Checking in from the Coliseum for the A’s home opener. Technically, their home opener took place at the Tokyo Dome, but this feels more like the authentic deal. And we should have a good atmosphere for it, with a sellout crowd expected. (Tomorrow night will be a different story. Expect half the turnout of what they get tonight). …
The A’s lineup took many different shapes during spring training and in the Tokyo series, and tonight brings another twist. Coco Crisp bats second with Cliff Pennington dropping down to the ninth spot. Josh Reddick is hitting third, followed by DH Jonny Gomes and Yoenis Cespedes in the fifth spot. The complete lineups:
A’s: Weeks 2B, Crisp LF, Reddick RF, Gomes DH, Cespedes CF, Suzuki C, Donaldson 3B, Ka’aihue 1B, Pennington SS; McCarthy RHP.
Mariners: Figgins LF, Ackley 2B, Ichiro RF, Smoak 1B, Montero DH, Seager 3B, Olivo C, Saunders CF, Ryan SS; Vargas LHP.
“I want to see what Reddick can do in the ‘3’ spot,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s shown he can hit lefties … He’s swinging the bat consistently, and you want the most consistent guy hitting third for you.”
It’s definitely a more conventional look – with Crisp, a speedy switch hitter, batting second rather than third – and to me it offers the most promise. It gives the A’s two switch-hitting table-setters atop the lineup in Weeks and Crisp, and in Reddick, they have a No. 3 hitter with a little more pop in his bat. Batting Pennington ninth also makes the bottom of the order stronger, and as Melvin pointed out, he still has a speedy trio batting back-to-back-to-back in Pennington, Weeks and Crisp. Now, it can all change quickly, as it did during the spring. But I would expect to see this batting order, or one very similar to it, often in the first couple weeks of the season.
What are your thoughts on this lineup, 1 through 9? …
–Reddick provided the quote of the afternoon, and it had nothing to do with batting third. The right fielder was asked about the challenge of the language barrier between him and center fielder Cespedes. “As long as he knows how to say ‘I got it,’ we’re going to be all right,” Reddick said. “I don’t want that brick wall running into me.”