A's Reddick awarded Gold Glove

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A's Reddick awarded Gold Glove

OAKLAND -- Gold Glove voting is an imperfect science. The Major League managers and coaches who vote on the award don't often take the time to look at all the newfangled defensive metrics and statistics. It is an award commonly given based on reputation, and intangibles. Sometimes one highlight reel catch or play that is replayed over and over ad nauseam is enough to stick in the minds of the voters.Fortunately, for Josh Reddick, he made full-extension diving catches, full-speed sliding snags, crashed into walls with the reckless abandon of a Lucha Libre wrestler, and backed it all up with a high-caliber howitzer for an arm that delivered baseballs with laser precision all season long. Reddick is the 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove winner among American League right fielders. He becomes the first Oakland Athletics player to win the award since Eric Chavez in 2006. He beat out Royals right fielder Jeff Francouer, and Indians' right fielder Shin-Soo Choo for the honor. He didn't give them much of a choice. Francouer may have led all Major League outfielders with 19 assists -- Reddick had 15 -- but he never scaled a wall like Spider-Man to make a catch like Reddick did on July 25, in Toronto. He never knocked himself silly making a game-ending grab like Reddick did when he caught a ball against the Orioles July 27, in Camden Yards. Reddick led all American League right fielders with a 17.7 UZR, a stat that measures defensive range.He did it because he takes a WWE approach to defense. He will catch the ball by any means necessary, or get hurt trying. "It doesn't matter if there's a brick wall or a padded wall there," Reddick told me on September 12 in Anaheim. "As long as I catch it then it doesn't matter how much pain I'm going through."Reddick's 15 outfield assists tied him for third most in a single season in Oakland history, and ranked third in the AL. It may be called the 'Rawlings Gold Glove', but his golden arm was a huge weapon for the A's. To Reddick's disappointment, the league began to take notice of how deadly accurate and quick his right field rifle was, and they stopped running on him. That's why stats don't tell the whole story when it comes to defense. Reddick committed five errors in right field, more than Choo (2), and Francouer (4), and his .983 fielding percentage also ranked him below Choo (.993) and Francouer (.985). The fact that Reddick beat out the other two finalists shouldn't come as a huge surprise, though. Well before voting began Reddick had a groundswell of support. "I've said he is playing Gold Glove right field and he has all year," A's manager Bob Melvin told me back in September. "It's what we've seen all year," starting pitcher Tommy Milone said earlier this year. "He hustles to anything that's close to him. He lays out, gives it his full effort and usually he'll come up with the ball."Reddick's efforts meant a whole lot to a team that at times had five rookies in the starting rotation. Their faith in him to get to balls in right field helped them stay at ease and gave them the confidence to pitch to contact. His teammates often raved about how his defense remained consistent all season long no matter what was ailing him. Sometimes when a player goes into a slump they can take their troubles out onto the field as well. Reddick never did that, even when he was in his worst rut at the plate. There's a running joke that the best offensive player by position often gets the award. Reddick certainly didn't hurt his case with a career-high and AL-leading 32 home runs by a right fielder. He may not have gotten the World Series trophy he wanted, but this hardware will look pretty nifty on his mantle nonetheless. Reddick now gets to go to a Rawlings Gold Glove ceremony on November 9 in New York to pick up his award. The event will be hosted by Joe Piscopo and Jerry Seinfeld will be providing the entertainment for the evening. Not bad for a kid that came out of nowhere to emerge as one of the most talented players in the game. Also, if you don't think gold is enough for the A's right fielder, you can go to Rawlings.com to vote on a Rawlings Platinum Glove award that will be given to one of the Gold Glove winners.Brandon Inge won't be in the running. He was named a finalist for the Gold Glove at third base, but was beat out by Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre. It is the fourth time Beltre has won the award. Inge had an excellent defensive season at the hot corner, but he only played 76 games at third base. In a game on August 11, Inge made a diving attempt for a foul ball and dislocated his right shoulder. He popped it back in place and drove in the go-ahead run later in the game. That shoulder injury ended up ending his season. Inge is now a free agent.

Reddick gets best of old roommate Healy, and the A's

Reddick gets best of old roommate Healy, and the A's

HOUSTON — Enduring a five-game losing streak is tough enough on its own.

Watching a former teammate play a part in prolonging the misery is worse.

Josh Reddick wasn’t the most dominant player on the field Friday for the Astros, but he picked his spots to make his presence felt, and that added a little salt to the wound for the A’s in a 9-4 defeat that was their fifth in a row. They’ve now lost 10 straight times to Houston.

Reddick was mad at himself after not making the play on Ryon Healy’s double in the sixth inning. He got another chance in the eighth and robbed his former roommate with a terrific catch as he slammed into the wall to end the inning. That stranded two runners and preserved what was a 7-4 lead at the time.

“Any time you’re playing against your former team you wanna do well against them. Beating them makes it a little bit sweeter,” Reddick said. “But when you can make a catch against a guy you became pretty good buddies with in a tight situation, it adds more to that.”

After Healy got his first big league call-up last July, and before the A’s traded Reddick to the Dodgers on Aug. 1, Reddick invited the rookie to move into his house as he cut his teeth in the bigs.

“I’m going to be giving Ryon a lot of crap, I guess you could say,” Reddick said afterward. “He gave me a little signal and finger wave and shook his head on the (double). I got him back and a little bit of payback.”

Reddick, who signed a four-year $52 million free agent deal with Houston in the offseason, was a pest to the A’s in more unconventional ways too. Twice he reached base on catcher’s interference calls when his bat hit the mitt of Stephen Vogt, another of Reddick’s closest friends on the A’s. It happened in the bottom of the first and contributed to the Astros’ three-run rally that tied the game off Jharel Cotton after the A’s had grabbed a 3-0 lead on Khris Davis’ three-run homer.

Vogt talked about both interference plays with mild disgust, more upset with the situation itself than Reddick personally.

“Typically I’m pretty far back behind the batter," Vogt said. “Reddick, I guess, has a pretty long swing when he’s trying to go the other way. … It’s just one of those freak things that obviously I’m not real thrilled about. It’s just frustrating. You don’t see it very often. It’s not really how you swing the bat typically, but he does a good job going the other way, and it’s on me. I’ve gotta make sure I’m far enough back and not reaching for the ball.”

As for Reddick’s important catch in the eighth, Vogt said:

“It’s hard to see him in a different uniform, and I know he loved it here as well. It’s hard to see him playing against us 19 times. To see him making catches like that, it’s not very much fun when he’s not wearing green.”

However, the A’s have more pressing issues than getting stung by old friends. They’ve struck out 57 times over the past five games, and with each day that passes, it’s increasingly clear how much they miss the speed and playmaking ability of center fielder Rajai Davis, as well as the offensive production of shortstop Marcus Semien. Both are on the disabled list, Davis for the short term with a strained hamstring and Semien likely for a couple of months due to wrist surgery.

Cotton wasn’t sharp, allowing a career-high 10 hits and failing to protect two early leads he was given. Those are the growing pains that will come for a rookie pitcher. What the A’s can’t afford are three-error nights like they had Friday and continuing to whiff at their current rate.

“When we went through our winning streak, we played real clean games, and now we’re a little shoddy,” manager Bob Melvin said. “There’s a psychological play that goes with that. When you’re not making plays and giving extra outs, it makes it tougher on pitchers and tougher mentally.”

Instant Replay: Davis goes deep twice, but A's get sloppy in loss to Astros

Instant Replay: Davis goes deep twice, but A's get sloppy in loss to Astros

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – Khris Davis’ heroics only stretch so far.

The A’s slugger did all he could to keep his team in Friday night’s game, slamming two homers and driving in four runs, but it wasn’t enough as Oakland fell 9-4 in the opener of a three-game series against the Astros, who have won 10 in a row over Oakland.

That’s five losses in a row for the A’s, who got off to the kind of start Friday that suggested they might break back into the win column. With two aboard, Davis lit into a pitch from Charlie Morton and drove a three-run homer to right-center in the first.

But the early offense wasn’t enough to boost A’s starter Jharel Cotton, who gave up a career-high 10 hits and six runs over 4 1/3 innings. Only three of the runs were earned, due to three A’s errors, including a bizarre two catchers’ interference calls on Stephen Vogt, both with former teammate Josh Reddick batting.

Nevertheless, Cotton gave up too much hard contact. Davis’ second homer, a solo shot to right in the third, put the A’s ahead 4-3, but the Astros would come back to tie it in the fourth and take the lead for good with two runs in the fifth to send them on their way.

Morton struck out a career-high 12 over seven innings. All told, the A’s whiffed a total of 14 times, giving them a staggering 57 strikeouts over the past five games alone. Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis and Yuli Gurriel all drove in two runs for the American League West-leading Astros.

Starting pitching report

Cotton (2-3) heaved 30 pitches in a three-run first that had to be frustrating for him. It included the first of two catchers’ interference calls with Reddick batting. Cotton also got called for a balk when the ball slipped out of his hands while he was on the mound. With two outs, Carlos Beltran beat out an RBI infield single to the left side. Then Gurriel singled home a run and Gattis lofted a fly ball down the right field line that landed just fair and went for a run-scoring ground rule double. Cotton was trying to keep it a tie game in the fifth when Gattis got to him for an RBI single past Adam Rosales at shortstop to put Houston ahead 5-4.

Bullpen report

Cesar Valdez gave up three runs over three innings, as the Astros padded their lead in the late going.

At the plate

Davis’ two homers gives the A’s 29 for the month of April, the most they’ve hit in April since 2006, when they had 34. But the strikeouts are a mounting problem, and the A’s need to start finding more consistent sources of offense.

In the field

Reddick hurt the A’s with two hits and reached base four times overall, as he became just the seventh player in major league history to reach twice in one game on catcher’s infernece. But he also made an outstanding catch in right to rob Ryon Healy with two aboard in the eighth.

Attendance

The announced turnout was 28,472.

Up next

Andrew Triggs (3-1, 2.42) will look to rebound from a shaky start against Seattle, and he’ll be opposed by Joe Musgrove (1-1, 5.91) in Saturday’s 4:10 p.m. game.