By Joe Stiglich
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 at 9:53 am in 2011 regular season.
Afternoon ball at Yankee Stadium today … The A’s don’t get many Saturday ‘day’ games on the road, as lots of teams like playing their Saturday contests at night. Maybe the earlier start is advantageous for the A’s. The quicker they flush out Friday night’s blowout loss, the better.
A’s manager Bob Melvin acknowledged this morning that this 11-game losing streak to the Yankees is probably taking a mental toll on his team. “Typically, when you’ve lost that many games, you can’t help but think about it,” Melvin said. “Every game you don’t win, the questions arise, and you have to think about having answers for them.”
–With Coco Crisp getting a day off, Cliff Pennington is hitting second. Hideki Matsui is back in the No. 3 spot and Josh Willingham is hitting cleanup. Melvin says he flip-flopped his 3-4 combo to keep the left/right variation throughout the batting order.
–Joey Devine’s brief but eventful outing last night was all over the highlights shows, thanks to his wayward pitch that went behind Brandon Laird. Both Devine and Melvin maintain that Devine’s primary problem Friday was the constant sweat he had on his hands that kept him from getting a good grip on the ball. “Every throw it was sweat dripping down to the finger tips,” Devine said.
That’s potentially a problem, since pitching in humid weather is a fact of life for major leaguers, especially on the East Coast. “Hopefully I can make an adjustment and get back out there and have a better outing,” Devine said. As part of that adjustment, he’s wearing a lotion on his arm today called Sweat Shield, which is supposed to close his pores and make him sweat less. Melvin said he wouldn’t hesitate to go back to Devine as his regular seventh-inning reliever, but Melvin also said: “Everybody is pitching in the same conditions, so he’s going to have to find ways to combat that.”
The A’s are having a hard enough time handling the Yankees. They don’t need perspiration working against them too …
A’s – Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, DeJesus RF, Sizemore 3B, Sweeney CF, Jackson 1B, Powell C; Harden RHP.
Yankees – Gardner LF, Jeter SS, Granderson CF, Teixeira 1B, Cano DH, Swisher RF, Martin C, Nunez 2B, Laird 3B; Burnett RHP.