The lineups for the A’s-Orioles series finale:
A’s: Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, Allen 1B, Sweeney RF, Pennington SS, Suzuki C, Sizemore 3B; McCarthy RHP.
O’s: Andino 2B, Hardy SS, Markakis RF, Jones CF, Vlad DH, Reynolds 1B, Reimold LF, Bell 3B, Tatum C; Simon RHP.
–The daily storyline with the A’s is whether Brandon Allen remains in the lineup once Conor Jackson is back from a neck injury. It seems clear that Allen has to keep playing based on how he’s performed so far, and judging from manager Bob Melvin’s praise of Allen, I’d expect him to keep getting at-bats even when Jackson is healthy. “We’ll see how it goes,” Melvin said. “There will be some days off for Allen too against left-handers. But he’s doing a nice job right now and deserves some at-bats.” Melvin said he values Jackson’s bat against lefties, and Toronto will start three lefties over the next four games against Oakland starting Thursday. But Allen also has impressed against lefties, showing he can take the ball the other way. And it’s possible we could see Jackson and Allen in the lineup at the same time if Josh Willingham needs a day off — expect to see Jackson in left field and Allen at first in that situation.
With the way Allen is playing — offensively and defensively — it’s tough to imagine how his stock fell in the eyes of the Diamondbacks. It shows you that a change of scenery can work wonders for a guy. But it’s still a very small sample size with Allen, so temper that enthusiasm just a bit.