A loss, but Oakland looks ahead
If the next month unfolds as the A’s hope, Tuesday night might’ve offered a glimpse of scenarios to come.
Win their firstround playoff series at home and the A’s could be back at Dodger Stadium in two weeks for the AL Division Series. Advance further and they could see the Dodgers, owners of the majors’ best record, again in Arlington,
For now, though, a 72 loss simply gave the AL West champion A’s an upclose look at a National League force with a recent history of deep postseason runs.
The Dodgers hit four home runs, three off righthander Frankie Montas, raising their majorsleading total to 104 while locking up the NL West title. Rookie righthander
Dustin May, firing 99 mph fastballs, and five relievers held the A’s to five hits, with Robbie Grossman’s solo homer the only one to drive in a run. In a rarity, Gold Glove first baseman Matt Olson committed his first error this year, leading to an unearned run.
The A’s have yet to name a rotation for their firstround series, but right now it’s hard to see Montas as a topthree option. Over his past six starts, Montas has a 10.86 ERA in 24 innings with 10 home runs allowed. Max Muncy hit a tworun homer off Montas in the third inning Tuesday and Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock added solo shots in the fourth. Corey Seager had a firstinning RBI single off Montas and a solo homer off reliever T.J. Mcfarland.
Muncy’s homer followed a twoout bloop single by Seager that fell in front of Mark Canha, who started in center field with Ramón Laureano getting a day off. With the A’s clinching the division and a firstround home series Monday, manager Bob Melvin opted to rest Laureano and start Tommy La Stella at designated hitter to “get him off his feet.”
The A’s entered Tuesday as the No. 3 team in the AL standings, a halfgame behind the No. 2 seed White Sox. Melvin, though, said he doesn’t view playing for a higher seed as a main priority given the depth of the AL field: “I think it’s just as much trying to create a winning atmosphere and making sure everybody has the proper rest.”
“You may see days off for several guys coming up,” Melvin said pregame. “We’ll basically play it daytoday on what we feel like we need to do.”
In this most unusual season, the A’s clinched their first division title since 2013 while in their Los Angelesarea hotel Monday night and didn’t celebrate much as a group because of health protocols. Utilityman Chad Pinder said “you could hear some yells down the hallway” when the Astros lost at Seattle to seal the West. Melvin said the A’s held a meeting before Tuesday’s game to recognize the division win.
“You’ve got to celebrate these kinds of things in any way that you can,” starter
Sean Manaea said, but “I feel like we’ve got a lot more work to do and a lot more celebrating.”
Manaea, who started the wildcard loss to Tampa Bay last year, said facing the Dodgers in the final week should be a gauge for the A’s and himself — he’ll pitch Wednesday. As of Tuesday, the A’s had faced two teams with records of .500 or better this season, the Astros and Padres.
“Next time we see them might be in the World Series,” Manaea said. “They’re not an AL team, so it’s just different. But they’re just still a very, very good ballclub.”
“You may see days off for several guys coming up. We’ll basically play it daytoday on what we feel like we need to do.”
Frankie Montas reacts after giving up a tworun home run to Max Muncy. The A’s starter gave up three homers Tuesday.