Aug 23, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Jonny Gomes (15) rounds third against Los Angeles Angels third baseman Gordon Beckham (18) to score a run against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Athletics Week In Review: Angels, Injuries and an Earthquake

When the Athletics got Jonny Gomes back in the Yoenis Cespedes trade, we knew we’d be getting a capable bench bat and a good clubhouse guy. Those things aside, I think he earned every bit of his pro-rated salary with this response about Sunday morning’s earthquake:

“You’ve been through one, man,” said Jonny Gomes. “Just letting the land surf, that’s all it is.”

Jonny Gomes, putting it all in perspective.

The Athletics’ biggest problems right this minute don’t stem from the biggest quake to hit Northern California since the Bay Bridge Series in 1989, but instead from a rash of injuries. John Jaso is hitting the 7-day DL with lingering concussion symptoms, Sean Doolittle went on the 15-day DL with an intercostal muscle strain and Josh Donaldson was left out of the lineup on Sunday with a sore knee (the MRI on his knee came back negative). Adding to Jed Lowrie and Nick Punto, who are both still rehabbing, and Kyle Blanks who had a setback in his recovery, and the A’s look pretty beat up.

With Jaso going to the DL and Vogt’s foot issue keeping him at first base, the team’s catching surplus has disappeared. Enter Geovany Soto, the former Rookie of the Year backstop was acquired from Texas today for cash considerations. The Athletics also claimed Yunel Escobar off of waivers from the Rays and they have until Tuesday to work out a deal for the infielder. Personal issues with Escobar aside, the A’s are looking pretty thin up the middle.

It’s a long season, and we’re 129 games in. Guys are beat up. This is a deep team, and that depth will be stretched to it’s limits in the coming month, even as rosters expand in September.

Weekly Record: 3-2

Overall Record: 76-53 (1-game behind the Angels)

New York Mets (Game 1 recap, Game 2 recap)

Coming off of the previous week’s fiasco, Scott Kazmir came to the mound on Tuesday night and did his part to stop the Athletics’ five game slide. With a little help from Coco Crisp going 2-5 and Josh Reddick hit a 2-run homer and the team go their first win in a week.

Wednesday night did not go quite as well, as Jeff Samardzija had a terrible night and didn’t even make it out of the fourth inning. This left the A’s with a disappointing split of the two-game series with the Mets.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Game 1 recap, Game 2 recap)

The Angels came into the O.Co Coliseum on Friday night with a two game lead in the division. Sonny Gray took the ball for the green and gold and pitched magnificently. He struck out five and walked two over 8.1 innings, giving up solo homers to Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton. Hamilton was the last batter Gray faced in the ninth and drew the walk. He came around to score after two straight hits given up by Sean Doolittle. The A’s lumber saved the day, though. Coco offered a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first and would score again in the bottom of the fifth on an Erick Aybar throwing error. Sam Fuld hit a go-ahead RBI triple to bring Alberto Callaspo home in sixth and would come home himself on a Parrino sac fly. Stephen Vogt hit a solo dinger of his own in the eighth.

Saturday night’s game showed the value of John Lester, who pitched seven strong innings of one run ball and racking up 7 strikeouts in the process. It was a good thing that Lester was on, since the bats were nowhere to be found. The winning run came on a wild pitch by Joe Smith which allowed Coco Crisp to score. Just goes to show, give Coco an inch and he’ll take 90 feet, and that’s all it took to be tied atop the division once more.

However, their time atop the standings was short lived and the Athletics dropped the final game of the series. After pitching beautifully on Tuesday, Kazmir got roughed up badly and only finished three innings on Sunday. It was the second time in this turn of the rotation that an A’s starter gave up 7 runs and didn’t make it through the fourth. How weird is that?

 

The Week Ahead

The Athletics go on the road to Houston for a three game series before heading to Anaheim to play four more against the Angels. It’s going to be a stressful week, but the team will have a great opportunity to control its own destiny and finish the month off strong. Every game against the Angels and Mariners from this point forward is going to be playoff baseball, and as much as I’d love the A’s to be running away with the division, it’s hard to argue with playoff caliber games being played in August.

It’s gonna be a wild ride! Let’s Go Oak-Land!!

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