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Elephant Rumblings: A’s swept into the All-Star break

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

Just as the A’s seemed to be building momentum with two straight series wins, they closed out the first half of the season dropping all three of the weekend’s games at Fenway. These things can happen: the Fenway crowd can be tough, and the Red Sox came into the series with momentum of their own, having just taken five of six in winning series against the Blue Jays and Rangers.

What makes the Boston series so frustrating is that it seemed so poorly managed, with Mark Kotsay stubbornly trotting out openers every day, messing with the starting pitchers’ routines and rhythms, and even putting Luis Medina in relief of Sam Long after the latter made a bases-loaded mess of the second inning.

Yesterday’s game really took the cake, though. The Red Sox didn’t beat the A’s on Sunday. The A’s beat themselves with amateur-level execution—plus plenty of the aforementioned mismanagement as Kotsay went with the “starter-stack” strategy, putting Paul Blackburn in relief of JP Sears as we watched the A’s lead evaporate in the sixth.

In a way, the A’s plated a full stack of starters yesterday, but two of them have mostly been relegated to the bullpen.

Silver linings: Sears continues to pitch well, Shintaro Fujinami is beginning to look like he may have found a groove, and Brent Rooker is looking like an All-Star again at just the right time. Time to take a break, deconstruct the A’s draft picks, and hope for a much better second half—it’s a low bar to clear.

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Sweet disruption.

A’s top pick a former classmate of fellow prospect Max Muncy.

Jacob and his pops, Jack.

Baum picking up steam this year.

Remembering Jason’s first.