Game 114 wrapup: Melvin looks for ways to counteract hard turf; Parker finally gets run support; Otero annoyed by issuing first walk
By John Hickey
Friday, August 9th, 2013 at 9:08 pm in 2013 regular season.
Bob Melvin didn’t like seeing Coco Crisp diving for a sinking fly ball hit by Toronto’s Brett Lawrie in center field in the second inning Friday.
It wasn’t the strategy involved that concerned the manager, although the ball was not caught. It was the hard turf that Crisp was choosing to dive on.
Melvin needs to keep Crisp, his leadoff hitter, in the lineup, and one way to do that is for his center fielder not to dive on artificial surfaces.
Much of Friday’s game was about the fact that the A’s will play four consecutive games in what used to be called SkyDome and which is now Rogers Centre.
By the end of the game, shortstop Jed Lowrie left fielder Yoenis Cespedes and third baseman Josh Donaldson had all been lifted for an inning or two just to get them off the turf.
And on Saturday, Crisp will get a day away from the turf by serving as the designated hitter.
“I’m looking for any way I can to get these guys off the turf,’’ Melvin said. “Even for a little bit.’’
Crisp wound up playing all nine innings and had three hits, a walk, one RBI and two runs scored.
–Jarrod Parker came into Friday with a five-game winning streak that has now been stretched to six.
For much of that time he’s had to do without much run support. Although he hasn’t lost a game since May 22, Parker has seven no-decisions during that stretch, six in succession from June 23 through the end of July.
Run support was not a problem Friday. He had four runs on his side before he threw a pitch, and even though he gave up three runs in the second inning, the A’s had added on so that he took a 6-0 lead into the second.
“The best thing I can do is get quick outs and get them back up to the plate,’’ Parker said. “Sometimes it can be harder pitching in that situation than in a squeaker. The best thing for me to do tonight was to be efficient with my pitches.’’
Parker was that. He threw six innings, allowed three runs and has now thrown 16 starts of six or more innings and three or few runs allowed.
–Dan Otero did something that would be unpardonable if it happened in most games.
This wasn’t most games. Otero took over in the seventh inning for Parker and walked the first batter he’d faced.
To this point, Ortero had thrown 20.2 innings for the A’s and hadn’t walked anyone, so to do it in a situation that calls for throwing strikes was odd indeed.
“I wasn’t happy with myself over that one,’’ Otero said. “That was the second time I’ve walked somebody this year.’’
Yes, Otero walked one in 27.1 innings for Triple-A Sacramento before getting called up.
“You never want to come into a game and walk the first batter you face,’’ he said. “But I guess if you have to do it, doing it with an 11-run lead is the best time.’’