The A’s are approaching the finish line to a dreary August that’s seen them win just eight times in 23 games thus far.
Not that there’s any way to spin a bright side here, but it’s interesting to note that eight of their 15 losses in the month have been by two or fewer runs. Ten of those 15 have been by three runs or fewer.
The A’s always manage to stay within striking distance, but they’ve been hurt this month by a lack of offense, and that issue surfaced again in Friday’s 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Oakland mustered just one hit over the final five innings and couldn’t take advantage of an unproven rookie starter in the Cards’ Luke Weaver.
For the month, the A’s are averaging just 3.57 runs per game, and they entered Friday tied with the Los Angeles Angels for fewest runs scored in the majors in August …
—Designated hitter Billy Butler could return to the active roster as soon as Monday, according to an mlb.com report coming out of St. Louis. Butler is on the seven-day concussion list, and Monday is the first day he’s eligible to return. He took batting practice Friday and was scheduled to undergo concussion protocol tests this weekend in St. Louis to gauge his readiness after he was injured in a clubhouse fight with teammate Danny Valencia.
— Catcher Josh Phegley continues to experience problems working his way back from right knee surgery. A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Friday’s game that Phegley’s knee “blew up a little on him,” mlb.com reported, and he's got more swelling in his knee. He was expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday but that’s now on hold.
—Triple-A Nashville right-hander Jharel Cotton got back on track after a rough start his last time out, throwing seven innings of two-run ball as the Sounds beat Memphis 5-3 to clinch a division title and earn a berth in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Cotton has received mention as a September call-up candidate for the A’s.