When Sean Doolittle gave up two runs Wednesday night in the eighth inning, it came as a surprise to the A’s.
It’s not that his manager and teammates believe Doolittle to be infallible. It’s that the A’s expectations are such that they’ve grown comfortable watching him rack up scoreless inning after scoreless inning.
Perhaps it was just as well that Doolittle allowed three hits in an inning for the first time in 2013. After all, the runs and the hits didn’t matter. They did make the game closer, but Oakland pulled out a 96- win, the club’s sixth in succession.
Better to have Doolittle stub his toes that way than to give up runs that cost a win.
“When Doolittle gives up a hit, let alone a run, you think `What happened?’ ’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “He did his job. It’s just that we’re not used to seeing him give up anything.’’
Before giving up two runs Wednesday, Doolittle had given up two runs total in the course of 20 2013 appearances. Before allowing three hits Wednesday, he’d allowed more than one hit in an appearance just once all year.
Doolittle’s ERA was 0.78 before jumping to 1.48. Either way, he’s going to get some serious consideration for the American League All-Star team. True, he’s not a closer, but he’s as good a left-handed setup man as you’ll find.
–A’s first baseman Brandon Moss got day off Thursday, the third time in the last four games that’s happened.
In happier times, he might have gotten a start against one of the slew of left-handed starters Oakland has seen lately – four of the last five opposing hurlers have been lefties, and two of the three starters the A’s will see from the White Sox this weekend will be southpaws as well – but these aren’t happier times.
In his last 31 games, Moss has a .191 average, dragging his overall mark from .302 on April 23 to the .236 mark he brings into Thursday.
All spring training long, Melvin talked about his belief that Moss is a left-handed hitter who can hit left-handed pitching. He still believes that, but for the moment, he’s trying to put Moss in the best position to succeed, which means starting him against right-handers and having rookie Nate Freiman go against lefties.
“He’s not immune to struggling,’’ Melvin said. “And he’s not the only one who is. He will get hot, maybe hit six homers in 10 days, something like that.’’
–Josh Reddick is likely to join the A’s for Friday’s series opener against the White Sox. The right fielder was due to get a fourth game on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sacramento.
Reddick’s injured right hand seems to be heal, and if there is no pain Thursday, that will be music to the A’s ears.
“We talked about four games (on the rehab assignment),’’ Melvin said. “That’s probably still where we’re at.’’
No decision has been made, but it seems likley catcher Luke Montz will be the odd man out to make room on the roster for Reddick.