The A’s have some decisions to make in the next week, and not all of them are clear cut.
Between now and Friday, outfielders Chris Young and Coco Crisp and starting pitcher Brett Anderson are likely to come off the disabled list.
It seems a no-brainer that Dan Straily will be the odd man out in the rotation. He has made three starts with Anderson out, and is due to make another against Texas Wednesday, two days before Anderson (sprained right ankle) is first eligible to come off the disabled list.
Young and possibly Crisp could come off the disabled list on Wednesday, and while it’s certain that Michael Taylor, who has an .063 average and hasn’t driven in a run, will be sent down, choosing between the other two candidates, Luke Montz and Daric Barton, will be a matter of just what kind of flexibility A’s manager Bob Melvin wants.
For a man who has been primarily a platoon player in a Major League career that career that dates back to 2007, Seth Smith is looking decidedly un-platoonish these days.
Smith, a left-hander, came into the season having an 11-1 edge in games started against right-handed pitchers opposed to lefties, 368 to 32. Sunday, however, was his fifth start against a lefty this season in 27 games overall, and his third in the last four games.
He’s playing about twice as often against lefties this year than he has historically.
In retrospect it’s become increasingly important that the A’s won Monday’s 19-inning, six-hour, 32-minute marathon against the Angels in Oakland, because the negative repercussions from that game just keep mounting.
Outfielder Chris Young is the third player on the team to have suffered an injury in that game that necessitated a trip to the disabled list, Young’s left quad keeping him from running full out.
Already, the A’s had lost pitcher Brett Anderson to a sprained right foot (admittedly, he was already hurting before his 5.1 innings of one-run relief) and center fielder Coco Crisp, who strained his left hamstring while running up the third base line.
The last time Adam Rosales had done any serious work as the leadoff hitter anywhere was in 2007 when he was playing in Double-A for Chattanooga.
What worked back then was to “attack the first or second pitch,’’ the A’s shortstop said.
“Generally, those were the best pitches I was going to see all day,’’ he explained.
It won’t be the most clutch home run Seth Smith has ever produced or even the longest he’ll ever hit.
But Tuesday’s homer in the fourth inning of Boston’s Alfredo Aceves is likely to go down as the hardest Smith has ever hit, even if Smith himself doesn’t think that’s necessarily so.
Bob Melvin probably will never get into the Earl Weaver/Bobby Cox/Lou Piniella class of managers who seemed to get ejected from games just for the fun of it.
The A’s manager isn’t shy about getting ejected, however. He was thrown out of Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Tigers by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher after questioning a called third strike against first baseman Brandon Moss.
It was the fifth of six called third strikes against the A’s, who can strike out plenty on their own. Oakland, after all, struck out 17 times in Friday’s 12-inning win over Detroit.
The A’s are finishing up their first week of play in the American League West, and everything was going good until the fifth inning Sunday.
Oakland had won four of its first six games and held an 8-0 lead on Houston when right fielder Josh Reddick went diving for a foul ball off the bat of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
In pre-game workouts, the A’s had two disabled infielders, Adam Rosales and Hiro Nakajima, working out with the team.
Rosales, who has a rib cage injury, isn’t likely to be back soon, but Melvin said that Nakajima was closer and could head out with the team when Oakland flies to Houston Thursday.
That would depend on how Nakajima, dealing with a left hamstring strain, did in workouts this week. And things seemed to go astray when Nakajima walked off the field after only about 10 minutes or so while the rest of his teammates were early into their workout.
There’s no crunch for playing time in Oakland. Yet.
Bob Melvin, the A’s manager, has been good at keeping the peace in the clubhouse by making sure everyone plays.
At the start of the 2013 season, however, there are early indications it’s not going to be easy for Melvin to get his five outfielders the playing time he anticipates.
After the A’s dispatched the Dodgers 7-4 Sunday, the club sent down second baseman Jemile Weeks and outfielder Shane Peterson.
Those were tough cuts, with Peterson hitting .408 and Weeks hitting .370.
It’s not going to get any easier, but some of the players who will make the team aren’t going to have numbers anywhere close to the numbers of the players just sent down.