BY RYAN LEONG
It’s only the second day of summer but when you’re buried in last place like the A’s are, it already feels like late August.
Their just completed four game sweep of the Yankees now seems like a mirage because the Athletics got a cruel dose of reality in their next series against the Astros. For the better part of four games, the Astros toyed with them.
First place Houston, owners of the best record in baseball, put an exclamation point on their 50th win of the season in a 12-9 blow out of the A’s in a game that was 10-0 in the second inning on a scorching hot day at the Coliseum.
Completing a four game sweep, the Astros erased any momentum and good feelings the A’s had acquired after four straight wins over the Bronx Bombers to open the home stand.
And although it wasn’t a total surprise, it was still a shock to fans and media that veteran catcher Stephen Vogt was designated for assignment on Thursday morning just hours before the first pitch.
Vogt was special because he had long paid his dues in the minors having been drafted at the age of 25 which is old for baseball. He started his MLB career with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 and was 0-for-12. In fact, Vogt didn’t get his first hit until he was traded to the A’s the following April.
One of the most popular A’s since his arrival, Vogt’s first career hit ended up being a home run. He’ll also be remembered for his game winning RBI single in Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers.
Just before the homestand began, another fan favorite was shown the door as the A’s parted ways with long-time pitching coach Curt Young who had been with the organization since the early 1980’s. Young pitched for the A’s during their run of three straight American League championships from 1988-1990, winning a World Series ring in 1989.
The A’s next travel to Chicago for a three game weekend series against the White Sox before moving on to Houston for another three games against the Astros after an off day on Monday.
Ryan Leong is a San Francisco native and covers all Bay Area sports teams as a correspondent for ESPN radio and wire services. He is a former sports anchor for KCBS and has reported on over 3,600 live games since 1998.