23 Oct oakland a's opening night 2020
After their earlier miscue in the 7th, the Matts showed why they’re multiple-time Gold Glove and Fielding Bible winners.
The A’s won the AL West division title for the first time since 2013, but had to play in the new best-of-three Wild Card Round in the expanded playoff bracket. On a trip to Seattle, the air quality registered over 200 AQI (very unhealthy) but the A’s and Mariners played two anyway.
With wildfires raging all over the West Coast this summer, it wasn’t unusual for smoke to fill the air in various regions. The 2020 season was a weird one in a lot of ways, but …
For the first time since 2006, they won a playoff series and advanced to another round.
He was nearly the goat of this game, though. It was the fifth Opening Day walk-off in A’s history and the first homer, and overall it was their eighth walk-off grand slam (via info manager Mike Selleck). They don’t get to extras without him, and very possibly get shut out in regulation.
No other team in franchise history had ever hit two of those in one year, and this 2020 crew hurried up and crammed two into their first 11 games. On top of all that, Laureano also drew a walk in the 6th, and reached base in the critical 10th inning via a HBP — the latter free pass didn’t help score the winning run at all, but at least it was the absence of an out at a key moment. Just a bad hop, even if maybe there could have been a chance to overcome it. For the first time this season, the A’s had a lead. It didn’t work.
Looking back on a fun season amid a tough year. Then in the bottom half, facing lefty reliever Hoby Milner with the bases full, he unloaded a 427-foot drive deep into the right-field seats. Yusmeiro Petit and T.J. McFarland breezed through quick innings, and Soria effectively retired four straight batters in his frame due to Chapman’s error. The throw was low and took a hop but Chapman corralled it, and the A’s were able to tag out Ohtani without letting the batter-runner advance to second. Those weren’t even their most exciting late-inning moments. He loaded the bases in the 1st but got out of it, settled down for a quick 2nd and 3rd, and then got a bit wild in the 4th with a couple walks but kept the damage to just one run.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) October 10, 2020. Smith’s first batter poked a grounder toward Olson, but instead of taking the easy out at first, Olson went big.
Joakim Soria pitched the 7th inning, and he got his first batter to hit a grounder right at Chapman, who played it deep as usual and prepared to unleash his cannon arm across to first base. Fortunately, Hendriks bore down and fanned Ohtani on three pitches, ending the threat and preserving the tie. It wasn’t a long outing, but that wasn’t a surprise as starters around the league are still getting stretched out after the shortened preseason.
Friday also brought the return of a former Athletic. The very next day against the Giants, the A’s trailed by three in the 9th but came back to win again. The lineup continued to come up empty to begin Friday, going down in order in the first three innings against Angels starter Andrew Heaney. Then there was the doubleheader that got called off because of smoke in the air ... oh wait, never mind, they played through that for some reason. Olson destroyed the very first pitch he saw, depositing it into the RF bleachers among the cardboard cutouts of some of the team’s famously dedicated diehard fans. The Oakland A's made history on Opening Day, as they were part of the first extra inning game to … There were multiple heroes for Oakland throughout the night, but Olson came up huge in the 10th on both sides of the ball. To that end, you can see their Opening Day roster, and the rosters of all four AL West division rivals, who account for two-thirds of the A’s 60-game schedule.
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