In for Joe Stiglich, recovering from a sunny four-game stretch in Cleveland …
Wow, lots happening at the Coliseum. The A’s are back home riding a six-game winning streak, one short of their season high. They can match their season win total of a year ago tonight before they even rip the calendar to September. They’ve won 12 of 13 and are a season-high 16 games over .500.
Guess what? They need every bit of that, and they also need to keep cracking the whip. September is not going to be fun for them. After this six-game homestand against Boston and the Angels, we reach the stretch of the season that will determine Oakland’s chances for the playoffs — 17 out of 20 on the road and the three home games against Baltimore, the club battling the A’s for one of the two wild card spots. None of those 17 road games will be as easy as the ones on this just completed trip. Oakland plays at Seattle for three (Mariners are playing pretty well), at the Angels for four, then after the Orioles at home for three, the road test continues with three in Detroit, three in New York and four in Texas. Ouch. So they better build some cushion for that stretch right now.
The good news: They’re getting reinforcements. A.J. Griffin comes off the disabled list tomorrow and will start against the Red Sox. Griffin has had two rehab starts and is ready to roll. So is Brandon Inge, who could be activated as well and thinks he will be. With Griffin starting Saturday, Brett Anderson will get an extra day’s rest. Melvin says that’s a precautionary step after Anderson pitched so deep into games in his first two starts back.
The A’s will also be able to make September call-ups starting Saturday. Manager Bob Melvin was sheepish about who may join the big club, but probably safe to say reliever Jim Miller will be back fairly quickly after being optioned to Class A Stockton. Once the Ports season ends, Miller will be eligible to come back. If he’d gone to Sacramento, which is headed for the Triple-A playoffs, he’d have to wait longer.
It remains to be seen if Jemile Weeks will be one of the Sept. call-ups. He’s done well since being optioned to Sacramento. He’s hitting .419 with a .500 on-base percentage and nine RBIs in seven games. But the A’s seem pretty set up the middle right now with Cliff Pennington at second and Stephen Drew at short. It’s unlikely Oakland will go crazy with the call-ups. For one, the RiverCats are in the Pacific Coast League playoffs, so that roster will have to remain reasonably stocked. For two — and this is a bit of a crazy reason — the A’s just don’t have a ton of room in their clubhouse. Bottom line, they don’t want to mess with the chemistry.
Reliever Jordan Norberto is scheduled to come off the DL Sunday, but Melvin said it might take a bit longer. Norberto is on the DL for a second time with left shoulder tendinitis, and the A’s don’t want to rush him considering this is his second time. Besides, he’ll be much more important for that 17 of 20 road stretch than this homestand.
Coco Crisp has 29 steals, and with one more, will have three straight seasons of 30-plus.
In town with the Red Sox: Former A’s relievers Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow. Bailey has pitched in just seven games for the Red Sox after missing the entire first half with a thumb injury. He’s logged 5 1/3 innings, but has a 1.69 ERA and has recorded one save. Breslow, who was actually in Arizona earlier year, was acquired by the Red Sox at the trade deadline and has pitched well — 12 outings, 10 unscored upon.
Also in town: Former Giant Cody Ross, who has made a nice adjustment with the Red Sox: 19 homers, 67 RBIs and a .277 average. Chatted briefly with Ross beforehand. He said he still follows the Giants closely and predicts that despite the haul the Dodgers got from Boston, still thinks the Giants will win the NL West.
The Petaluma Little League team was at the Coliseum Friday night, shagging fly balls in the outfield with the A’s and generally getting the royal treatment.
A’s: CF Crisp, SS Drew, RF Reddick, LF Cespedes, 1B Moss, DH Gomes, 3B Donaldson, C Kottaras, 2B Pennington. P McCarthy
Red Sox: LF Podsednik, 2B Pedroia, CF Ellbury, RF Ross, 1B Loney, 1B Loney, C Saltalamacchia, DH Aviles, 3B Circiaco, SS Iglesias. P Cook