There’s a shakeup in the batting order as the A’s go for the series victory against the Red Sox. Coco Crisp, mired in a 2 for 27 slump over his past six games, drops down to ninth with Cliff Pennington jumping up to the leadoff spot. It can’t hurt, if you ask me. Pennington is hitting .367 (18 for 49) in July, the fifth-highest average in the AL in the month (minimum 3.1 plate appearances per game). He struggled during an extended look in the leadoff role earlier this season, but he’s got the speed to make things happen if he can get on base.
“Coco has been struggling a little bit,” manager Bob Geren said. “We’ll give him a few days down at the bottom. He’s our leadoff hitter, I’m just going to give him a little break from that (until he heats up).”
–The outfield shuffle continues as Matt Watson draws a start in left field with Rajai Davis in right. Where’s Adam Rosales, some of you might be wondering? Good question. He was decent enough in what little time he’s played the outfield this season, and if the A’s really want his bat in the lineup, now is an opportunity to do it with both Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson out. Seems they prefer Rosales playing primarily against left-handers.
Speaking of Jackson, Geren says he’s 4-5 days away from “pushing it hard” to test his right hamstring. After he can run and maneuver at full speed, he’ll begin a rehab assignment. Travis Buck, recovering from his bout w/leg fatigue, will play a minimum of seven games with Triple-A Sacramento, Geren said (he’s played two so far). But I’m not sure it’s a guarantee Buck gets a call-up even when he’s healthy. It will likely depend on which outfielders are (or aren’t) producing at the time.
–With days off Thursday and Monday, the A’s have flexibility in the rotation. The starters for Sunday and Tuesday are TBA, and Geren said Brett Anderson is a possibility for Sunday against the White Sox. That depends on how Anderson and Dallas Braden both feel. As it stands, that’s the next day for both to pitch, so something will have to be altered. If one of them pitches Sunday, that means Ben Sheets will get an unusually long layoff. Time will tell …
A’s — Pennington SS, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Ellis 2B, Watson LF, Davis RF, Crisp CF; Gonzalez LHP.
Red Sox — McDonald LF, Lowrie SS, Ortiz DH, Youkilis 1B, Beltre 3B, drew RF, Cameron CF, Hall 2B, Brown C; Buchholz RHP.