A's lineup: Carter, Moss can coexist

A's lineup: Carter, Moss can coexist
July 17, 2012, 9:51 pm
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PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's Pregame Live begins at 6:30 on CSN California, followed by A's-Rangers, and A's Postgame Live immediately after the final out.

OAKLAND -- At 9-1 in July the A's are one of the hottest teams in baseball. With the American League West-leading Texas Rangers in town, Oakland is beginning a season- defining stretch of games. The A's are starting to look the part of a contender, but they'll have to prove they can hang with the big boys in the A.L. as they play two games against the Rangers, and four against the Yankees on this homestand.A's (46-43)
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Seth Smith, LF
Josh Reddick, CF
Yoenis Cespedes, DH
Brandon Moss, RF
Chris Carter, 1B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Brandon Inge, 3B
Cliff Pennington, SS
Instant AnalysisThe first thing that jumps out about Bob Melvin's lineup card is that Seth Smith is batting second again. With Coco Crisp bothered by a sore shoulder, the A's have been able to get Smith and Jonny Gomes time in the two-spot. Smith is a perfect two-hitter. He has a .361 on-base percentage, and walks in 13.1 percent of his plate appearances. I also like that Chris Carter and Brandon Moss are both in the lineup. I've been of the opinion that Carter shouldn't be platooned, and Moss deserves to be in there daily as well. They both provide serious pop. Last time they were both in the starting lineup they each went yard. The only A's batters that have faced Roy Oswalt are Seth Smith and Brandon Moss. Smith is 2 for 9 with two strikeouts against the veteran righty, and Moss is 1 for 8 with three strikeouts. Top of the OrderJemile Weeks is leading off again. He seems to be comfortable in that spot. He is also heating up a little bit, going 10 for 31 with five runs scored over his last seven games. Heart of the OrderYoenis Cespedes seems to have taken nicely to the designated hitter role. In his 13 games as the DH he is batting .346 (18 for 52) with four homers and 13 RBI. The Cuban-slugger is batting .571 (8 for 14), with two homers and a 1.643 OPS since the All-Star break. He is also batting .500 (14-28) with four doubles, a homer, and seven RBI against the Rangers this season. He could be primed to have a big series.
Bottom of the OrderThe A's will need some production out of the bottom of the order. Kurt Suzuki is starting to heat up, he is batting .400 (4 for 10) in his last three games. Brandon Inge has been struggling offensively with 21 strikeouts in his last 15 games. Cliff Pennington is batting .120 (6 for 50) over his last 17 games.

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