Tonight’s lineups from the Coliseum:
A’s — Crisp CF, Gomes DH, Reddick RF, Cespedes LF, Carter 1B, Donaldson 3B, Norris C, Drew SS, Rosales 2B; Parker RHP.
O’s — McLouth LF, Hardy SS, Wieters C, Jones CF, Davis DH, Reynolds 1B, Machado 3B, Chavez RF, Andino 2B; Britton LHP.
–I wasn’t at the game last night, but judging by all the animated facial expressions I saw on TV, that was as pumped up as I’ve seen A’s players this season. No doubt that a packed house at the Coliseum had its impact. I’d expect a significantly smaller turnout tonight, but it’s going to be interesting to see how the A’s draw on that final six-game homestand of the season against Seattle and Texas. Friday’s atmosphere still resonated with A’s catcher Derek Norris a day later.
“Any time we get a crowd like that that’s energetic, you’re obviously gonna rise to the occasion,” Norris said. “Oakland Raider fans have always been known for being crazy, loud fans, and it’s nice to get that same atmosphere.”
I guess that makes those fired-up right field bleacher bums the baseball-equivalent of the Black Hole?
Speaking of Norris, that was pretty big for him to come up with that throw to nail Xavier Avery at second that ended Friday night’s game. He’s tossed out just 5 of 33 runners this season. Norris said he’s worked on improving his footwork lately, and that’s helped his throws. A’s manager Bob Melvin, a former catcher, has worked with him, along with bench coach Chip Hale and Triple-A Sacramento manager Darren Bush when Norris was down with the River Cats.
–A couple injury updates: Reliever Jordan Norberto still hasn’t started throwing, and Melvin said he won’t speculate on whether the lefty might be available again this season until he does throw. But he said even if Norberto doesn’t pitch again, “he’s already had a spectacular year for us.” Norberto posted a 2.77 ERA in 39 appearances and allowed just 37 hits in 52 innings.
“He got righties out, he got lefties out, gave us length and he pitched late in games,” Melvin said. “He was as versatile as we had.” The A’s bullpen has continued to pitch well without him, taking an American League-best 2.80 ERA into tonight’s game. Rookie Sean Doolittle has emerged as an effective lefty setup man. But Norberto would provide some solid lefty depth looking ahead to possible postseason games. Inexperienced Pedro Figueroa and long man Travis Blackley are the only other lefty relief options on the current roster.
Infielder Eric Sogard (high ankle sprain) has jogged the past three days and is hitting off a tee. Sogard said he’s getting better but that the A’s want him to take it slow and make sure he’s fully recovered. As with Norberto, time is running short for him to make his way back this season …