Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Happy Monday Blog!
What a game that we saw last night. We saw a really low scoring game with great pitching from both teams. The Rays won 2-1 to take game one. We saw Snell give up an HR in the first inning and then go 5 strong. The pen came in and blanked the Astros offense. The Tampa offense was carried by a 413ft bomb from none other than Randy Arozarena, followed up by a clutch hit by Mike Zunino to give them the lead. The Astros also had strong pitching from starter Framber Valdez going 6 strong giving up the 2ER and stinking out 8 and walking 4. Then the pen was then good enough to finish the game without giving up any more runs. The offense could not get it going leaving 10 on base. 8 of those were in scoring position so great job to the Rays pen for working out of danger.
It's time to look back at every team from around the MLB and what they each showed us during the 60 game sprint! We are going to explore a few things for each team: Review in-season transactions, what we learned, what we loved, what we didn't love, the most significant need(s), and lastly, the biggest takeaways. Let's jump over the AL with the Oakland Athletics today. I have already talked about San Diego in yesterday's piece in can be found one post below this one on the site's home page. All other posts are down below that, happy binging.
What moves got the A's as far as they did?
Los Angeles Angels traded 2B Tommy La Stella to Oakland Athletics for 2B Franklin Barreto. The A's trade for La Stella paid them off as La Stella had an incredibly consistent year between the Halo's and the A's, and he offered roster flexibility and helped fill 3B once Chapman went down. I didn't love that Barreto was traded as he looked to be the long term option at 2B while he was under team control. La Stella will be great to have, especially if and when Semien moves on.
Texas Rangers traded LHP Mike Minor and cash to Oakland Athletics for Player To Be Named Later, Player To Be Named Later, and Future Considerations. Rangers acquired Dustin Harris and Marcus Smith to complete the deal. I was not surprised to see the A's get a rental piece on the cheap. They needed the rotation piece, and Minor played below Texas expectations and traded for parts that may help them in a couple of years.
Oakland Athletics signed free agent 3B Jake Lamb. This one ended up in the A's favor as Lamb showed well in his time in Oakland. You can't replace Matt Champman offensively or defensively, but they helped the A's down the stretch between La Stella and Lamb.
What did we learn from 60 games? We learned that the A's system works year in and year out, no matter the circumstances. We knew that you could win many games with a lot of home runs and league average pitching. We learned that Kris Davis maybe isn't "Krush" Davis as much anymore after two down seasons. We learned that Matt Chapman is human and can make errors. We learned the Semien was a late bloomer and pretty dang good SS with a future at 2B for his next team. We saw more great rebound performances from the bullpen who was consistently tough as nails to get runs up against. We learned that when you don't pay for pitching, that can hurt you in the playoffs.
What did we love about the 2020 A's? I loved how great the bullpen was! I loved how they gave a chance to Fiers and Luzardo to take the top of the rotation over Manaea, and they did not disappoint. We all enjoyed seeing more great defense all around the field from all positions. We all loved how many home runs they hit! Most of all, we love that the A's won the division over the Astro's!
What did we not love? We did not like Chapman getting hurt one bit. I feel him being gone down the stretch and into the playoffs hurt the team as a whole. We did not love seeing the A's lose to the Astro's in the ALDS, getting outscored 33-20.
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What do the A's need going into 2021? As with every year, we want to see the A's spend to keep their talent. They did that with Khris Davis, and it hasn't worked out so far. For me, I would love to see Semien return on a deal that doesn't break the bank, but we all know that won't happen. Semien is in his prime and has shown he is a top tier SS in the MLB. We will also need the club to retain some of the team's pitching talents that got them this far. Honestly, after the winter meetings and spring training, we will be talking about all the questions repeatedly and getting proved wrong. They have been doing it at a high level for years; let's not do that in 2021. I would love to see some small extensions to guys like Bassitt, Diekman, Hendricks, Petit, Soria, and Trivino among pitchers who should be retained.
What was the biggest takeaway of 2020 for the A's? Keep the process going, keep hitting home runs, turning nobodies into somebodies, support the team above average everywhere, and keep winning. I am also taking away my doubt about this team. Until there are significant changes in the front office or clubhouse, I don't think I will waiver on the A's being in contention.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing the winners as much as I have. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.