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A’s day off comes at a good time and in a good place

Coco Crisp gets to celebrate a family birthday on the off-day Thursday.

Coco Crisp gets to celebrate a family birthday on the off-day Thursday.

There are few things the A’s like more than playing in Anaheim, then having a day off before playing again in Oakland.

Many of the A’s have homes or family in Southern California, and they use the off-day to visit family and friends, something that’s hard to do in the course of the season.

The timing this week is great for Coco Crisp. The center fielder will stay in Southern California and will celebrate a family birthday Thursday.

Things were not quite as convenient for infielder Alberto Callaspo, whose wife is about to give birth … in Florida.

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Foul or not, A’s now have game plan to attack Scherzer

John Jaso worked Tigers starter Max Scherzer for 22 of the 107 pitches he threw.

John Jaso worked Tigers starter Max Scherzer for 22 of the 107 pitches he threw.

 

The A’s didn’t beat Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer Tuesday night.

They didn’t beat anybody.

What they may have done, however, is put together a blueprint for how to beat Scherzer in a big game should one appear down the line.

And since the Tigers and the A’s have met in the post-season the last two years, what are the odds?

The A’s fouled off pitch after pitch, and took pitches that weren’t in the strike zone. Catcher John Jaso looked at 20 pitches all by himself in just his first two at-bats.

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True to form, Crisp sees no point in talking about injury

Coco Crisp will need some time off after neck problems flared up Tuesday.

Coco Crisp will need some time off after neck problems flared up Tuesday.

You won’t see any quotes from Coco Crisp about the status of his sore neck anywhere today.

Crisp makes it clear he has no interest in talking about injuries, now or ever.

He’s felt like that for a long time, that there’s nothing to be gained by getting into it.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me to talk about it,’’ he said after Tuesday’s 3-0 over Tampa Bay. Crisp had a big day – two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored – but a recurrence of the neck injury that troubled him mid-month sent him to the bench in the sixth inning.

“There are people you can go to to ask about (his injuries). The manager will tell you what he knows.’’

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Crisp proud of way A’s rally whenever someone’s missing

Coco Crisp is a fan of the way A's step up when injury keeps someone out of the lineup.

Coco Crisp is a fan of the way A’s step up when injury keeps someone out of the lineup.

Coco Crisp was back in the lineup in center field for the A’s Friday, and it was as if he’d never been away.

He played, he contributed and Oakland won, 11-1.

Crisp struck out in his first at-bat, but he walked his second and third times up, and his speed running to first force a throwing error on the Cleveland defense his fourth time to the plate. He scored once and the A’s won for the seventh time in eight games.

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Even after being Reddicked, Josh has a good night

Josh Reddick got Reddicked Monday in Arlington, Texas

Josh Reddick got Reddicked Monday in Arlington, Texas

The Texas Rangers clearly had a target painted on Josh Reddick.

They know the A’s right fielder as an aggressive base runner. They tried to take advantage of that, catcher Robinson Chirinos repeatedly throwing behind him at first base in an effort to pick him off.

It didn’t work, although it was close enough that in the eighth inning the umpires had to have a video review to determine if Reddick was out or had been tagged by first baseman Prince Fielder.

“They were treating me like I was Coco (Crisp),” Reddick said through a grin, referring to the A’s top base runner.

Later in the inning, center fielder Leonys Martin climbed the wall in right-center to bring back Daric Barton’s bid for a home run. Martin then threw to first base. Reddick, already past second base, raced back to first and beat the tag.

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Flopping Lowrie, Donaldson in order pays off for A’s

Jed Lowrie has been helping set the table for Josh Donaldson and A's offense.

Jed Lowrie has been helping set the table for Josh Donaldson and A’s offense.

The season began with Josh Donaldson batting second and Jed Lowrie batting third for the A’s.

The logic was sound. It lasted a week. Since the first homestand of the season, it’s been Lowrie second and Donaldson third, and the logic is sounder. And, it should be pointed out, more productive.

Manager Bob Melvin’s idea going in was that Donaldson, a more selective hitter, would be the ideal man to hit second behind Coco Crisp, taking more pitches and assuring Crisp would have more time to select the proper pitch with which to steal a base.

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Crisp’s steal his way past Reggie, nowhere near Rickey

Coco Crisp is now the fifth most successful thief in A's history

Coco Crisp is now the fifth most successful thief in A’s history

Coco Crisp has been around long enough to be hanging with some exalted company.

Just take his 11th inning stolen base Wednesday. It was the 145th of his Oakland career. That moves him past Reggie Jackson and into fifth place in the A’s all-time stolen base rankings.

Is that a big deal?

“No, not for me,’’ Crisp said after the A’s 12-inning, 5-4 loss to the Angels. “Not because it’s Reggie, but I’m just not into (numbers) that much.’’

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Will outfielders try to beat the system on dropped balls?

With all the calls being overturned with balls being accidentally dropped in the transfer from glove to hand in Major League Baseball these days, A’s center fielder Coco Crisp was asked Monday how long before someone drops the ball during the transfer on purpose?

After all, runs have to hold and retreat to their bases once they see the ball being caught. But with umpires consistently ruling “no catch’’ even after players have taken three or four strides following the catch, how long before someone opts to make a catch and then drop the ball on purpose to maybe force a very fast runner to get a double play?

Crisp wouldn’t advise it.

“I wouldn’t do it,’’ he said. “You’ve got to make the catch, make the play.’’

The same question was put to Oakland first base coach Tye Waller.

“I know it’s been talked about,’’ Waller said. “So far, nothing I’ve seen has been like that. I think everybody wants to get the outs they can get.’’

As part of their start-of-series scouting meeting before the game Monday, the A’s spent extra time talking about how they want to handle fly balls to the outfield that are no longer as routine as they once were.

“We need to have guys peaking over their shoulders,’’ Melvin said.

Waller said that he’s told his base runners he’d divide the responsibility with them.

“I told them, `I’ll watch the ball,’’ he said. “They have to run heads up.’’

Waller took his eye off the ball over the weekend in Seattle when Yoenis Cespedes lined out to Dustin Ackley. Ackley dropped the ball making the transfer, and neither coach nor base runner realized it. So Waller is going to be watching the ball until the transfer is successfully made, which will put more responsibility on the runners.

“A play like that can never happen again,’’ he said. “You can’t undo what’s been done. But you can make sure it never happens again. It’s an adjustment process for all of us.’’Will

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Mariners’ Bloomquist a big fan of A’s style of play

What happened in the eighth inning and what almost happened in the ninth inning is why Willie Bloomquist really hates Oakland.

And, to be fair, it’s why he really likes Oakland.

The A’s, down 6-0 to Felix Hernandez, scored four times in the eighth to knock the Mariners’ ace out of the game. The A’s would have six at-bats with the batter being the potential tying run before Coco Crisp struck out for the game’s final out.

Talking about the A’s before the game, the Mariners’ veteran backup infielder said the Mariners have to take Oakland as seriously as any team in the game.

“These guys are the scrappiest little (expletives) you’ll ever see,’’ Bloomquist said admiringly. “Gol dang, it’s just who they are. They are in every game.

“And they’ve got bulldogs pitching for them. It doesn’t matter if they are (throwing) 86, 89 (mph), they come out, and they pitch. They play defense and they get timely hits. They are freaking pesky. They are good.

“I like how they play. I hate ‘em, but I like ‘em. I like how they play.’’

Friday’s game wasn’t perhaps the best example of what Bloomquist was talking about. The A’s didn’t win, and they didn’t play the kind of clean defense he generally credits them with. But the Mariners went from having an easy win to having to grind out the last six outs with Oakland one swing away from tying the game.

“We still came out there the entire time,’’ third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “That’s how we play.’’

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Reddick hasn’t lost his touch for delivering a pie in the face

Coco Crisp circles bases after walkoff homer. Minutes later, he'd be hit by a whipping cream pie in the face and take a Gatorade bath.

Coco Crisp circles bases after walkoff homer. Minutes later, he’d be hit by a whipping cream pie in the face and take a Gatorade bath.

Right fielder Josh Reddick was in the Oakland clubhouse in the 12th inning Thursday when Coco Crisp delivered the walkoff homer that made the A’s 3-2 winners over the Mariners.

Not being on the field didn’t stop Reddick from doing what he knew he had to do.

“I was too late for the (home run) tunnel,’’ Reddick said, “but there was enough time for everything else.’’

The “everything else’’ Reddick referred to was the tradition of loading up a paper plate with whipping cream and catching Crisp flush in the face with it during the post-game television interview on the field.

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