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Elephant Rumblings: Three A’s celebrate firsts on Father’s Day

MLB news roundup

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Oakland Athletics
Jun 19, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jared Koenig (46) and catcher Sean Murphy (12) celebrate after the final out of the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at RingCentral Coliseum.
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

I hope all of the dads out there had a fine Father’s Day. I’m sad to say that none of my four little ones presented me with a gift or even wished me a happy Father’s Day. Perhaps it’s because they are cats.

One dad that was surely delighted yesterday was Jared Koenig’s father Greg, who was at the Coliseum to see his son’s first MLB win yesterday in the A’s 4-0 victory against the Royals. Koenig’s performance wasn’t picture perfect: he walked four and hit one batter, and per Fangraphs his FIP and xFIP for the game were 5.79 and 7.84, respectively. He didn’t strike out a single hitter.

But the bottom line is what counts: Koenig held Royals batters hitless through four innings and left his opponents scoreless through 5⅔ frames. As Matt Kawahara at The San Francisco Chronicle noted, Royals batters averaged a mere 86.2 mph off the bat against Koenig. Perhaps this successful outing will imbue the recently called up starter with increased confidence and command going forward.

Kawahara also reported in The Chronicle that yesterday marked a first of another sort for two of Koenig’s teammates: infielder Tony Kemp and reliever Sam Moll both played their first Father’s Day games as dads. Moll and his wife, Carolina, welcomed their son Malcolm into the world last September. The family calls Memphis, Tennessee home.

Kemp and his wife Michelle live in the Bay Area with their baby girl McKenna, who was born last December. Kemp suggested that fatherhood gives him perspective that helps him deal with the ups and downs of professional sports.

“That’s the thing is good or bad (on the field), that little girl’s always bright-eyed and just wanting to see you and see your face and hug on you,” Kemp told Kawahara.

It was a happy Sunday all around as the A’s avoided a sweep at the hands of one of baseball’s worst teams and broke an eight game losing streak at home. Let’s see if they can carry this momentum into the next series of the current homestand against the Mariners, which begins Tuesday.

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