Life has been tough for the Athletics in the second half, having lost seven of their last eight and 17 of 24 entering today’s game against the Astros. Up as many as six games in first place in the AL West, they sat six games back of the Angels going into Saturday. The flashy trades for Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester haven’t paid dividends in the way GM Billy Beane anticipated.
Perhaps Saturday’s win, in which they erased a two-run deficit to walk off winners in the bottom of the ninth inning, is what they need to turn their season around. Starter Scott Kazmir no-hit the Astros through the first five innings, but faltered in the sixth, allowing a two-run single to Jose Altuve. The Astros tacked on another run in the seventh to make it 3-1.
Starter Scott Feldman took the hill in the bottom of the ninth to attempt a complete game win and send the A’s to yet another loss, but Josh Donaldson led off with a single. After Adam Dunn lined out, Derek Norris added a single of his own, sending Donaldson to third base. Closer Chad Qualls entered to attempt to put out the fire, but Josh Reddick belted a double to center field to tie the game at 3-3. Shortly thereafter, Jed Lowrie slapped a single into left field and a scampering Reddick narrowly beat a weak throw home by Alex Pressly, scoring the winning run.
[mlbvideo id=”36005989″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
If the A’s are able to stop the bleeding from here on out, you can bet your bottom dollar many will point to Saturday’s come-from-behind victory as a turning point.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.