A's lineup: Crisp out, Barton in


A's lineup: Crisp out, Barton in

Programming Alert: Tune in to A's Pregame Live at 3:30 p.m. for an exclusive interview with Brandon Inge and analysis from Brodie Brazil and Fernando Vina.
DETROIT -- The A's are 0-1 on their crucial 10-game road trip through Detroit, New York and Texas. They will have a tough task trying to get back in the win column on Wednesday against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Here's A's manager Bob Melvin's lineup card.Oakland Athletics (84-63) lineupStephen Drew, SS
Seth Smith, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Brandon Moss, LF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Daric Barton, 1B
Derek Norris, C
Cliff Pennington, 2B
Instant AnalysisWith the Tigers starting ace Justin Verlander, the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young-award winner, the A's are stacking their lineup with lefties again to try and knock the righty off his game.Coco Crisp continues to recover from allergic conjunctivitis in both of his eyes. He was removed from Tuesday's game in the fourth inning and his eyes looked very red and puffy after the game.Note that Yoenis Cespedes is in center field. He rolled his ankle on Tuesday night in the seventh inning and had it heavily wrapped up after the game. When asked if he would be able to play on Wednesday he responded in perfect English, "every day."Brandon Moss will be starting in left field and Daric Barton will be manning first base. It is his first start since May 30. It is an interesting decision not to go with Chris Carter, but he is 4 for 31 in his last 10 games with 19 strikeouts. Barton is a left-handed hitter and Melvin was likely looking to get another southpaw in the order against Verlander. Top of the OrderSmith is 1 for 5 with a home run against Verlander. He is the only hitter on the A's to have taken the Detroit ace deep. It's unfortunate for the A's that Crisp cannot play. He's had a lot of success against Verlander hitting .364 (8 for 22) in his career against him. Heart of the OrderJosh Reddick is heating up at the plate. He is on a six-game hitting streak and has three consecutive multi-hit games. He is batting .375 (9 for 24) over his last six games. Reddick is 2 for 7 in his career against Verlander. Cespedes is hitting .400 with three homers and a .900 slugging percentage since September 11. It is going to take a lot to get him out of the lineup. Bottom of the OrderCliff Pennington is hitting .341 (15 for 44) over his last 14 games. After coming off the DL on August 7 he has started to turn his season around. Melvin has made it pretty clear that he is the starter at second base. Starting PitchersIf you are a fan of pitching you'll probably enjoy Wednesday's matchup. Cy YoungMVP Justin Verlander (14-8, 2.82 ERA) takes on Brett Anderson (4-1, 1.93 ERA). Anderson became the first starting pitcher since Dave Stewart in 1990 to start the season by earning a win in each of his first four starts.Verlander is making his 14th start at home and is 7-2 with a 1.70 ERA at Comerica Park.

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

Ryan Christenson has a reason to follow the World Series even more so than most years.

Christenson, who manages the A’s Double-A Midland squad, is also skippering the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. One of his players happened to be Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, if only for the briefest of periods.

Schwarber, as is well-documented, played in two AFL games as a quick tune-up before joining the Cubs’ active roster for the Fall Classic. It’s an unprecedented path, as Schwarber hadn’t appeared in a game for Chicago since April 7, when he tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee.

When he crushed a double off the right field wall in Game 1 against the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Schwarber became the first position player in major league history to get a hit in the World Series after recording zero hits during the regular season.

His preparations for the grand stage took place in the relative anonymity of the Arizona Fall League, and it presented some unique conditions for Christenson to manage under.

“It’s such a unique situation to see someone thrust into that after missing so much season,” Christenson said in a phone interview before Game 1. “To have a chance to be activated this time of year, it’s something special if he can pull this off. If he (sparks the Cubs), literally the guy can be a legend.”

Schwarber appeared in just two games for the Solar Sox, going 1-for-6 as a designated hitter. Christenson didn’t have much hands-on interaction with Schwarber — the Cubs had their own staff members on site helping him with treatment — but Christenson saw Schwarber’s swing rounding into form even in his brief time in the batter’s box.

“The bat speed is there,” said Christenson, who hadn’t met Schwarber previously. “I love watching him work in the cage. He’s got a great swing. I don’t think it would take someone of his caliber long to get his timing and pick up where he left off. It’s a simple swing.”

The Cubs asked Christenson to work Schwarber into the top of the batting order with the Solar Sox so as to maximize his number of plate appearances. They also asked one other favor.

“The only request they had was that I took it easy with him on the bases … not trying to score him from first base on a gapper.”

Schwarber’s mere presence in the Arizona Fall League created a delicate dynamic. The league is geared toward up-and-coming prospects who have yet to break into the majors, and Christenson said AFL officials were concerned about Schwarber dropping in and taking playing time away from those players.

Each major league organization sends at least six players to the AFL. Of those six, one is designated a “priority player,” meaning they must play at least four days a week, so innings can be tricky to spread around.

Adding to the sensitivity of the situation, the Solar Sox’s roster includes not only Cubs prospects but also those of the Cleveland Indians. Christenson needed to avoid a situation where Schwarber was stealing at-bats away from prospects of the American League champs — the team that Schwarber was training to try to help the Cubs beat.

But things unfolded smoothly, and Schwarber showed appreciation for getting the chance to drop in for a couple games.

“I’ll definitely be pulling for him,” Christenson said.

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

CLEVELAND — Left-hander Giovanni Soto has been claimed by the Oakland Athletics off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.

Soto was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for slugger Kyle Schwarber, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list following knee surgery in April. Schwarber was put on the World Series roster Tuesday and went 1 for 3 with a double, walk and two strikeouts in the opening 6-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Soto was traded to the Cubs from Cleveland on April 11 and was 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA in 33 relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa. He made his big league debut with the Indians in 2015 and appeared in six games and 3 1/3 innings.

Oakland claimed him Wednesday.