Another day, another sign of Bob Melvin putting his stamp on the A’s. Here’s the lineups …
A’s – Crisp CF, Pennington SS, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, Jackson RF, Sizemore 3B, Suzuki C, Barton 1B, Weeks 2B; Gonzalez LHP.
White Sox – Lillibridge LF, Ramirez SS, Quentin RF, Konerko 1B, Rios CF, Dunn DH, Castro C, Beckham 2B, Morel 3B; Danks LHP.
Melvin said he’s using this four-game series against Chicago to experiment with personnel, and he told players that by the start of the homestand, they’ll have a pretty good understanding of where they fit in the playing rotation. One thing that’s already determined: Melvin wants Hideki Matsui batting third and plans to keep him there for a while.
“If you keep running guys in and out of (the third spot), or even guys that aren’t playing everyday, I think psychologically it might play into, ‘Well, maybe we’re not as good offensively as we think we are,’ Melvin said. “I’d like to have a little more of a set lineup, especially in the middle, and rely on those guys and have confidence in those guys.”
And what is it about Matsui (and his .222 batting average) that Melvin likes in the third spot? “He’s a veteran, you know, a guy we need to lean on, and he’s had two very good games,” Melvin said. “It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen every day, but I feel good with a guy like him hitting in that spot.”
It’s early to draw conclusions, but Matsui does seem energized since Melvin took over from Bob Geren. And it’s clear that Melvin is a believer that instilling confidence in a player has a direct effect on performance. He said he plans to work backup catcher Landon Powell into the mix more, in order to keep Kurt Suzuki fresh but also to utilize Powell’s talents. “I want everyone to be a part of it,” Melvin said. “This is certainly a 25-man roster and everybody feeling good and being a part of it is much more powerful than 17 guys, or whatever it may be.”
–David DeJesus is sitting for the second straight day. Melvin said DeJesus will start Sunday but added that the right field spot will be the toughest to divide up playing time between DeJesus, Conor Jackson and Ryan Sweeney.