A's Tweak Bullpen
On the heels of a dominating three-game road sweep of the Cleveland Indians, the Oakland A's tweaked their bullpen, optioning left-hander Joe Savery to Triple-A Sacramento and claiming southpaw Jeff Francis off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. Francis will join the A's in Tampa on Tuesday.
Joe Savery tossed two scoreless innings for the A's on Sunday.
Once one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Francis comes to the A's with nine-plus years of major league experience and the ability to both start and relieve. Originally drafted ninth overall by the Colorado Rockies in 2002, Francis made his major-league debut in 2004, when he made seven starts for Colorado. He earned double-digit wins for the Rockies in 2005, 2006 and 2007, but his lowest ERA during those three seasons was 4.16. He posted ERAs in the fives in 2008 and 2009 and lost 16 games for the Kansas City Royals in 2011. Francis returned to Colorado in 2012 and posted a 5.58 ERA. After struggling as a starter for the Rockies in 2013, Francis moved to the bullpen midway through the season. He made 11 relief appearances that season after having made only one in his big league career up until that point.
Before this season, Francis signed with the Cincinnati Reds. He spent the entire season in Triple-A until Thursday, when Francis made a spot start during a double-header. He allowed three runs on five hits in five innings. Francis struck-out four and walked none. In eight starts with Triple-A Louisville, Francis was 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 48.2 innings. He struck-out 45, walked 12 and allowed just three homeruns.
Francis should take over the role that was handled by Drew Pomeranz for much of the season as the A's long reliever and emergency starter. Pomeranz moved into the A's rotation last week after Dan Straily was sent down to Triple-A Sacramento. Pomeranz and Francis were teammates in Colorado. Francis features a fastball that sits in the high-80s, low-90s, as well as a change-up, curveball and slider.
Savery heads back to Sacramento after a solid, but brief stint with the A's. He made three relief appearances for Oakland, and he didn't allow a run in four innings. He walked one and didn't strike-out a batter, but he allowed just three hits. Savery has a 3.86 ERA and a 14:7 K:BB in 11.2 innings for Sacramento so far this season.
To make room for Francis on the A's 40-man roster, Oakland moved infielder Jake Elmore from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list. Elmore has been on the DL all season with a strained quad. The A's also learned on Saturday that Daric Barton cleared waivers after he was designated for assignment late last week. He was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento.
A's Sweep Cleveland
Josh Donaldson has 10 homers to lead the A's.
The A's moved to 12 games over the .500 mark with a dominant three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. The A's have won nine of their last 10 games and carry a 3.5 game lead in the AL West over the Los Angeles Angels.
Despite losing starter Scott Kazmir to a controversial ejection in the second inning of game two, the A's outscored the Indians 30-6 in the three games. The A's have a 95 run differential this season to lead baseball. Oakland is at the top of the American League in runs scored, team OPS and team ERA. Derek Norris, Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, John Jaso and Yoenis Cespedes all sport OPSs above 800, while Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp each have walked more than they have struck-out. A's starters Sonny Gray (2.10 ERA), Scott Kazmir (2.39 ERA) and Jesse Chavez (2.54 ERA) all have ERAs under 3.00.
The Sacramento River Cats moved to five games over .500 with a 6-1 win over the Tacoma Rainiers on Sunday. Marcus Walden tossed seven strong innings to earn the win. He allowed a run on four hits and two walks and he struck-out four. Walden recorded 11 outs on the ground and just two in the air.
Nate Freiman, Stephen Vogt, Tyler Ladendorf and Michael Taylor each had two hits. Freiman is batting .333/.383/.615 with three homers and 14 RBI over his last 10 games. After a very slow start, Freiman has his season OPS up to 787. Shane Peterson extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 1-for-4 effort. He is batting .311/.408/.427 with seven stolen bases in seven chances and a 26:38 BB:K in 42 games for the River Cats this season.
Miles Head's big bat is back.
The Midland RockHounds have made late-game rallies a regular event lately and they did it again on Sunday. Down 2-1 in the top of the eighth, Midland scored seven runs to blow past the Corpus Christi Hooks, 8-2. Kent Matthes hit a grandslam and Miles Head had a solo homer in that big eighth inning. Head is starting to show signs of life after a disappointing 2013 and rough first month of the season. Over his last 10 games, the right-handed hitter is batting .345/.394/.655 with three homers.
Starter Nate Long put together another solid outing, allowing two runs in six innings. Both runs came on solo homeruns. Long struck-out five and walked two. He lowered his ERA to 3.38. He has a 2.84 ERA in seven starts after posting a 6.35 ERA in three relief appearances. Ryan Doolittle earned the win with two scoreless innings in relief of Long.
Matt Olson hit his Cal League-leading 11th homerun, but the Stockton Ports fell to the Bakersfield Blaze, 9-5, on Sunday. Olson also drew his league-leading 32nd walk in the game. He is batting .236/.372/.490 overall, but he has a .271/.419/.627 line in May. Chad Pinder had two hits and he has seven hits in 19 at-bats since returning from a 10-game absence due to a groin strain. Pinder is batting .333 with a 1003 OPS this season.
Seth Streich had a rare poor start in the loss. He didn't walk a batter and recorded six outs on the ground in six innings, but Streich allowed 10 hits and six runs in six innings. He struck-out five and allowed one homerun. It was only the second start all year that he has allowed more than three earned runs.
The Beloit Snappers couldn't muster any offense on Sunday, dropping a 5-0 decision to the Clinton Lumber Kings. Luis Baez and Jaycob Brugman accounted for all of the Snappers' offense, each collecting two hits. Both of Baez's hits were doubles and he is now batting .295 on the season and .459 over his last 10 games.
Bobby Wahl allowed two runs in 3.2 innings in the start. He struck-out one and didn't allow a walk. Both runs off Wahl came on a two-run homer. It was his second start back after missing nearly a month with a strained oblique.