A win tonight would pull the A’s into a tie for the second wild card spot in the American League with the Chicago White Sox, who fell out of first place in the AL Central with today’s loss to Detroit. The A’s would also pull to within a half-game of the Los Angeles Angels for second place in the A.L. West, and that’s significant in terms of the division race. The A’s are seven games out of first as they take the field tonight, but before they can entertain thoughts of catching Texas, they need to leapfrog the Angels.
The A’s are obviously rolling right now, having won seven of their past eight, and they just need to split these final two games with the Yankees to claim this four-game series. Jarrod Parker takes the mound tonight for his first career start against New York.
A’s — Crisp CF, Weeks 2B, Reddick DH, Cespedes LF, Moss RF, Carter 1B, Inge 3B, Sogard SS, Norris C; Parker RHP.
Yankees — Jeter SS, Granderson CF, Rodriguez 3B, Cano 2B, Teixeira 1B, Ibanez LF, Chavez DH, Martin C, Wise RF; Hughes RHP.
Josh Reddick gets a bit of rest as DH, and that allows Bob Melvin to get Brandon Moss and Chris Carter in the lineup together. I can see why he wanted to start Carter. He’s been out of the lineup three straight games, and starting Sunday, the A’s face four straight lefties. I’d expect Carter to get plenty of time over that stretch, so may as well try to get him back in rhythm heading into those games. That also leaves Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes available as left/right pinch-hit options off the bench.
–Brandon McCarthy and Dallas Braden both threw off the mound and came out of it well. It’s still tough to gauge when either might return. Melvin said he would wait to see how McCarthy’s shoulder responds Sunday before announcing what the next step might be for him. I’d expect him to be back before Braden.
–You may have noticed Yoenis Cespedes is playing deeper in left field these days. That’s definitely by design. “I think he’s a little more comfortable right now coming in than going back, so that’s how we’re trying to combat it,” Melvin said. There aren’t many adjustments for Cespedes to make at the plate right now. He’s 18 for 31 with nine RBIs over his last eight games.
–Derek Norris is back at catcher, trying to snap an 0 for 28 slump. Melvin said Norris isn’t letting his bat affect him defensively. And considering that Kurt Suzuki is hitting .184 over his past 33 games, it’s not like it makes sense to start going with him behind the plate more regularly …
That’s all for now …