A's lineup: Norris behind the dish

October 9, 2012, 7:58 pm
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OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics are down 0-2 and facing elimination in the American League Division Series. They have never come back from an 2-0 deficit to win a playoff series. None of that really matters though. The A's can't worry about winning three games on Tuesday, first they have to win just one. Here's A's manager Bob Melvin's lineup card for Game Three.
Oakland Athletics (0-2) lineupCoco Crisp, CF
Stephen Drew, SS
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Josh Reddick, RF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Seth Smith, DH
Derek Norris, C
Cliff Pennington, 2B
PRATT: ALDS Game 3: Key Matchups Instant AnalysisIt's essentially the same lineup as the previous nights with the exception being the catcher's position. Derek Norris and George Kottaras have been alternating games in the eight spot. The key to the lineup could be Seth Smith. He is hitting .462 in his career against Detroit's starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez. When the A's faced Sanchez on September 20, Smith ended up 3 for 4 with three runs, a double, a homer, and four RBI. As one of the team veterans the A's need Smith to step up his game in a major way. He is 0 for 5 with two walks in this series.
With nothing but right-handed pitchers in Detroit's rotation Melvin isn't using right-handed hitters Chris Carter and Jonny Gomes. The A's will have to hope they can work those guys in later in the game in key pinch-hitting situations.
Top of the OrderCoco Crisp committed a key error in Game Two in Detroit. He dropped a ball that allowed two runs to score. The speedy center fielder was playing deep with Miguel Cabrera batting and found a way to get in position to make the catch but the ball hit the heel of his glove and bounced out. Most center fielders probably don't even get in position to make that catch. That being said, he is likely the most motivated hitter in the lineup to make amends. Crisp is a .320 (106 for 331) hitter against the Tigers, which is his best mark vs. any Major League team. Stephen Drew has recorded a hit in all nine of his career postseason games. Heart of the OrderYoenis Cespedes is 3 for 8 in his first Major League Baseball postseason. He stole two bases on Sunday to become the 14th A's player to have a multi-steal game in the postseason. Cespedes has hit safely in every game against Detroit this season. Bottom of the OrderCliff Pennington has risen to the occasion for the A's in the postseason. He has a .714 on-base percentage in this ALDS. Pennington is 3 for 5 with two walks and an RBI. Starting PitchersBrett Anderson will be starting Game Three of the ALDS. He hasn't pitched since straining his right oblique in Detroit on September 19. The Tigers are sending Sanchez to the mound. Oakland beat Sanchez on September 20 in Detroit. He gave up six runs, five earned, in five and two-thirds innings.

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