The A’s have beaten Hisashi Iwakuma twice in the last week.
The rest of MLB teams have beaten him once all year.
So what’s the secret? Why is Oakland successful when others aren’t?
For one thing, the A’s give Iwakuma all due respect. It’s not like they think they own him.
“He’s not going to give up a lot of hits,’’ shortstop Jed Lowrie said. “Just look at the numbers. He doesn’t do that. Tonight, we didn’t get a lot of hits against him.’’
Three of the hits the Mariners did get off Iwakuma were home runs – a two-run shot by Yoenis Cespedes in the first, a game-tying solo homer in the fourth by Lowrie and the homer that put the A’s ahead to stay in the sixth from Coco Crisp.
“My homer was big because they’d just scored off (Bartolo) Colon and they had the momentum shifting their way,’’ Lowrie said. “They were feeling pretty good having a lead against Bartolo.’’
Crisp’s homer, like Lowrie’s came from a bat that the A’s aren’t counting on to produce home runs.
“I’m just up there swinging,’’ Crisp said. “If I can get a strike, I want to hit it.’’
Crisp said Iwakuma is tough to hit because he throws a large variety of pitches. The A’s have been good at being selective.
“We’re not swinging at a lot of his pitches,’’ Crisp said. “He has nasty stuff, really nasty. He’s a guy where the numbers tell the story.’’
When the A’s did swing, however, they made impact, and they made the pitches count.
–For Lowrie, the home run was his first in 62 games, the longest homerless streak of his career.
He wasn’t obsessing on his inability to produce the long ball, however.
“It’s not a lack of confidence,’’ he said. “Maybe there haven’t been a lot of home runs, but there have been a lot of doubles.’’
Lowrie is tied with Josh Donaldson for the team high in doubles with 20. Except for the streaking Manny Machado (33) of the Orioles, Lowrie and Donaldson are on pace with the American League’s doubles leaders heading into the final week of June.
And that’s not bad.
–John Jaso was in the original starting lineup after suffering an abrasion on his left palm that he believe would not be a problem. After all, he’d played half of Thursday’s game in Texas after the injury occurred, and it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
But the A’s catcher found that he was having trouble in the batting cage. He said during bunting drills his hand “felt like it exploded.’’
So he was subbed out, replaced by Derek Norris, who was back at close to full health after taking a foul ball to his groin Wednesday in Texas.
Will Jaso be able to go Saturday?
“We’ll have to wait and see,’’ he said. “We’ll see how my body feels. I’m not Wolverine.’’