morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!
The Oakland A’s have already given us more highs and lows in three weeks than some teams see in three months, between their opening six-game losing skid and their ongoing eight-game winning streak. As usual, win or lose, this club is rarely boring.
But there are plenty of other story lines around the majors, and one of them feels particularly relatable for A’s fans. Perhaps the most surprising part about is is that it didn’t happen right here in Oakland, on our island of misfit toys. Even the name, Sean Kazmar, might catch your eye until you realize it isn’t Scott Kazmir.
Let’s follow Jeff Passan of ESPN on a tweet journey, as he explains the fascinating tale of Kazmar.
If you’ve never heard of Sean Kazmar, that’s understandable. He’s 36 years old. He’s a middle infielder. And the last time he played in the major leagues was in 2008, when he played some games in August and September for a San Diego Padres team that almost lost 100 games.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 17, 2021
You might read that and assume that Kazmar struggled against a decade of injuries, or retired for a while and then came back. But nope, he played in the minors every year, never seeing fewer than a couple hundred plate appearances in any season from 2009-19. Only the pandemic kept him off the field, with no minor leagues for him to play in last summer.
Sean Kazmar is Crash Davis. If he plays, the gap of more than 12 years between major league appearances will be the largest in a very long time. Checking with @ESPNStatsInfo and @EliasSports to figure out exactly how long, but it may have been decades since this last happened.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 17, 2021
And now he’s back. He eventually left the Padres organization and briefly played in the Mariners and Mets systems, before settling into the Braves farm. He finally got the call back to the bigs over the weekend.
This is amazing. If Sean Kazmar Jr. gets into the game with Atlanta, his 12-year, 206-day gap between major league appearances would be the longest since Minnie Miñoso in 1976, per @EliasSports. The longest before him? Satchel Paige. Unlike them, Kazmar played every year between.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 17, 2021
Don’t worry, this story doesn’t end with Adam Dunn finally making it to the postseason only to sit on the bench for 12 innings while even Nick Punto gets to pinch-hit. Of course Kazmar got into a game.
What player was taken 6 picks ahead of Sean Kazmar in the 2004 draft and was also at Wrigley Field today for his cool return to the big leagues?— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 17, 2021
Tommy Hottovy...who is the Cubs pitching coach! https://t.co/PwPNZF1ahf
Kazmar was tapped as a pinch-hitter in the 5th inning, batting in place of his team’s starting pitcher. On the fourth pitch, he grounded into a double play. But more importantly, he grounded into a double play in the major leagues. The italics are the important part in this case. That’s certainly how Kazmar sees it, at least.
“I would do it all over again just for a day like today,” Kazmar said. “It was worth the wait to get in and get another at-bat.”
- A’s call up Vimael Machin from alternate site
- A’s designate Ka’ai Tom for assignment
- A’s try virtual reality, other methods to prepare for unfamiliar Tigers pitchers ($)
- Straight A’s podcast: Host Shayna Rubin joined by Sergio Romo
- Coffey: Eight reasons the A’s have won eight straight: Improved defense, more homers and better health ($$$)
- AN: 2021 A’s are riding historic roller coaster
- Nelson: The Bet: Why the A’s will win more games than the Padres in 2021
A’s injuries (and also their opponents’ health)
Some injury updates from Bob Melvin:— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) April 17, 2021
- Puk isn't off a mound yet, once he throws a bullpen they'll have a timetable
- Burch Smith (groin) is throwing out from 100 ft. Running progression is the issue
- Pinder hit off a machine + is throwing. Running will tell the tale with him
As for the Twins, in town to play Tuesday and Wednesday, this is not a new positive test but rather the previously unnamed player who tested positive last weekend
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli says OF Max Kepler is out with COVID-19. Kepler and others remain quarantined in Anaheim hotel. Caleb Thielbar is there/out as a close contact with a positive person.— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) April 20, 2021
A’s Game Highlights
- Game #13: A’s stroll to victory over Tigers
- Game #14: A’s get back to .500 with first shutout of year
- Game #15: A’s shut out Tigers for second straight day, run winning streak to seven
- Game #16: Coliseum sun, Clutch Mitch Moreland, help A’s to walk-off win and sweep
- A’s postpone Monday game vs. Twins for COVID precautions
- Mitch Moreland still can’t be stopped at the Coliseum
- Don’t run on Ramon Laureano, but also don’t NOT run on him
- Nico: Quickie Analysis: Melvin The Tactician
It ain’t over till it’s over!
The A's lead the Majors with 35 runs scored in the seventh inning or later.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) April 18, 2021
Frankie looking back to form!
Filthy Frankie— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 17, 2021
6IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 7K pic.twitter.com/GxRkfeZpeY
Chappy is taking better swings too
That's one way to start us off, Oly pic.twitter.com/jHUnoJSQjM— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 17, 2021
Aramis gets on the board!
Here’s the A’s other catcher
Don’t hit it to Ramon (first 8-5 putout by A’s since 1980)
Mitchy Walk Offs
The Tigers had a heavy defensive shift for Mitch Moreland. Twice he hit a ball straight into it and got a single anyway (1 grounder, 1 liner). I just don't get it. There's no way opening up THAT much of the field is worth it if you can't even lock down the area you're stacking. pic.twitter.com/bZHqALlOvX— Alex Hall (@AlexHallAN) April 17, 2021
I just. don't. get. it. That contact by Machin was the textbook definition of his entire skill set. The likeliest place he ever hits the ball. And they just gave it to him. Would have been a routine out with a straight-up defense. Plus they gave him the perfect pitch to do it.— Alex Hall (@AlexHallAN) April 17, 2021
Ride the wave!
Kuip had himself a day on Sunday
Glen Kuiper:— Alex Hall (@AlexHallAN) April 18, 2021
"Let's see, I've got Baddoo, hmm, 0-for-8 with 7 STRIIIiiiIIIKEouts"
"It's all in the diet. If you eat lots of pizza you'll live a long time."
"Last time I was in Stockton, I went in a restaurant, mentioned Dallas Braden's name and they charged me double."
The best highlight of the year so far!
Best of MLB Twitter
The Dodgers/Padres game on Saturday got weird (recap from True Blue LA)
It's the 12th. A pitcher just hit a sac fly to left off a second baseman and it was caught by a pitcher. Got that?— Matt Ortega (@MattOrtega) April 17, 2021
... Here’s one stat to illustrate just how weird
Pitchers who have struck out Mookie Betts this season:— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) April 17, 2021
... And here’s another
Tonight, Joe Musgrove became the first player to make a putout as a position player after throwing a no-hitter that season since Johnny Lush for the 1906 Phillies.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) April 17, 2021
The legend of Willians Astudillo continues to grow
Here is all 7 pitches in Willians Astudillo's appearance pic.twitter.com/yThVXGSyOI— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) April 17, 2021
And another notable position player pitching!
Seven great innings for Brett Anderson tonight, and that's his longest start as a Brewer.— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) April 18, 2021
That was Anderson’s longest start since July 31, 2019 with Oakland vs. .... the Brewers.
Looks like I’m not the only one noticing this Glavine trend
Robo umps, please (4 inches outside has become a routine strike. It’s like Tom Glavine is pitching every day)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 17, 2021
One of the coolest stories in baseball this year
Trey Mancini @TreyMancini tells us what it’s like to be diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer at 27, to have cancer in a Covid world, who helped him thru it & what he thinks about being anointed top Comeback Player before the season even starts @saraperlman https://t.co/PMzHxyV9MM— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 19, 2021
Two notable retirements, beginning with Jay Bruce
Jay Bruce had a great career. But more than that, he's a class act.— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 18, 2021
When I used to speak at the Rookie Development Program, I used him as an example of how to act and how to handle the moment, good or bad.
He respected the game. He loved the game.
Congrats on a great run, Jay! https://t.co/P213hZ1X3c
... And also Neil Walker
Officially retired, thank you to everyone that helped me in my journey to live out my childhood dream of being a Major Leaguer, I loved & cherished every day. From Pittsburgh, NY Mets & Yankees, Milwaukee, Miami, and Philly, nothing but love to those Organizations, Cities & Fans! pic.twitter.com/mvl3cg9k80— Neil Walker (@NeilWalker18) April 20, 2021