A's lineup: Reddick returns, Donaldson bats 2nd


A's lineup: Reddick returns, Donaldson bats 2nd

OAKLAND -- Josh Reddick's dental nightmare seems to have run its course. He is back in the lineup -- batting third and playing right field. He said he felt a lot better last night after visiting the dentist for yet another procedure. Oakland Athletics (63-55) lineupCoco Crisp, CF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Chris Carter, DH
Brandon Moss, 1B
George Kottaras, C
Cliff Pennington, SS
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Instant AnalysisAfter a career-high 4 for 4 performance Friday night Josh Donaldson is up to the second spot in the batting order, a huge vote of confidence from A's manager Bob Melvin for the young third baseman. Donaldson got two hits to left, and two to right last night. He was locked in at the plate. He credits his success to not over thinking things and treating his at-bats like the low pressure plate appearances in Triple-A where he has had success.
He is hitting .500 since being recalled from Triple-A. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the two-hole. Heart of the OrderYoenis Cespedes is hitting .373 since the All-Star Break. He is smashing high velocity fastballs.
Bottom of the OrderJemile Weeks is batting ninth. He is hitting .243 (9 for 37) in the nine-spot this season. He is starting to improve offensively in August.

Starting PitchersThe steady Bartolo Colon (9-9, 3.55 ERA) takes the hill for Oakland. Colon's three-game winning streak was snapped in Chicago after a rough five-run inning. He will be opposed by Corey Kluber (0-1, 8.56 ERA). Kluber is winless in his three starts for the Indians this season. He allowed six runs in his last start.

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A’s general manager David Forst says he has a stack of strongly worded letters from fans who grow frustrated with many of the team’s personnel moves.

That comes with the territory of running a major league front office. But Forst also said, during a wide-ranging interview on the latest A’s Insider Podcast, that honest critiquing must come from within office walls.

“You do want to do some self-evaluation and self-assessing,” Forst said. “What I don’t do, I don’t go back and second-guess decisions, whether it’s a trade or a signing. I don’t sort of hypothetically think, ‘Well, what if we hadn’t done this,’ because it’s not a good use of anybody’s time. What you do have to do is make sure the process that led to that decision is sound and a good one.”

Certainly one of the most scrutinized A’s moves of recent history was their signing of designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year $30 million contract in November 2014. That turned out to be a costly mistake, with Butler being released in September with one year left on his deal and the A’s still on the hook for roughly $10 million. Forst acknowledged how poorly that decision worked out but sticks by the initial motivation to sign Butler.

“Look, Billy Butler didn’t go the way we expected, and that’s one that gets brought up a lot,” Forst said. “But I think back to the time when we made that decision to sign him, and what we were projecting Billy to do. It was very clear what our team needed. Again, going into 2015, coming off the wild card that year, we still felt like this was a team that could compete for a division title. So all the things that went into the decision, ultimately I will stand by.”

Forst spoke frankly about several other topics during the podcast. Regarding fans’ frustration about seeing so many high-profile players traded:

“I’ve got a stack of letters on my desk, the substance of which I can’t repeat on the air,” he said with a smile. “… But there’s passion. And I know we have a fan base that cares, and that’s really a good place to be.”

Forst said the A’s definitely will pursue starting pitching this offseason, despite the fact that 1) he’s very optimistic about the crop of young pitching Oakland has developed, and 2) he believes Sonny Gray will bounce back from a poor 2016 season. The GM takes encouragement that Gray made a full physical recovery from a strained forearm.

“Am I going to get the Cy Young (caliber pitcher) from Day 1? I don’t know. But I think there’s a confidence that this was an aberration, this whole year, more than anything else.”

Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.

Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.

The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.