This morning, in the the Bob Geren-Brian Fuentes Affair post, resident Athletics expert APBA Guy gave us a thumbnail sketch of what we can expect in Oakland for the next few months, from the front office, to the fans to the San Francisco Chronicle and everyone in between.
It’s scary because it sounds so very plausible. It’s also scary because I could totally see the Braves falling for that Coco-Crisp-is-an-idea-leadoff-man pitch. They don’t seem to care about OBP, after all. And hey: if Atlanta gets Crisp, they’ll be tied for the league lead in DUI defendants at two. Which is something.
Anyway, avert your eyes, A’s fans, because this could be your future:
The sense is that Geren has indeed lost the clubhouse, and that rumors of an impending Crisp trade (“He can too bat lead-off. Ignore that he has a .301 OBP, down 30 points from his career .331. You need CoCo Crisp.”) mean that once again, the Wolfe/Fisher/Beane cabal are throwing in the towel in May.
This endless loop horror show has been too much for even the hard core fans. Right now the Chron is just reporting the unrest, but once they turn it will be all over. And as the fans begin to digest that Fuentes is the highest paid pitcher on the payroll, and if Joey Devine can keep his early form up, Fuentes may disappear too, but that money won’t be reinvested this year, you’re going to see more unrest.
Then ultimately will come the announcement: “Regrettably, we have been unable to make the franchise viable in the Oakland market. Therefore, we have no choice but to relocate to _____ where we hope to succeed under our new manager.”
And very few will care.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.