The A’s and Rangers each made news with their starting lineups today, but it was better news for Texas fans than for Oakland’s. Josh Hamilton is back in the middle of the Rangers’ batting order after missing the past five games with what was diagnosed as ocular keratitis, a condition that dries the cornea in the eye and affects vision. The reasons for it include too much consumption of caffeine and energy drinks. Texas won three of those five games but averaged just three runs per game in doing so. They have scored in just one of their past 21 innings. So plug Hamilton back in — with his 42 homers and 123 RBIs — and it’s obviously a boost for the home team as this four-game series gets underway.
“He’s their guy, but it’s not like it’s their only guy,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “There is no easy part of that lineup to navigate through.”
It’s imperative that A’s starter Dan Straily keep the ball down in the zone, as he’s allowed eight home runs over his first five starts. It’s a warm but very breezy night at Rangers Ballpark, so we’ll see how that affects fly balls …
OK, so maybe the A’s news isn’t really all that new. Coco Crisp is out of the lineup for the sixth straight game and the seventh time in the past eight games. It’s the same issue — pink eye, or allergic conjunctivitis as the team is officially listing it. Unfortunately, all the information we’re getting on this is coming from Melvin. Crisp despises talking when he’s injured. I didn’t get much response when I tried asking him about it in Detroit. A’s trainer Nick Paparesta also declined to talk to reporters about it, saying through a spokesperson that Crisp’s condition hadn’t changed and that there was nothing new to report.
“He’s no better today unfortunately,” Melvin said. “He’s having a tough time of it. He’s seen three different doctors now and they’ve all given thesame diagnosis. I hold out hope every day, but we’re just not seeing much progress in both eyes.”
With 10 games left in the regular season counting tonight, you have to wonder how many Crisp will be able to play in. He hasn’t really been doing baseball activity since he’s been out. Melvin said when he is ready physically, it probably makes sense to give him a day of batting practice and defensive work — maybe using him off the bench that day — and then return him to the starting lineup the next day after that.
However Crisp’s situation shakes out, it’s not good for the A’s right now. They need all weapons possible at their disposal as they try to eat into the Rangers’ A.L. West lead this week.
Here’s the lineups, with Josh Reddick dropped one more spot to seventh in the A’s order as he tries to snap a 0 for 24 slump:
A’s — Drew SS, Gomes DH, Cespedes CF, Carter 1B, Moss LF, Donaldson 3B, Reddick RF, Norris C, Pennington 2B; Straily RHP.
Tex — Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton CF, Beltre 3B, Cruz RF, Young DH, Murphy LF, Napoli C, Moreland 1B; Holland LHP.
–There’s nothing new to report on Brett Anderson (strained oblique) right now, and there probably won’t be until he starts playing catch. No word when that will start …