Saturday: Win! Montas was brilliant and Semien and Chapman homered.
Frankie Montas, Nasty 88mph Slider...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/YTWu0sKFEH— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 8, 2020
Sunday: Win! By Luzardo! The Matts homered, but Laureano was ejected and will surely be suspended.
Best of A’s Twitter
“He’s so good that I could see myself using him for 150 pitches a night because why would you ever pull someone that good?” - also probably Dusty
Dusty Baker on Frankie Montas: "I had never seen this guy in person, but he was tough. He stayed about 96, 97 damn near the whole day with a slider, good breaker.”— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) August 8, 2020
A drop of normalcy
All the players in the A's auxiliary dugout just chugged Red Bulls. Things are finally back to normal.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) August 8, 2020
Good news on the injury front!
Bob Melvin says Jordan Weems might be close to facing hitters soon and could be back when eligible to come off the IL. Puk is playing catch at 90 feet but is not close to throwing off the mound.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 9, 2020
Would love to see him stick around long enough to rise up this list
OAKLAND A's MOST CAREER LEADOFF HR— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) August 8, 2020
43 Rickey Henderson
15 Coco Crisp
10 Bert Campaneris
7 Marcus Semien
There’s always a new record to be set in baseball!
I can't find any other A's player since at least 1974 to have a walkoff hit and leadoff homer on back-to-back days https://t.co/xfKgfOw3mB— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) August 8, 2020
Former Athletics pitcher Blackley often speaks in support of his old team
You hate to see it. I hope Laureano doesn’t get too many games on the shelf from this! Disappointing he decided to go after that washed up flog Cintron, no matter what was said. Hurts the team and for what? I hope the league makes an example of Cintron though! A’s are atm— Travis Blackley (@Travis_Blackley) August 10, 2020
I’m not sorry
No, I don't want no Scrubb. A Scrubb is a guy who can't field my grounder. Bouncing off his glove and the ground, away from the mound, letting a run score.— Athletics Nation (@athleticsnation) August 9, 2020
Best of MLB Twitter
LOL Astros (and they lost again the next day to fall into third place)
This is the 1st time the Astros have been 4.5 or more games behind in the AL West at least 10 games into the season since the final day of 2016, when they ended the year 11 games behind the first-place Rangers.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) August 8, 2020
Update: Renato Nunez panned out after all!
A peek at sports outside baseball
Prominent industry source: "I think by the end of the week the fall sports will be postponed in all conferences."— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) August 8, 2020
The people who will complain the loudest about no college football season are also the people most responsible for that outcome.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 8, 2020
Former A’s coach
Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo is opting out of the 2020 season.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) August 7, 2020
Well now that’s an interesting pitch selection
Godley threw 4 scoreless tonight. He threw only 3 fastballs tonight, and only 6% of his pitches this season have been fastballs. A stunning change from previous seasons:— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) August 9, 2020
Godley % of fastball use, year-by-year: