OAKLAND -- After much speculation, the Oakland Athletics Opening Day lineup has been posted. As hinted, A's manager Bob Melvin is going with a lefty heavy unit against right-handed pitcher Felix Hernandez. Expect the A's skipper to play the match-ups frequently this season.
Oakland Athletics Opening Day lineup
Coco Crisp CF
John Jaso C
Josh Reddick RF
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Jed Lowrie SS
Brandon Moss 1B
Josh Donaldson 3B
Seth Smith DH
Eric Sogard 2B
Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes have been batting back-to-back in the third and fourth spots consistently all spring. It is a bit of surprise to see Jed Lowrie batting before Brandon Moss, who has hit fifth most of the spring.
John Jaso is an ideal option in the two hole. He has a career .368 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching, and has a wealth of knowledge about Hernandez. As a member of the Mariners, Jaso caught Hernandez' perfect game in 2012.
Top of the Order
Coco Crisp will be the A's leadoff hitter. His speed makes him an ideal top of the order hitter. He likes to get things started early.
Crisp has faced Hernandez a team-leading 49 times. He has a .204 average, two RBI, three walks and 10 strikeouts against him.
Heart of the Order
Cespedes vs. Hernandez is one of the most intriguing match ups in Major League Baseball. So far, Cespedes has had the edge. He is hitting .333 (4 for 12) with one RBI against the Mariners' ace. The sold-out Oakland Coliseum crowd would be wise to drop whatever they are doing to watch these two each time they face off.
Brandon Moss emerged as one of the A's best hitters in 2012. He hit .291 with 21 home runs in his first season in Oakland. Can he do it again? The numbers suggest he can. After getting called up on June 6, Moss was actually one of the most reliable power hitters in all of baseball.
Bottom of the Order
Some may be surprised not to see Chris Young in the Opening Day lineup, but Seth Smith is a career .308 (4 for 13) hitter against Hernandez. Melvin chose to load up his lineup with lefties, as a result Smith and Sogard get the start.
Brett Anderson will be on the mound for the A's. It is his first Opening Day assignment. Anderson is 7-3 with a 1.76 ERA in 13 career starts against Seattle. Oakland has used eight different Opening Day starters in the last eight seasons.
Oakland has squared off against Hernandez and the Mariners in three consecutive seasons and they've been defeated by him each time. Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young-winner, is 13-6 with a 2.82 ERA against the A's.