Sergio Santos loses his slider and A’s end their 10-game losing streak

3 Comments

It looked like it was going to be 11 in a row for the A’s, but in new manager Bob Melvin’s second game at the helm, the team’s newest acquisition came up big.

Scott Sizemore hit a three-run double in the top of the ninth to give the A’s a 7-5 lead and halt the team’s long losing streak Friday with a victory over the White Sox.

Sergio Santos blew his second save in 13 attempts for the White Sox.  The converted shortstop just couldn’t find his slider tonight.  He got two outs to begin the ninth in a 5-3 game, but he then walked Josh Willingham, who took second on fielder’s indifference.  Hideki Matsui singled him in and then Santos walked Daric Barton and hit Kurt Suzuki with a breaking ball to load the bases.

Left with nothing but his straight fastball, Santos proved hittable.  Sizemore drilled one to the gap in left-center, clearing the bases with ease.  Sizemore finished the game — his third since replacing Kevin Kouzmanoff as the team’s third baseman — 3-for-4 with a walk.  The former Tiger is 5-for-9 since his callup.

And now the A’s are on the board again, even though Graham Godfrey struggled in his major league debut, giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings.  Edwin Jackson pitched six innings of two-run ball for the White Sox, only to have the bullpen let him down. Santos has suddenly given up seven runs in his last two appearances, taking his ERA from 1.24 to 3.23.  It’s not going to cost him the closer’s role, but the White Sox are surely concerned.  For all of his velocity, he doesn’t have the fastball movement to succeed when his slider isn’t working.

Video: Bryce Harper crushes a home run to the Chase Field concourse

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.

Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.

The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.

The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Chi Chi Gonzalez to undergo Tommy John surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.

This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.

It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.