Series Three: Angels

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As @ Angels

The opponent: The Angels

The Results:

  1. A’s: 9 @ Angels: 13
  2. A’s: 7 @ Angels: 3
  3. A’s: 1 @ Angels: 6

What happened?

Game 1: So much right, then so much wrong, then so much right again, and ultimately so much wrong… Home runs for everyone, thanks Bridwell! Then Gossett comes back down to earth… But then more home runs! And then the error … live by the sword (aka Matt Chapman’s amazing arm and defense) and die by the sword… also, he’s been making so many plays period, he was bound to make a mistake (and he is still young). Treinen giving up the home run didn’t help obviously, but that goes back to the bullpen being overused (not Melvin’s fault of course, when his starters can’t consistently get to, let alone out of, the 5th, whats he supposed to do…). All in all a very disappointing game - hopefully they can hang onto the good and leave the bad, but as a fan this is one that will stick in the craw awhile.

Game 2: Another strong outing from Triggs, went a little deeper this time, and only gave up 2 runs, so thats a nice surprise! Jed Lowrie looks locked in at the plate right now, home runs in consecutive games! I thought that the A’s were using their bullpen alot, but Sciosia and the Angels are showcasing what it REALLY looks like to rely on your bullpen to an obscene level… There doesn’t appear to be any ‘hangover’ from the game last night, and Triggs made Trout look downright pedestrian, even got him to hit into a double play! Once again, the offense feels more like taking advantage of mistakes - which is very good for sure - rather than the offense imposing its will. With that said, the A’s did take a lot of walks, and score several of them late for ‘insurance’ runs… Blake Treinen with a 2 inning save!

Game 3: Ohtani was oh so close to perfection (well not really THAT close, but way closer than most, and close enough to use that terrible pun…) - 6 1/3 innings of perfect baseball. It will be interesting to see if he pitches as well against anyone else since he’s only pitched against Oakland so far. Not much to say in this one, a lot of ineffectual at-bats against Ohtani, a few chances to threaten late that came to nothing, and Graveman continues to pitch to an ~9.00 ERA… does he have any options left? Can he be sent down to AAA to figure things out, or do we have to keep forfeiting 1 out of every 5 games to him figuring things out this season…

What do we know?

Graveman is severely dragging the rotation down, but Manaea and Triggs are looking very solid, and Mengden/Gossett are still question marks to me. The bullpen is doing yeoman’s work, and the offense isn’t doing enough to cover for the spotty starting pitching.

Who’s Next?

The A’s continue traveling to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers #BeatLA.

A's @ Dodgers

Series Two: Rangers

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As VS Rangers

The opponent: The Texas Rangers

The Results:

  1. A’s: 3 vs Rangers: 1
  2. A’s: 1 vs Rangers: 4
  3. A’s: 6 vs Rangers: 2
  4. A’s: 3 vs Rangers: 6

What happened?

Game 1: Triggs threw a lot of pitches, but only gave up 1 run, and lasted long enough to qualify for a win. Another long ball from Matt Chapman, strong defense as well, and a Jed Lowrie (patent pending) double. Still a mixed bag in the outfield, especially from Piscotty. Bullpen seemed pretty strong, a couple of innings for Treinen. Bartolo Colon continues to just be one cool dude.

Game 2: Bullpen again was impressive, shutting down the Rangers once they took over, but Kendall Graveman was equally disappointing… giving up 4 runs in 5 innings and actually LOWERING his ERA (slightly)… Offense again showing signs of rallying but not coming up with the necessary key hit. Also, Chad Pinder OWNS Cole Hamels!

Game 3: Another great start for Manaea, and this time the offense gave him some run support. Speaking of run support, finally some big hits to drive in runs! Great defensive plays by Olson and Chapman (of course). The addition of Dallas Braden to the A’s broadcast crew has been a surprisingly effective and nice addition. Braden can be a loud and potentially abrasive personality, but so far he has fit in very well ‘between’ Glen and Ray. He provides some ballast against Ray falling back on old baseball cliche’s and old stories he’s told many times (don’t get me wrong, I love him, he’s my homer/old timer after all), and also seems to be able to match (and sometimes exceed) Glen’s energy. A very good fit so far!

Game 4: The offense keeps getting hits, but not the key hit they need to bust open an inning, however Jed “Doubles” Lowrie looks like he is back! Mengden actually pitched well, with only one rough inning and that likely due to losing his rhythm after getting hit in the foot. Definitely impressed that he stayed in, and that he then recovered and pitched well the rest of the way.

What do we know?

Sean Manaea definitely looks like the ace of the staff, and the bullpen is shouldering a lot of the load right now which is almost certainly unsustainable. The defense feels like its stabilizing, but the Matts on the corners (Chapman and Olson) are definitely there already. Behind the plate Lucroy is VERY impressive throwing out runners all over the place. The offense is getting plenty of hits, but keeps coming up one or two hits short of breaking through.

Who’s Next?

The A’s travel to Anaheim to play the Angels for the first road trip of the season.

A's @ Angels

Series One: Angels

The idea is to write a quick post after each series the Oakland A’s play this season. Mostly anecdotal thoughts, probably some statistics tossed in because I probably just can’t help myself.

As VS Angels

The opponent: The Anaheim Angels (I refuse to call them ‘Los Angeles’ anything… their stadium is in ORANGE COUNTY)

The Results:

  1. A’s: 6 vs Angels: 5 - in 11 innings
  2. A’s: 1 vs Angels: 2
  3. A’s: 3 vs Angels: 8
  4. A’s: 4 vs Angels: 7

What happened?

The starting pitching hasn’t gotten off to a strong start, only once going past the 5th inning (Sean Manaea: 7.2 innings) and Daniel Gossett didn’t even make it out of the 4th. To add insult to injury, Manaea’s strong outing went for not and he took the loss. Also, I haven’t figured out the stats yet, but it has seemed like the bullpen has let a decent number of its inherited runners score, although most of the bullpen hasn’t allowed any runs of their own yet.

The offense has shown some early signs of being able to threaten, especially late in games when trailing, which bodes well for at the very least some potentially dramatic games. However its not a recipe for winning baseball and I think ends up feeling more frustrating as a fan rather than exciting (at least personally). The power hitters have each gone deep once (Olson, Chapman, and Davis) which is nice to see, especially since Chapman and Olson are youngsters coming off of some impressive displays late last season (Olson most of all). At this point I think Khris Davis has earned the expectation of hitting ~40 homers, but its still nice to see him get started early.

Defensively the team committed 3 errors, leading to 2 unearned runs. The 3 errors does tie them for third most in the league, but again its early and they’re tied with 7 other teams. On the positive side, Chapman and Olson have made some exceptional plays (although some of Chapman’s throws have looked suspect to my eye, with Olson bailing him out…). On the negative side Khris Davis dropped a ball in today’s series finale that allowed a key rally to get going and Stephen Piscotty misplayed a ball in this series that similarly started a rally. The play by Davis today wasn’t ruled an error, but a better play changes an awful lot, and he DID get his glove on the ball. There was also a miscommunication on a shallow fly ball amongst Jed Lowrie, Boog Powell, and Marcus Semien that allowed a ball to land for a hit which probaly should’ve been an out.

What do we know?

Not a whole lot yet obviously as we’re only 4 games into a 162 game series and haven’t made it all the way through the rotation even once yet. But even in only four games, the things most likely to be concerns certainly looked like it, and the things expected to be positives were as well:

  • The starting rotation is shaky at best…
  • The defense is a question mark - great potential at the corners, concerns in the outfield…
  • The offense has some pop and seems to be stringing rallies together late, but can it be consistent enough to win games?

Who’s Next?

The A’s host the Texas Rangers for a 4 game series.

As VS Rangers

9/11 Memorial

Engine 154

Its hard to believe its been 15 years. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to be able to take a vacation to NYC. Amongst the fun things about that trip were getting to watch UK win the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship from the official UK Alum bar, hanging out with my younger brothers Matthew and Daniel (Matthew lived there while attending college at the time), but definitely one of the most special and important parts of the trip was getting to visit the 9/11 Memorial.

These are a few of the photos from that experience. It was beautiful, touching, and difficult at the same time. There are more photos, some even including me and Lindsey, but I can’t share any of them because I look like I’m about to throw up. Because I was.

Earlier that day we had taken a ferry to Ellis Island, and on the ferry I ate a hot dog. That would be the last thing I could keep down for the entire day. Rather than doing any additional exploring we just hung out in Matthew’s dorm room and I was miserable. But that evening, when it came time to catch the subway and go to the memorial - our tickets were reservations for a specific time, I’m not sure if thats still how its done or not - there was no way I was going to miss out on the opportunity.

We walked to the subway station, and I managed to hold it together - barely - until our train arrived. However, as passengers streamed off the train, and I moved towards it to board… I have a vivid memory of a number of different shoes as I lost the Sprite and crackers, which was all I’d been brave enough to eat, all over those shoes. It was bad enough that a nurse getting off the train came over to check on me and suggested I go to the hospital (I’m pretty sure she thought I was drunk and had alcohol poisoning), but nothing was going to stop me from visiting the memorial.

Even with all the construction going on around the memorial, including the museum which wouldn’t be open for another two years, it was a beautiful place of remembrance. I’m glad that as sick as I was, I had the opportunity to visit, honor, and remember the sacrifices made and the innocent lost.

The Next Chapter

Friday August 5th, 2016 marked the end of a chapter in my life. A chapter that had lasted over 10 years, roughly one third of my life, and one that I frankly didn’t expect to come to an end any time soon. To say that I’m excited for the next chapter would be… disingenous at best. Confused, frustrated, terrified, and uncertain would all be more accurate.

The truth is I have no idea what’s next, but I do know that God has a plan for me. When I need to be reminded (which seems to happen all too often lately) all I have to do is look over my shoulder at the path I’ve taken to even get where I am now:

From Stockton, CA -> Alexandria, VA -> Louisville, KY -> Georgetown, IN -> Elk Grove, CA -> Capital Christian HS -> FBC Elk Grove -> Hume Lake -> Laguna Creek HS -> Franklin Public Library -> Sac State -> Best Buy -> Apple

All of those steps across the country and back again, some that I had a direct say in, some that I didn’t, and all of those changes to and from different schools and jobs, led and contributed to me being where and who I am today. And where I am today is good:

  • I have a beautiful, confident, strong wife
  • I have two beautiful daughters
  • I have a home where my family can feel safe and secure
  • I have a mom and dad who love me, support me, and who are a regular part of my daughters’ lives
  • I have an extra, BONUS mom and dad who ALSO love me, support me, and who are a regular part of my daughters’ lives
  • I have friends, family, and a church that love me and have been there for me and my family in some of the toughest, darkest times we’ve faced

Clearly God’s plan so far has been a good one, one meant to protect me and give me more than I could ever deserve of the things that truly matter. So even though I have no idea what the next chapter of that plan looks like, I know that it will ultimately be a good one.