With 10 games left in their abbreviated 2020 MLB regular season, the A’s (31-19) hold a six-game lead over the Astros. Oakland’s magic number is two to make the postseason and four to become AL West division winners.
A lot has happened both on and off the field during the A’s eight-game road trip. Here is what you need to know.
After winning the Astros series 4-1 at home, Oakland split every series they played on the road: Texas (2-2), Seattle (1-1) and finally Colorado (1-1).
Liam Hendriks said it was the most traveling he has ever done in three days. The A’s played four games in three days against the Rangers, then played a doubleheader Monday in Seattle before jetting to Colorado to play eight games in three states over seven days.
After an off day on Thursday, the A’s start the three-game Battle of the Bay Friday in Oakland. The San Francisco series will end Sunday and the A’s will have two days off before they visit the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of threeteams in baseball to have clinched postseason spots for 2020 and also hold the best record in baseball at 36-15. The A’s will finish the season against Seattle in a four-game series home series, and the A’s should clinch a postseason spot at any time during the next three series.
Hendriks doesn’t care where they clinch it and is sad fans can’t be in the stands to enjoy it, if they do clinch it in Oakland:
“I just like a clinch. I don’t care if it is home or on the road, unfortunately there are no fans there… but it is what it is. I am not going to count my chickens before they roost so we are going to get over these next couple games and hopefully it comes to fruition but all we have to do is go out there and keep winning games and it will come but that is all we have to do. Take care of business ourselves and let the eggs fall where they lie.”
Chapman out for the season
Matt Chapman is out for the season after hip surgery Monday. This is a huge blow for the A’s, who rely on the platinum glove third baseman defensively and at the plate. Stephen Piscotty is feeling better after a cortizone shot in his right wrist and is expected to play soon and will not be placed on IL.
The A’s also acquired Jake Lamb from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who has been nothing but great for the A’s both offensively and defensively. The bullpen makes a “baaah” noice mimicking a lamb every time Lamb gets a hit, which has already been five in his three games with the A’s which is the total number of hits he had all season with the Diamondbacks prior to coming to the A’s. Lamb has had split time at third with Machin; Lamb has been playing third mainly against left-handed pitchers.
New faces add depth
Mike Minor was acquired from the Texas Rangers to add depth to the A’s bullpen going into the postseason with so many games in such a short period of time. The A’s also called up Daulton Jefferies, who made his MLB debut in Texas but couldn’t get through the second inning when he allowed all five of the Rangers runs in the first inning. Jeffries nerves may have got to him but the A’s aren’t concerned about his next start. Minor won his first game with Oakland in Seattle, his first win of 2020, and will start the first game against the Dodgers Tuesday.
Tommy La Stella was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels and he has been impactful with his time with the A’s. La Stella has been leading off majority of the time and has contributed in every game either at the plate as the designated hitter or helping out in the infield, wherever he is, he makes an impact.
When the A’s played in Seattle the air quality was not great but the games continued. The San Francisco Giants were able to move their series against the Mariners to San Francisco.
Hendriks spoke about the MLB starting to talk about air regulations now that it has become a problem:
“It [Seattle’s air quality] wasn’t great, it was tough to breathe a little bit. I am happy they are starting to talk about regulations on it because that is something that is necessary in this day in age between global warming and the fires that are coming through to make sure we handle everything we can and make sure not only the players are playing safely but also families and fans, when fans come back to games. You don’t want fans there when the AQI or UQI or whatever is called there is above 200. I don’t know what the limit is going to be at but any time it gets to that purple which is 200 you don’t want people outside for a long period of time.”
The Giants have turned their season around after a dismal start in the shortened 2020 season. They are fighting for the last spot in the National League Wild Card. Both teams need wins and the A’s are looking to clinch. The Battle of the Bay will truly be a battle, as will every series from here on out.