ALDS wrapup: A’s left too much of roster unused; Disappointment follows another Game 5 loss

For a team that prided itself on using its entire roster to get through the 162-game season with the best record in the American League West, the A’s got away from their trademark in the post-season.

Four players, pitchers Jerry Blevins and Jesse Chavez, catcher Kurt Suzuki and outfielder Chris Young, didn’t get into a game. Another catcher, Derek Norris, got one at-bat as a pinch-hitter.

That’s essentially 20 percent of the 25-man roster unused.

This is a quick postmortem, but that’s unlike the A’s.

    And when you look at the two games against Justin Verlander, you have wonder about the A’s going with the book and loading the lineup with left-handed hitters. That’s because right-handed hitters did a much better job against the veteran right-hander this year.

Oakland’s decision makers, from manager Bob Melvin right up to general manager Billy Beane, are huge into matchups. But they went away from that in the two games against Verlander.

In all, the A’s got six hits off Verlander in 15 innings in the two games of the series. Of those six hits, half of them came from right-handed hitters, one by Josh Donaldson and two by Yoenis Cespedes.

That would play into the success that other right-hander hitters had against Verlander this year, but the A’s didn’t do what they do best and play the matchups. So Young and Suzuki didn’t get a swing and Norris got just one.

And they should have, because it’s not like any of the left-handers was crushing the ball against Verlander.

Would the right-handers have made a difference?

Maybe not. But the statistics played out over a 162-game season seem to suggest they might have had a chance.

–From players, coaches and the manager, the word that came out of Thursday’s postgame clubhouse was that this team should have gone further than it did.

Josh Reddick did point out that most of the prognosticators during the spring had the A’s finishing third in the American League West, so making it to the AL Division Series was a major accomplishment.

He was having a little fun at the expense of the prognosticators, however, because Reddick, too, felt a sense of disappointment in not making it at least to the next level and facing the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series.

As for Melvin, the manager said he could feel his players’ pain, because he felt the pain himself.

“Our guys are frustrated with the way the game went and some of the at-bats,’’ he said. “Then again, we still have a lot to be proud of. We expected to go a little further than this this year. But at the end of the day, we did have a great season.

“It was a little more disappointing this year than it was last year.’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.

  • beelza

    The way in which Melvin chose his words and syntax when explaining Sonny would start, lead me to believe the decision came from a position higher than the GM. I wonder also if this may affected the bullpen non-use.

  • Stan

    The A’s for the second straight year were polite to Verlander. No bunts,no stepping out of the box,nothing but being good boys.
    And they lost for it.

  • DKnight007

    What a waste Melvin out managed by old man Leyland…again. How can the A’s players not be coached up by Melvin and Chili on how to approach Verlander? Were they coaching them to focus on Vers release point and the ball the whole from his wind up to the plate? The hitters were just distracted by his leg motion and trying to all be heros and hit the ball out of the park instead of just being patient and sit back…dig in and put the ball in play and get good wood! Seems like they didn’t make any adjustments cause the A’s bats were undisciplined the last two times they faced him. RIDICULOUS. This is the playoffs….not the regular season. Melvin and his coaches still aren’t ready to manage and coach in the playoffs.

  • DKnight007

    Dumb not playing Callapso, Norris and Young from the start. Not bunting once with Coco or at least faking the bunts with him and other batters.