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Go-Go Coco provides a spark for A’s

Coco Crisp has been a forgotten man in the A’s lineup for most of the season. In Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over the Dodgers, he showed what kind of impact he can still have on a game. Crisp hit a blooper that fell in shallow right field to lead off the first. He was sprinting from the get-go and legged out a double to jump-start Oakland’s three-run rally.

OK, so Crisp’s 2 for 3 night only pushed his average up to .208. But we’re seeing glimpses of the effect the speedy switch hitter can have. He walked in the second, then walked in the fourth and stole second and third. After his sixth-inning single, he stole second again. I’ll disregard that liner that clanked off his glove for an error in the ninth. He catches that ball 9 1/2 times out of 10.

“Certainly he’s starting to swing it like we envisioned,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “This is the guy we expect him to be and he’s playing very well right now.”

Why is Crisp so important to the A’s? One, he has taken over the leadoff spot with Jemile Weeks struggling badly of late and hurting from sore legs. It’s easier to mask Weeks’ recent slump when he’s in the No. 2 spot because if Crisp gets on base, the A’s can have Weeks bunt. He can contribute without having to get on base, but that only works if Crisp is getting on himself from the top spot. Two, if Crisp can continue creating havoc on the bases it increases his trade value (not what you really want to read here on June 19, right??) I’ve had two scouts tell me they think Crisp will be an attractive trade chip if the A’s are willing to swallow some of that two-year $14 million contract he signed in the offseason.

–Numbers worth considering:

*Over his past three starts, Brandon McCarthy has allowed just three earned runs in 20 innings. He is 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA over his last seven starts.

*Third baseman Brandon Inge is hitless in his past 14 at-bats and is now 1 for 20 over his past five games. Before that, Inge was 13 for 32 with 12 RBI over his previous nine games.

*Seth Smith is batting .340 (34 for 100) with 17 of his 23 RBI when he’s playing the outfield. He’s hitting just .178 (13 for 73) as the designated hitter. As I tweeted earlier, that’s one reason why it would benefit the A’s to bring Yoenis Cespedes back and give him a bit of time at DH to rest his hamstring. No doubt Smith would like to squeeze in a few more innings in left field.

–Depending on what edition of our paper you receive, you might not have gotten much of what I wrote on Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson, the two “sandwich” picks that the A’s signed Tuesday. They were in uniform and took batting practice and had some fun holding court with the media.

Both were thrilled to meet Rickey Henderson. Olson, a first baseman from Parkview High in Lilburn, Ga., also was pumped to meet Josh Reddick. “I was surprised when I saw him,” Olson said. “Not that he doesn’t look like a ballplayer, but he looks different than he does on TV.” Robertson, a shortstop from Upland High who is likely to switch to third, added: “I heard Jonny Gomes was a clown so I wanted to talk to him.”

Gomes had some advice before batting practice: “You guys better hit a couple out.”

Joe Stiglich

  • Stan

    Glad to see Ray was back in the booth. The fans have spoken.