Andy Furillo: A’s hope to regain their winning chemistry

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 5:03 AM

They laughed and joked in the corner that outfielders Sam Fuld and Khris Davis share with catcher Stephen Vogt and his backup, Josh Phegley, who wore a “Vote for Vogt” T-shirt in support of the starter.

Andy Furillo: A’s hope to regain their winning chemistry

Three hours before the game, the pleased sound of chattering baseball players filled the A’s clubhouse, and that was a good thing.

They laughed and joked in the corner that outfielders Sam Fuld and Khris Davis share with catcher Stephen Vogt and his backup, Josh Phegley, who wore a “Vote for Vogt” T-shirt in support of the starter. You didn’t wish to eavesdrop, and it'd have been challenging if you tried, over the cacophony of conversation that ran up one side of the room and down the other. The space was loud and jovial, always a excellent sign when there’s an issue if a grouping of men from all over baseball America can arrive together to become a team.

In these early days of April, a top priority for the A’s is to set up the right tone in the clubhouse. They also necessity to discover a way to avert one-run losses to the Chicago White Sox. Hopefully, they’ll fix the problems of the first two nights – a key defensive blunder, giving up two-out residence runs. At the same time, they necessity to know when to pump up the energy with each other and when to play it cool, when to thrust and when to console.

In the grouping dynamics of sport, it’s south called chemistry, and observers declare it's something the A’s lacked in two thousand fifteen.

Its absence came as an oddity, given the recent history of the franchise. Over the past seventeen mostly excellent years, the A’s achieved a mix worthy of a Nobel Prize. Who can forget the crazy residence running celebrations shared by Nick Swisher and Milton Bradley? Any team that could hold the volatile Bradley pleased had to have its ingredients right.

Stories about latest year’s chemistry problems reported that one guy might've tried too tough and another was miserable with himself when he didn’t deliver as hoped – tiny stuff, really, nothing love pouring bleach into a bucket of ammonia. The genuine problem with the A’s was the fumes of losing. They fell below .500 in their seventeenth game and for the next one hundred forty-five they didn’t rise over the label that separates winners from losers. You don’t have to be Walter White to know which of those groups is in danger of breaking bad.

“When you lose ninety-four games,” Vogt, a 2015 American League All-Star, said “you’re not going to have good chemistry.”

Vogt is in his fourth year with the A’s, which makes him a sage in the organization. Sixteen players are in their first or second year; they’ve got less time in Oakland than the folks who have flocked in from across the bay to escape the crushing rents.

Anybody can utilize a better deal on a loft, but if you spend your nights far from it playing baseball for a living with abject strangers, you could discover yourself temporarily less than comfortable. Middle fielder Coco Crisp, in his seventh year with the A’s, is the club’s senior man. He feels time is the crucial element to bring about familiarity between players, some of whom checked in just this year from Milwaukee, San Diego (two), Houston, Denver, Boston, Toronto, Chicago and Nashville.

“The previous years I was here, we were good – a bunch of youthful guys that'd been here, and they were up and coming, and we'd a excellent mix of guys,” Crisp said. “latest year was a small different because those guys that we’ve had for those four previous, five previous, years I was here, they got traded. So it changed things up.

“Sometimes chemistry can happen right away. Sometimes it takes a few years to construct up, and I think our chemistry is much better than it was last year, not because of the players that we’ve lost, but because of the time together” they’ve had.

A tiny bit of selflessness also helps. It’s simple to be selfless when you're relatively faceless, as the A’s at times have been. But even when up-and-comers from Jason Giambi to Josh Donaldson turned into some of the biggest stars in the league, they still maintained the demeanor of the everyman. With them, and without them, the A’s of the twenty-first cent have displayed a sense of fun and grouping support, while compiling a record of success.

“We haven’t always had the MVP, but we’ve had twenty-five guys who work together, who arrive to play together, who have each other’s backs,” said Eric Sogard, the second baseman on the disabled list who's No. two in tenure. “I think that’s been absolutely key to our success in the past.”

Can the A’s discover the chemistry that fueled their winning seasons and playoff appearances? You see at their roster and you quickly conclude they've number other choice. Their biggest star plays only once every five days. They’ve got some ingredients to sprinkle around that ace, Sonny Gray, and it'll be up to them to look if they can bring out the best of each other.

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