A's Digital Mailbag: Flip Reddick and Cespedes?

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A's Digital Mailbag: Flip Reddick and Cespedes?

The A's are 23-9 since July 1 which is the best record in Major League Baseball over that span, and firmly planted in the American League playoff picture. Time to open up the A's Digital Mailbag. TWITTER:@caseyprattcsn Who is the Athletics biggest threat(s) in the AL wild card race? Aaron T (@aaron_1981) August 10, 2012CP: The A's biggest threat in the Wild Card race could be the Rangers. Allow me to explain. With the Wild Card winners being awarded a one-game playoff, the A's could be put in a tough spot. If they are opposed by the Angels, they will have to face Jered Weaver with everything on the line. If Detroit makes it, then they could be facing Justin Verlander in a win or go home scenario. The A's surely have their sights firmly planted on Texas. If they gun for the American League West crown and fall just short then they can worry about the Wild Card. I also think the Orioles will fall off. They are the only team in the hunt with a negative run differential (-57).@caseyprattcsn Hey dude, are the Athletics still looking for a SS? Or do you think they are content now? Donny (@donnyc99) August 10, 2012CP: Getting a healthy Cliff Pennington back is a boost. He says his left elbow feels 1,000 times better. He didn't want to make excuses for his struggles, and he doesn't have to if he can go out there and perform. He drew two walks and scored a run in his return to the lineup. A's manager Bob Melvin will likely use Pennington and Adam Rosales in a shortstop platoon. Pennington is hitting .213 against right-handed pitching and .152 against left-handed pitching. That might minimize some of the struggles at the position. Pennington was better than most gave him credit for last season. He had achieved career-highs in hits (136) homers (8), and RBIs (58). He also ranked fifth in the A.L. with a .348 batting average with runners in scoring position. That being said, if a shortstop slips through waivers the A's will definitely take a look. @caseyprattcsn on our road trip what do you predict A's our record? Also if we sweep the white sox is Melvin locked for manager of the year? Panda Yeung (@TYeung153) August 10, 2012CP: I hate making these predictions. Here it goes: I am going with 4-2. Whether the A's sweep the White Sox or not, Bob Melvin should be a lock for American League manager of the year. No one had the A's pegged as contenders and here they are surprising every expert in baseball. That has a lot to do with Melvin. He is a very skilled communicator and leader. He has a lot to do with the way this team is playing. @caseyprattcsn Who do you envision as the Athletics starting 5 once everyone is healthy? PrattATatTat LetsGoOakland AJ Jones (@justplainaj) August 10, 2012CP: It could be a starting six. And it could be determined on what you mean when you say "everybody." Dallas Braden probably won't factor into the team's 2012 rotation. Of the guys currently available -- or close to ready -- here is how I see the rotation shaping up. Five-man (everyone healthy): Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Bartolo Colon, Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker. Six-man (everyone healthy): Add A.J. Griffin or Dan Straily, use Travis Blackley as a long reliever or spot starter. Remember this is the A's we are talking about, so it is doubtful everyone will ever be healthy at once. That is why depth is important. @caseyprattcsn are we going with a 6-man rotation now? v (@foursixthreeDP) August 10, 2012CP: The A's aren't admitting to going this route. It could be a beneficial course of action though. Brandon McCarthy benefits greatly from extra rest. Plus, the A's could limit the innings of rookie pitchers Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone this way. They have the talent to do it. @caseyprattcsn how close is Braden to returning? M V (@mvaccaro13) August 10, 2012CP: He has been throwing bullpens and mixing in all of his pitches lately, which is usually a sign that he is getting closer. Then he had a minor setback suffering a groin strain. Based on how deep the A's pitching staff is, the team will take their time with him. Once he gets back on the mound and throws some more bullpens without issue he could head to Arizona to pitch in simulated games. I just don't see him factoring into the A's starting rotation this season. @caseyprattcsn I agree with what you said to Townie on the show about keeping Cook as closer, but if you could choose someone else, who? Shay Lennon (@RealShayL) August 10, 2012CP: It is still Ryan Cook's job to lose. Bob Melvin says he isn't seeing anything fundamentally wrong with Cook on the mound so they are going to be patient. If he does lose the job, and I had to choose his replacement, (something they would never, ever consult me on) I'd probably go back to Grant Balfour. He has been pitching very well lately. He just recently had a 13-game scoreless streak snapped, and he ranks sixth in the A.L. with a .173 opponents batting average.E-MAIL:Hey Casey,
Do you think the As have lost chemistry since the Kurt Suzuki trade. Feels like it.
-MKCP: The day the A's traded Kurt Suzuki there were some sad faces in the clubhouse. The players were definitely not happy, but they said they would react similarly to anyone getting moved. Suzuki meant a lot to those guys, as a leader, mentor, and friend. That being said, most of them recognize that Suzuki got put in a great situation in Washington where he can play everyday. The team did what was best for him. The A's also believed it was Derek Norris' time. He has done a good job with the pitching staff and got to learn a lot from Suzuki. The A's have won 17 of the 25 games Norris has started. In July they won 13 of the 14 games he started. Baseball is a tough business and all of the guys know that. This move might have been a mutually beneficial one though. The clubhouse chemistry is still intact. Hi Casey,
Big A's fan here.I'd like to advocate flip-flopping Reddick and Cespedes in the batting order. Simply put, Reddick is not getting the job done with runners on base.Reddick is killing our rallies and I would like to see Cespedes bat 3rd now, Reddick 4th and Carter 5th.Your thoughts?- Jason L.CP: Saving the best for last. This is an interesting idea. There's no question both of these guys have been great for the A's this season. Would a flip in the order work? Reddick is batting .301 with 14 homers and 29 RBIs with two outs. His 14 two-out home runs lead Major League Baseball. He is only batting .167 with runners in scoring position though. Nine of Yoenis Cespedes' homers have come with runners on base. He is hitting .362 with runners in scoring position.Based on the stats I'd leave them where they are. The thought being that if anyone gets on base in the first, Cespedes then steps to the plate with a runner or runners on. Reddick batting fourth means he would actually bat more with runners on. His stats with RISP aren't good. Cespedes is hitting .402 since the All-Star Break and has a .468 on-base percentage since the break which is second bast in all of baseball. Would you really want him batting behind Cespedes? I'd rather see Cespedes batting with Reddick on, than the other way around.

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Rookie Matt Chapman quickly atoned for a baserunning blunder by hitting a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that sent the Oakland Athletics over the Mets 3-2 Sunday, ending New York's four-game winning streak.

With the July 31 trade deadline nearing and far back in the NL wild-card race, the Mets now start a 10-game trip, and there's no telling whether veterans such as Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda will remain on the team when it returns to Citi Field.

Marcus Semien and Khris Davis also homered for Oakland, helping Bob Melvin post his 999th victory as a big league manager. Semien connected on the sixth pitch of the game, and Davis hit his 28th home run in the fourth.

Michael Conforto hit his 19th homer of the season and fifth of the Mets' 6-4 homestand that followed the All-Star break.

Oakland led 2-1 when Chapman opened the fifth with a double and moved up on a wild pitch by Rafael Montero (1-7). But with no outs, Chapman wandered too far from third base and was picked off by catcher Rene Rivera.

After the Mets tied it on an RBI grounder by Jose Reyes, Chapman launched a drive with two outs in the seventh. Chapman showed pop in the minors, and has homered four times since making his major league debut last month, including a drive Saturday night.

The Athletics made another mistake on the bases in the ninth when Jed Lowrie tried to steal second — with pinch-runner Rajai Davis already there, resulting in an out.

Rookie Daniel Gossett (2-5) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He snagged a line drive by Curtis Granderson just above his head in the fifth, preserving Oakland's one-run lead.

Santiago Casilla, a possible trade target in the next two weeks, worked the ninth for his 16th save in 21 chances. After Wilmer Flores singled with one out, pinch-hitter Yoenis Cespedes hit a flyball that got fans hollering it might leave the park, but it was caught way short of the warning track.

The A's improved to 3-10 in interleague play, still the worst mark in the majors. The start of the game was delayed 61 minutes because of rain.

Despite the defeat, it was not a total loss for Montero. He was 0 for 28 at the plate in his major league career before lining a two-out single in the fifth. He broke into a big smile and the ball was thrown into the Mets dugout for safekeeping.

Montero then scampered to third when Conforto struck out on a wild pitch that bounced toward the New York bench. Granderson's bid for a tying hit was caught by the right-handed Gossett, who took off his glove, rotated his left shoulder to work out a kink, spit, tilted his hat and shook his head as he slowly walked off the mound.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Righty reliever Ryan Dull (strained knee) could rejoin the A's for the finale of the upcoming four-game series in Toronto. ... 1B Ryon Healy didn't start for the second straight game after getting hit in the head by a bad hop Friday.

Mets: Cespedes and INF Asdrubal Cabrera didn't start, with manager Terry Collins saying the veterans told him they could use a day off.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-0, 2.77 ERA) starts in Toronto vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (5-5, 6.15). Smith made his first major league start earlier this month at age 36.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (11-3, 3.37) has won seven straight starts. He has a 1.51 ERA in that span, striking out 50 and walking 10. He'll face Padres LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35).

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.