Should A's use same lineup for Game 3?
The top of Bob Melvin's batting order has struggled against Tigers starters Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. (USATSI)
DETROIT – Looking to jolt some life into his offense, Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin switched Josh Donaldson back to the second spot in the batting order for Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
Donaldson, the A’s leading RBI man this season, hit third in Games 1 and 2 with Jed Lowrie batting second. They are flip-flopped for Game 3 against Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez.
“Just mixing it up,” Melvin said. “We haven’t scored too many runs here, just trying to tweak it a little bit.”
Donaldson is 1 for 8 with four strikeouts in the ALDS and Lowrie is 0 for 7 with three strikeouts, but they aren’t the only ones off to a cold start. Leadoff man Coco Crisp is still looking for his first hit but drew three walks in Game 1.
Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick are both 1 for 7 and Moss has struck out six times in his eight plate appearances.
“He’s got 30 home runs and it’s not like he’s the only guy striking out,” Melvin said. “We have quite a few guys striking out, so there is probably a few guys that we need to stay patient with.”
Moss draws the start at first base Monday and Seth Smith is at DH, so other than the Donaldson/Lowrie swap, Melvin basically is trotting out the same lineup as Game 2. He said he’s stuck with Eric Sogard at second base partly for his defense and partly because he likes the option of switch hitter Alberto Callaspo off the bench.
After heavy rain hit Detroit on Sunday night, Comerica Park was splashed in sunshine Monday morning. The overcast skies returned about an hour before first pitch and the grounds crew had the tarp ready in case rain hit.
Right-hander A.J. Griffin (elbow tendinitis) played catch a couple days ago and was scheduled to do so again today. He would have to get through a heavy bullpen session with no issues to be considered for the AL Championship Series rotation should the A’s advance, according to Melvin.