A's beat Astros 4-0, launch from: The Mound - To: The plate

On this day 22 years ago, the United States suffered the worst lose of life to a terrorist attack on it's soil, ever. That moment was remembered by the Astros with teams joining first responders on the 1st and 3rd baseline. After the national anthem, the teams retreated to their dugouts and “play ball”.

Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros
Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The game got going in the bottom of the 1st inning when Oakland really started lighting up the score board.  But from the mound.  The combo of Mason Miller and Ken Waldichuk tossed a 1 hit shutout. (Trevor May gave up 2 hits bottom of the 9th) and the A's winning 4-0.

Today was important to the Oakland A’s future organization; Mason Miller took the mound, starting for the first time in months.  The much-desired-to-be-healthy rookie faced off against Framber Valdez (3 ER - 10’s K).  Mason took a little while to settle in, but his 2nd inning was what Oakland fans have been dreaming of for a long time from a young Athletes Arm.   His Strikeouts were 2 swinging, one looking.  These were a Miller lunch special.  2 FB strikeouts sandwiching a slider K of Jose Abreu on an ugly swing on a biting slider that ended up way out of the zone.

Oakland fans and the front office saw exactly what they wanted to see.  Mason Miller throwing fire giving up 1 hit in 2 innings and Waldichuk writing a symphony.  6 full innings of 3 K’s - 1 BB 0 hits.  Zero. None. Nothing against the best offense in baseball. Doing it all on 67 pitches 44 for strikes.  Including 8 ground ball outs. Wally, deservedly, took the W.  Miller threw 31 pitches in his first inning which cut his night short with a pitch limit of 50. Waldichuk has given up no runs over his last 12 innings.

Wally made it his world starting in the bottom of the 3rd inning – going 1,2,3. Then came the 4th inning – he hit batter (so we knew it was him) but came out clean otherwise.  Wally had smooth throwing and good mechanics – great location on slider and changeup – which has always been his Achilles heel.  Like a realtor who had too much at the wine bar, with a chance at the mic for your Chamber of Commerce – “LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION!” Clean bottom of the 5th. In the Bottom 6th  the umpire had a missed 3rd strike call against Martin Maldonado, who then had the hardest hit ball against Wally with fly-ball to deep center. He then walked José Altuve, then K’d Pena on a change up.  In what can only be called a beautiful pitch. The type of pitch we have waiting to see from Wally.  A change-up circling down; smooth like silk.

His 7th and 8th innings were perfect, with a K, just because he wanted to throw his best breaking pitch of the night. Slider/Sweeper going 81 mph right over the heart of the plate to Chas McCormick but started out of the zone, with a late and slow bite to it like hard-cold candy; swinging. He walked away with a face like he tasted a raw lemon.  We all tasted it, Chas don’t worry.

Trevor May came on and gave up back to back hits to Altuve and Pena then allowed a 114 mph liner right to Seth Brown, who barely had to move. And then May sat down Houston like they asked permission to speak in class.

The scoring got going with a Brent Hooker 442 ft Homerun (24th) in top of 2nd.  He also decided it was time to take his 3rd Stolen Base of season in the Top 4th with 2 out, as if someone gave him the green light.

The A’s didn’t have to wait long to add an insurance run. Kevin Smith slapped a stand up double in the top 5th and then Nick Allen with a 1 out single RBI line drive to left field. Allen must understand what he has to do because Darell Hernaiz is eager to play Short Stop in the The Show.  The trouble the A’s have is a good trouble.  What do you do with Jordan Diaz, Nick Allen, Zach Gelof and Darell with only 3 spots to put them (3rd, SS, 2nd). 

It took the A’s until top of the 7th to tack on another with an  opposite field HR by Shea Langeliers, whose power makes us remember Mr. Murply but a batting average that reminds us of Mr. Mendoz.

Speaking of Mr. Gelof, he came into today with a with a K rate higher than 25% and a Whiff at 34%.  Gelof has shown everyone what he can do but the question is what can he do long term.  Is his approach sustainable? The fact he has hit 10 out of 11 HR against RH pitching is somewhat odd.  His line is sitting at 273 BA / 338 OBP / 530 SLG/ OPS 868, so we know he can see the ball well but how long until pitchers start to see him in the lineup?  He went 0-4 tonight, with 2 strikeouts. We all want him to succeed but seeing Gelof in total allows us to temper or hope for more than what we see coming soon.  Gelof is still only 23 years old; to compare to Tyler Soderstrum, who is 21 and seen 500 less plate appearances, is not fair.

News and Notes:

  • Jordan Diaz continues his struggles against the breaking ball. Back to back changeup strikeouts.

   • Noda having unusual trouble with Valdez, 3Ks but chooses to blast a 101 E-VELO HR deep right-center field to make it 4-0 top of in the 9th.

In Honor of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.