Oakland hopes to extend fun in visit to Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh and Oakland had not met since 2016, but the A's probably could use a couple more cracks at the host Pirates considering the way the opener of their weekend series went.
Oakland broke a six-game losing streak Friday with a 14-1 win behind 16 hits after entering the game with an anemic .237 team batting average. Even worse, the A's had not only lost the first six games of this nine-game road trip, but they also had scored only 15 runs and hit .167 in those six games.
Catcher Josh Phegley played the hero Friday with a career-high eight RBIs on a homer, two bases-clearing doubles and an RBI single.
"Give them credit. They didn't miss balls that we left up in the zone," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said of the A's.
Oakland recalled switch-hitting outfielder and touted prospect Skye Bolt on Friday. He made his debut as a pinch hitter and defensive substitute. He was 0-for-2 with a strikeout, but he wasn't exactly needed.
On Saturday, Oakland right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-0, 0.75 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh righty Trevor Williams (1-1, 3.38 ERA).
Bassitt, who has never faced the Pirates, has been a bright spot for the A's since he was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on April 17. Over two starts, he has given up one run and five hits in 12 innings.
Last Sunday, Bassitt allowed three hits -- including a leadoff homer -- and one run in seven innings, with nine strikeouts and a walk, in a 5-4, 11-inning Oakland loss at Toronto.
"It was pretty good," Bassitt said of that start. "Still some things to work on. My cutter was pretty bad, but I kind of masked it with my changeup, which I don't really think I've thrown that many times in my life. But overall, I feel like (it) was the first day I was able to throw 100 pitches and kind of let everything go. Before, I was on a pitch count, inning count."
He's well aware that before Friday's cathartic game, he had been more the exception than the norm the past week-plus as a player on the team going strong while many others struggled.
"Usually you'll have one pitcher or one hitter or whatever going bad," Bassitt said. "But, unfortunately, we're kind of all hitting it at the same time. I guess it's unfortunate but fortunate -- get it all out of the way and then turn it on.
"But we just need to relax, stay the course. Our hitters are obviously going to put up a ton of runs this year for us, so it's not that big of a deal for us. Just get through this and don't make it incredibly bad. Don't make the waves, just ride them."
Williams was riding quite the wave with five quality starts before Sunday, when he gave up five run in six innings and got a no-decision in Pittsburgh's 7-6 road defeat against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Williams had a four-run lead through two innings before the Dodgers tied it against him in the fifth.
"It's tough," Williams said. "The guys gave me a chance to win, the chance to be a stopper, and I let them down by not putting my foot down. This one's going to sting."
That start also stood out for the run support Williams got. His record has been blunted by just 16 runs of support.
He will be facing Oakland for the first time.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 4, 2019