I wasn’t covering last night’s A’s game, but one play stuck w/me while watching it on TV. It was a low liner (I believe Dioner Navarro hit it) with two outs in the third that center fielder Ryan Sweeney let fall in front of him for an RBI single. It was a ball I definitely thought Sweeney should have broke in on and tried to make the catch considering the situation. And it’s the sort of play people point to if they think Sweeney isn’t being aggressive enough in center field. I asked Sweeney about the play, and he said it was tough picking up balls off the bat last night. “We couldn’t see the ball very well. I was trying to judge where (Navarro’s liner was) at. They were hitting the ball pretty good. I at least should have tried to dive for it to end the inning.”
Manager Bob Geren agreed that it was a tough ball to judge off the bat.
Anyway, it was just one play in an 8-2 loss where lots went haywire, but with a team struggling like the A’s are, the subtle plays wind up doing damage.
–On to today’s pregame news, and there wasn’t much.
Nomar Garciaparra is in the lineup at third base, with Eric Chavez getting a day off as expected in a day game after a night game. You might have seen the grimace on Chavez’s face last night after he made a long throw across the diamond to first trying to get Jason Bartlett. Chavez said it wasn’t anything more serious than the occasional discomfort he still feels in his surgically repaired shoulder. “Every once in a while, I do something and it doesn’t feel very good.”
Kurt Suzuki gets a day off with Landon Powell behind the plate. And Travis Buck gets his first start in seven games with right-hander Matt Garza going for Tampa Bay.
A’s lineup: Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi 1B; Holliday LF; Cust DH; Garciaparra 3B; Buck RF; Ellis 2B; Powell C; Braden P.
Rays lineup: Upton CF; Crawford LF; Longoria 3B; Pena 1B; Burrell DH; Kapler RF; Bartlett SS; Iwamura 2B; Hernandez C; Garza P.