Programming note: Nationals-A’s coverage starts this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California (Channel locations)
OAKLAND – A’s manager Bob Melvin would prefer to stack his lineup with as many right-handed hitters as possible against a tough lefty like the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez.
But with center fielder Coco Crisp out with a strained neck, Melvin has to use at least two left-handed bats in his lineup (not including switch hitters). For Sunday’s series finale against Washington, Brandon Moss gets the start at first base and Josh Reddick is in right field.
If Crisp were healthy, it’s very likely that the right-handed hitting Craig Gentry might start in right field in place of Reddick. But Gentry is needed in center right now to fill in for Crisp. It’s a constantly shifting puzzle for the A’s as Melvin tries to make use of his entire bench and play the lefty/righty matchups as much as possible.
“If I could get a right-handed bat in there I would, but with Coco out, we’re gonna have two left-handed bats in instead of one,” Melvin said Sunday morning. “Red’s showing that … he has hit left-handers in the past. Moss, he’s not in there always against lefties, but he’s run into a few against lefties too.”
You can’t argue with starting Moss right now regardless of who’s on the mound. His 28 RBI are tied for fifth in the American League. He also ranks sixth in the league with a .381 average with runners in scoring position.
Dating back to Aug. 19 of last season, Moss leads the A.L. in both homers (18) and RBI (61).
As for Crisp, Melvin said his center fielder and leadoff man might try hitting in the indoor batting cage if his neck was feeling better. It’s unknown whether Crisp actually did that, however, which makes his status for the upcoming series against the Chicago White Sox very much up in the air.