Josh Reddick’s up-and-down offense – it’s currently up – takes a lot of hits in social media.
There are A’s fans routinely looking for his scalp. It’s in part because he hit 32 homers two seasons ago and hasn’t come close to matching that kind of production since, battling an unending series of injries.
And manager Bob Melvin said that no one on the A’s roster hits in tougher luck that his right fielder.
The thing is, Reddick’s game is more than about just offense, although he’s 8-for-25 (.320) since coming off the disabled list, and the A’s would take that kind of production during the stretch run, no questions asked.
What separates Reddick from other right fielders is his defense, which was put on display on back-to-back tests in the seventh inning in Monday’s 7-3 loss to the Houston Astros.
The Astros’ Kiké Hernandez made a valiant try for Houston’s fifth home run of the night, and Reddick went high against the wall to make sure it was nothing but the first out of the inning with Evan Scribner on in relief.
All-Star Jose Altuve took the opposite approach, delivering a sinking liner in front of Reddick that most right fielders would have played on a hop. Reddick is not most right fielders, and he turned it into a spectacular second out of the inning with a dive.
“The first one was kind of routine for him,’’ Melvin said. “But the second one, you have to break as soon as the ball is hit, and you have to be pretty fearless about coming and getting it. And he was.
“Not too many right fielders make that play. Or even attempt to make that play.’’
It’s that kind of defense – not to mention one of the strongest and most accurate arms among American League outfielders – that keeps Reddick in the lineup even when his offensive production is down.