Oakland A’s Recap – April 15, 2021
Detroit Tigers vs Oakland Athletics Live Game Notes Thread
6:40 pm PDT First Pitch
5:56 pm: It’s Jackie Robinson Day, and as is customary, every ballplayer in the Major Leagues will wear #42 tonight, including here in Oakland. We especially appreciate the significance of Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy and getting the chance to report on a ballgame during this annual baseball celebration, because as a radio station KXSF is anti-hate and dedicated to social justice and closing the equity gap. I’ll be dropping in some of my favorite remembrances of Jackie’s life and career as we go along here tonight. Great April night for baseball here at the Coliseum.
Happy Jackie Robinson Day from the Oakland Coliseum. I’ll be bringing you updates from @tigers vs. @Athletics, via @KXSFradio. Great to be here and looking forward to talkin’ ball with y’all on behalf of https://t.co/FGMWuYcx9D and KXSF Sports. Thanks to the A’s for having us! pic.twitter.com/EbyrDUfsMB
— Scott Armstrong (@STApxp) April 16, 2021
6:04 pm: A storyline that simply can’t be ignored is the return of A.J. Hinch to Oakland, managing in the visitors’ dugout. Regardless of one’s feelings about the Astros’ maneuvers to help them to a world title, you have to figure that Hinch is unlikely to escape the attention of A’s fans who are on hand for this series. At least when he’s mentioned over the PA or is present on the field for any reason, it’ll likely sound in here as if Houston is the other team.
6:10 pm: Lineups have been in for a while, but until I’ve written them in my scorebook, the rest of the world gets put on hold. Here they are:
Grossman DH Canha RF
Goodrum LF Lowrie 2B
Ramos C Laureano CF
Candelario 3B Chapman 3B
Nunez 1B Olson 1B
Castro SS Murphy C
Schoop 2B Piscotty DH
Baddoo RF Andrus SS
Jones CF Kemp LF
Skubal LHP Manaea LHP
No big surprise that the Tigers’ lineup is almost all righties or switch hitters tonight against Manaea…Baddoo is the only true left-handed hitter in there.
6:30 pm: Besides fan-favorite Sean Manaea on the mound tonight for Oakland, the opposing starter is a significant local story as well. 24-year-old Tarik Skubal, a Hayward native, is facing the A’s for the first time in his career. Of course, when I think ballplayers associated with Hayward, I think Joe Morgan, who has a degree from what is now Cal State East Bay (and played college ball at what is now Laney after finishing high school at Castlemont).
6:35 pm: The A’s observed a moment of silence in honor of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old recently slain by police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, before proceeding with “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and then the national anthem.
6:43 pm: As the first inning gets going, we notice that Manaea is paying tribute to Jackie Robinson by wearing black spikes. Many A’s players are also wearing partially Dodger blue stockings.
6:49 pm: Manaea allows a single to Goodrum but nothing further in the Detroit first. Now it’s time for Skubal to take to the hill in his own backyard.
6:55 pm: Unfortunate that future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera will not be seen by fans in Oakland this weekend, as he’s on the shelf for now with a biceps injury. Surely the face of this Detroit Tigers franchise in the 21st century.
6:57 pm: A couple of men who have seen a great deal of baseball history are on the diamond tonight as well in umpires Ted Barrett and Angel Hernandez. Barrett, the crew chief and Bay Area resident, has the plate. Stu Scheurwater, who I used to see umpire in the PCL, and Jose Navas round out the crew.
7:05 pm: No score between the Tigers and A’s after 1.5 innings, and the bottom half of the second begins with Chapman putting a charge into one. However, JaCoby Jones got back to the wall and made the catch against the fence, to the right of dead center. The next two A’s also fly out and Skubal has gone six up, six down in his first outing vs. Oakland. 0-0 after 2.
7:10 pm: Having read every Jackie Robinson book I could get my hands on as a youngster, I remember a few different stories about his pre-Dodgers life. One was about the time he spent with the Montreal Royals before Branch Rickey summoned him to Brooklyn for good. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/year-jackie-robinsons-mutual-love-affair-montreal-180954878/
7:14 pm: One of the quotes I remember the most from Ken Burns’ Baseball was Red Barber recounting how Branch kept asking Jackie to “turn the other cheek” but at some point “he had no other cheek to turn.” That’s covered in this NBC Sports Jessica Kleinschmidt piece featuring A’s left fielder Tony Kemp: https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/athletics/athletics-tony-kemp-inspired-jackie-robinsons-life-mlb-impact
7:18 pm: Pleasanton-on-Hayward crime, as Stephen Piscotty homers into the left-field pavilion for his second of the year, off Tarik Skubal. 1-0 Athletics, one batter into the bottom of the third.
7:20 pm: A’s radio is discussing Roger Kahn and his seminal tome “The Boys of Summer,” about Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s. I bought that book for a Dodger fan for his birthday during the playoffs last season. I should ask him if he’s started reading it yet.
7:23 pm: Ted Barrett is one of the nicest guys in baseball, but even nice guys make mistakes. He rings up Tony Kemp on a pitch that is quite low.
7:26 pm: Of course, it shouldn’t go without mention that this is the first Jackie Robinson Day held by MLB in a world without Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Jackie in the film “42” and passed away last summer. 😕
7:27 pm: After Andrus and Kemp are both K’ed, Canha walks and Lowrie knocks a single into left, prompting a mound visit from Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter. Ramon Laureano steps in with a chance to make B3 a crooked-number inning for the Athletics.
7:29 pm: The inning extends, because Willi Castro bobbles a likely inning-ending groundout by Laureano, and now Chapman will hit with two down and the bases loaded. E6, as Castro was caught “in between” and didn’t look the ball into his glove. Possible hinge moment early in this one.
7:32 pm: End of 3: Oakland 1, Detroit 0. Stephen Piscotty’s second home run of the campaign gives the A’s the initial advantage. Tarik Skubal wiggles out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Matt Chapman to end the bottom half. Skubal ends up “striking out the side,” after a fashion.
7:40 pm: A double that lands on the right-field chalk line nets Willi Castro his second RBI of the year, scoring Jeimer Candelario, and the Tigers and A’s are tied at 1. Angel Hernandez was right on top of this call, as confirmed by video review after Bob Melvin asked them to take a look.
7:46 pm: Middle of 4: Detroit 1, Oakland 1. Candelario walks with one out, and with two out, Castro’s high pop fly to right is fair by a couple of inches to tie the game. But as @julianseth pointed out, both starting pitchers look to be on their A-game. Of Manaea’s 57 pitches, 41 have been strikes. And by no means was Castro’s double hard-hit. It just landed in a convenient place. Skubal is hitting the 70-pitch mark as I type this and he’s thrown about 40 strikes himself.
End of 4: Oakland 2, Detroit 1. Lowrie flies to the track in center, so the home team leaves ’em loaded for the second straight inning. A’s regain lead without the benefit of a hit, but again will feel it should’ve been a more profitable time at bat. Skubal’s day might be done.
— Scott Armstrong (@STApxp) April 16, 2021
7:53 pm: Olson walks to lead off B4. Then, the Coliseum crowd roars with delight, as Candelario air-mails a throw to first on Murphy’s ground ball that he fielded deep behind third. Runners at second and third, no outs, but then Piscotty whiffs. One out and Andrus is the batter.
7:55 pm: The A’s cash in the unearned run, as Andrus hits a sac fly to right and Oakland retakes the lead, 2-1. Olson scores and Murphy also tags and makes it to third. As @KenLevine always said, “The hitter who walks to lead off an inning always scores…unless he doesn’t.” Well, he did.
8:00 pm: With two out and Murphy still at third, Kemp walks, then Canha also walks. Third free pass of the inning handed out by Skubal, and pitching coach Fetter and all the infielders join him at the mound for a heart-to-heart. Bases loaded again, and Lowrie bats with a chance to bust the game open.
8:02 pm: End of 4: Oakland 2, Detroit 1. Lowrie flies to the track in center, so the home team leaves ’em loaded for the second straight inning. A’s regain lead without the benefit of a hit, but again will feel it should’ve been a more profitable time at bat. Skubal’s day might be done.
8:04 pm: Middle of 5: OAK 2, DET 1. Manaea records a 1-2-3, featuring his fifth and sixth K’s and a nice over-the-shoulder grab in short right field by Olson (we’ve had several pop flies requiring pursuit by three different fielders tonight). Fred Biletnikoff would be proud.
8:07 pm: As this reporter predicted, Tigers starter Tarik Skubal is finished for the night, succeeded on the hill by righty Buck Farmer, who has a tip-top baseball name if ever there was one. East Bay native Skubal allows two runs, only one earned, in four innings and 88 pitches.
8:12 pm: I likened Matt Olson’s catch last half-inning to a nifty reception by Raiders great Fred Biletnikoff, and here in the bottom of the fifth, he channeled some Bash Brothers energy with a tape-measure shot well up above the 388 marker in right-center. A’s 3, Tigers 1. Farmer had struck out his first two batters but he coughs up the homer on a 86 MPH change-up.
8:18 pm: End of 5: Oakland 3, Detroit 1. Matt Olson’s sweet swing puts a Buck Farmer pitch in the stands to the right of the batter’s eye, for Olson’s second HR of 2021. Sean Manaea heads back to work with a two-run lead for the first time. He has thrown 48 of 65 pitches for strikes.
8:21 pm: Manaea then throws a pitch that is too much of a strike to help his cause; the first batter of the sixth, Detroit’s Niko Goodrum, deposits that sinker into the center-field seats for his first home run of the season. A’s lead is cut in half and is now 3-2.
8:28 pm: Middle of 6: Oakland 3, Detroit 2. Niko Goodrum, who homers once every 28 plate appearances, takes Sean Manaea deep for HR #1 of his season. Manaea retires the next three men in order and has struck out seven. Joe Jimenez replaces Farmer and is the third Tiger hurler of the game.
8:31 pm: Lot of three-true-outcomes baseball by the A’s offense the past few innings against Skubal, Farmer and now Jimenez. They’ve drawn six walks against Tiger pitching so far tonight, and struck out seven times. Andrus reaches via base-on-balls to start B6, then Kemp strikes out.
8:38 pm: Back to Jackie, who is one of my favorite topics of baseball conversation any day of the year: Many know he was a four-sport star at UCLA (football, basketball, track, baseball). He once competed in a track meet and the baseball conference championship game…on the same day.
8:45 pm: Rough go for Detroit reliever Joe Jimenez, who didn’t have a strong spring, and who walks the bases full in his first regular-season appearance of the year. The A’s are rapping at the door once again, and Ramon Laureano bats with three on, one out in B6, and the A’s in front 3-2.
8:50 pm: Laureano faces Alex Lange, who inherits a mess created by his predecessor Jimenez, and keeps the theme going by walking Laureano on five pitches, the last four of them balls. Andrus scores, 4-2 A’s, bases stay full for Chapman. The paid crowd of 3,004 anticipates a breakthrough.
8:55 pm: It’s nearly midnight back in Motown. One more big hit by the A’s and a lot of televisions in Detroit and along the Upper Peninsula are likely to be switched off.
9:00 pm: And the breakthrough arrives: Chapman doubles over the head of left fielder Goodrum, bringing home Canha and Lowrie and pushing Laureano to third. 5-2 Oakland, one out in the sixth, and Olson to the plate. The Tigers finally get comeuppance for all these walks issued.
9:02 pm: It’s not a big hit, but it’s more damage: Lange walks Olson to force in another run. 6-2 A’s. A.J. Hinch comes to get the ball from Lange and bring in Tyler Alexander. I remained alert to see how many A’s fans would boo Hinch on sight, and sure enough, dozens of them did.
9:05 pm: Alexander walks Murphy for another bases-loaded RBI, 7-2 A’s. Here on press row, we wonder if we’ve ever seen this many walks by one MLB pitching staff in a single inning. I think it’s a first for me. Piscotty pops up to Nunez at first. Andrus bats for the second time this frame.
9:10 pm: End of 6: Oakland 7, Detroit 2. In their 6th, A’s batters draw six walks against three Tiger pitchers, and score four runs on one hit. Sean Manaea’s night is done; he allowed a pair of runs on five hits, striking out seven, walking none. Yusmeiro Petit takes over on the mound.
9:12 pm: Middle of 7: Oakland 7, Detroit 2. We hit the stretch after Petit goes 1-2-3 in his first inning of work. He finishes his perfect inning by striking out Akil Baddoo, which will thrill A’s fans but will disappoint my roommate named Akil, who is thinking of buying a Baddoo jersey.
9:14 pm: Tony Kemp drops a really nice bunt between the mound and first base for a leadoff hit in B7. Displaying his impressive command of baseball history, @vincebaseball is quick to point out on A’s radio that Jackie Robinson’s first big-league hit was on a bunt against Johnny Sain.
9:16 pm: After Kemp’s rebuttal of the notion that bunting is dead, Canha singles to right, then Lowrie drives in Kemp with a base hit to left. 8-2 Oakland.
9:25 pm: End of 7: Oakland 8, Detroit 2. Seven different Athletics have an RBI in this ballgame, and the home team has scored in five straight innings. J.B. Wendelken takes the hill in succession of Petit to be the third Oakland pitcher of the night.
9:36 pm: Middle of 8: Oakland 8, Detroit 2. The Tigers build a bit of a rally against Petit but strand a pair, with Candelario lining out to Chapman at third base, or as it’s known in Oakland, “the place where doubles go to die.” Tyler Alexander remains out there for DET on mop-up duty.
9:39 pm: After Murphy grounds out, and after Mitch Moreland pinch-hits for Piscotty and grounds out, Andrus fouls a ball off his back foot and hits the deck. He then drives one past the diving Goodrum in left field, and it goes up against the wall for Elvis’ third double of the year.
9:44 pm: End of 8: Oakland 8, Detroit 2. For the first time since B2, the A’s don’t score, and Sergio Romo is summoned to get the last three outs. It pleases me to say he’s still rocking the same walkout music from when he pitched across the Bay. Also, his beard’s gone, believe it or not.
9:51 pm: Nunez greets Romo rudely with a double to the left-field corner. Castro says, “Only two bases? Psh,” and he triples down the line in right to put a minor dent in the Athletics lead. Tigers are halfway to the cycle in the top of the ninth and they got the hard part out of the way.
9:52 pm: Schoop hits a sac fly to left, and the trade of an out for a run is one the A’s will gladly take. Tigers have plated two here in their final chance at bat but it’s still 8-4 Oakland and Romo needs only two more outs. Batter now is Baddoo, who’s been quiet tonight.
Do not adjust your set: A different man whose surname is Castro is now batting for Detroit, after Romo fans Baddoo for two out in the ninth. Harold Castro pinch-hits for JaCoby Jones and tries to keep the Tiger flame burning bright.
“Tyger, tyger burning bright” is really more like a flicker, but their flame is still going after Harold Castro singles off Romo. Scott Emerson heads out to the mound to discuss how to deal with Grossman, as Detroit’s two baserunners away from bringing the tying run to the plate.
9:59 pm: Final: Oakland A’s 8, Detroit Tigers 4. Romo induces a flyout to center from Grossman, and the first meeting between the Tigers and A’s since 2019 is in the books. A’s took six of seven from Detroit in that campaign, so the trend continues. We’ll have postgame comment coming up.
10:10 pm: Thanks for joining us tonight, and I for one would like to take this time to thank the A’s for their support of our “day at the ballpark” KXSF fundraiser over the years, which obviously took a hiatus in 2020. We hope to bring you more A’s coverage soon. Have a good evening!