Programming note: A’s-Angels coverage kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
ANAHEIM – The Oakland A’s are absolutely wearing out opposing starting pitchers this month.
If you’re looking for reasons for why A’s hitters have been on such a tear, one stat is telling.
Starters have completed fewer than five innings in 11 of 22 games against Oakland in September. So in half of the games the A’s have played this month, they’ve gotten into the other team’s bullpen by the fifth inning or sooner.
That helps explain why the A’s have been so effective at adding on to the early leads they’ve built. Even the deepest bullpens in the major leagues become vulnerable when they’re pressed into such heavy use.
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Of course, the A’s began their hitting spree long before the calendar turned to September. Since the All-Star break, Oakland leads the majors in runs (315), home runs (84), slugging percentage (.457) and OPS (.793).
“It’s just fun to sit there and watch them swing the bats,” A’s hitting coach Chili Davis said. “All I ever look for is good at-bats. Sometimes you have a good at-bat and you don’t get a hit, but at least you give yourself a chance up there. And that’s all we’re looking for, good at-bats. There have been a lot of those.”
Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes tested his sore right shoulder by throwing Monday for the first time in more than a week, and manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes came out of it well. He is scheduled to serve as designated hitter Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
Melvin said he hopes Cespedes will be able to play the outfield in all three games against Seattle over the weekend and be ready defensively for the postseason.