Lineup tonight — DH Jack Hannahan, SS Bobby Crosby, LF Jack Cust, 3B Eric Chavez, 2B Mark Ellis, CF Carlos Gonzalez, 1B Daric Barton, RF Travis Buck, C Kurt Suzuki — is the same as it was last night, and pretty much what it’s been for the past week.
Notice anybody conspicuous by his absence?
Yep, no Emil Brown again. Manager Bob Geren kind of stumbled his way around a question regarding the fact that Brown hasn’t started five straight games, but eventually said that Brown will be playing mostly against lefties now. Here are his splits going into tonight.
Anyway, it’s not overly surprising, even though Brown is the team’s RBI leader. The man is as shaky in the outfield as Jack Cust, and after a great six weeks, he’s turning into Emil Brown again. Plus, it gives Carlos Gonzalez and Travis Buck a chance to play everyday, and that’s how it should be.
Nevertheless, it’s not every year when a team’s rib-eye leader can’t crack the lineup.
Most of you have probably seen the ball Emil Brown failed to catch in the eighth inning of the A’s loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. If you haven’t, here’s the short version: Brown lost a ball in the lights, and instead of an inning-ending flyout, Dioner Navarro’s ball went for a game-winning double.
As beat writer Joe Stiglich put it in Monday’s recap, the A’s encouraging season took a wrong turn during their just completed road trip to Texas, Cleveland and Atlanta. Two wins in nine games isn’t gonna get you much.
Great thing about baseball is the way it gives players a chance to erase the memory of a failure one day by doing something big the next.
Emil Brown is living that right now. He just uncorked a three-run homer off a hanging Jon Lester breaking ball for a 4-0 lead. Brown has been talked up by former Royals teammate Mike Sweeney this spring, and the A’s brass seems to think he can have a huge impact.
He did in the opener, with his ridiculous attempt to take third base after his double in the 10th inning. That mistake led to his being out in a rundown, and prevented the A’s from tying the game when the next two batters responded with hits. I still say that might be the biggest baserunning gaffe you see in baseball this season.
But more moments like the one Brown just had in the third will make that mistake easier to live with. Brown has hit 38 homers over the past two seasons, so he’s definitely got some offensive ability. He’s a former A’s draft pick (1994), and perhaps he’ll be another example of Billy Beane’s smarts. Didn’t look that way in the opener, but in baseball, things sure change quickly.