Josh Donaldson, perfectionist.
It’s not always an easy thing, but it’s probably a good thing as far as the A’s are concerned.
Donaldson had gone without a homer or an RBI since the playing of Major League baseball had resumed after the All-Star break.
He didn’t know that until one of the media scrum (me) told him last Sunday. On Wednesday he homered in the second inning and had an RBI single in the sixth inning.
After the game, he laughed and said I broke the spell.
If only I had that power.
The fact is that the A’s need Donaldson, need him badly to reconnect with the stroke that had him a serious All-Star candidate before the break.
Wednesday is just one game, but there is a sense that Donaldson’s swings are crisp and the ball is jumping off his bat better in recent days.
“I wasn’t having a good approach at the plate,’’ Donaldson said of his slide. “but several times lately I’ve hit balls on the screws and it hasn’t mattered.’’
On Wednesday, it mattered.
The A’s, whose one-time lead in the American League West has dwindled from six games to almost nothing, didn’t score enough to pull this one out. But they scored five runs, which is more than they’d scored in the previous three games combined.
If Donaldson’s swing is back, that would be the first step in getting the rest of the offense going.
–Speaking of Josh, we have that other one, Josh Reddick.
He was given the day off Wednesday, then after an early pitching change wound up coming into the game in the fourth inning. He wound up getting three at-bats, two strikeouts and a line drive to center with two men on.
The ball was run down by Shin-soo Choo, which comes as no surprise to Reddick.
He went hitless Tuesday, but the one ball he hit hard, a shot into the gap in right-center, was tracked won by Jay Bruce. Again it was in a situation where he had RBI possibilities.
“The last two nights,’’ Reddick said, “I’ve gotten the ball into the alley, but they’ve run it down. That’s the story of my season. It gets very frustrating.’’
–There is no guarantee that Sonny Gray is going to pitch Saturday for the A’s in Toronto, but the indications are strong that he will.
The A’s one-time first round draft pick has put together a 10-7 season and 3.42 ERA at Triple-A Sacramento and made two scoreless relief appearances in a brief bit of exposure last month with the big club.
Normally the A’s will follow Friday starter Jarrod Parker with A.J. Griffin. But A’s manager Bob Melvin said Griffin will be pitching on Sunday, the better to get him an extra day of rest.
There’s no chance to bring back the recently demoted Tommy Milone, so unless the A’s are going to ask one of their relievers to start, which seems unlikely, Gray seems the inevitable choice.
Asked about the move toward Gray, one A’s insider declined to comment other than to say, “feel free to speculate.’’
Well, there’s not much I do better than that.