Athletics

A's lineup: Rest for Reddick? Cespedes streaking

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A's lineup: Rest for Reddick? Cespedes streaking

OAKLAND -- The A's are a season-high five games over .500. They are 12-2 in the month of July, which is the best in the majors over that span. They also lead all of baseball with 10 walk-off wins. Having beat the Yankees the last two games they guarantee, at worst, a series split against the best team record-wise in baseball. Oakland Athletics (49-44) lineupCoco Crisp, CF
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Josh Reddick, DH
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, RF
Chris Carter, 1B
Brandon Inge, 3B
Eric Sogard, SS
Derek Norris, C
Instant AnalysisChris Carter is back in the lineup and he is starting against a right-handed pitcher. That is something I'd like to see more of -- just not at the cost of playing time for Brandon Moss. Josh Reddick is getting a day of rest, meaning he is the DH. That allows Moss to play in right field. It is interesting to note that Derek Norris is batting ninth and starting at catcher. Top of the OrderCoco Crisp hit a leadoff triple in the third inning. He ended up scoring on a Jemile Weeks sacrifice fly. Crisp is batting .388 (14-for-36) over his last nine games. Heart of the OrderReddick is batting .338 (27-for-80) over his last 23 games. After Friday's game he spoke out about how nice it is to have Yoenis Cespedes batting behind him. Cespedes is hitting his stride in a major way. He has a career-high eight game hitting streak and is now batting .304 on the season. At the beginning of the series I wrote about how Cespedes will be the difference maker. He certainly has been so far. He is 6-for-8 with a home run and two RBIs in this series. The last time the Yankees were in town Cespedes was injured and couldn't play. Carter is batting .357 with three homers and seven RBIs against right-handed pitching. I'd like to see A's manager Bob Melvin work him into the starting lineup more, but he is valuable as a pinch hitter as well. Bottom of the OrderEric Sogard is being given a big opportunity for everyday playing time at the major league level. He responded with a triple in his first game back with the team. Norris is in a 0-for-27 slump at the plate and might be pressing a little bit. He started out his big league career by hitting in seven of his first eight games. Starting PitchersJarrod Parker (6-4, 3.16 ERA) gets the ball for the A's. He has allowed 10 runs in his last two starts after allowing 10 runs total in his prior eight starts. Phil Hughes (9-7, 4.22 ERA) will be on the mound for the Yankees. He has a 6.08 ERA in his career against the A's.

Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

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Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

Ryan Christenson has worked his way up the coaching ladder in the A’s farm system, and on Thursday he was named the team’s new major league bench coach.

The announcement makes Christenson, 43, the right-hand man for manager Bob Melvin and essentially the No. 2 man in the dugout. It also settles a position that was in flux over the course of the 2017 season. Mark Kotsay began this past season as bench coach but stepped away from the team in June to be with his family after his daughter, Sienna, suffered a serious eye injury.

Kotsay is expected to remain with the big league club in some form of non-everyday role. Chip Hale finished the season as bench coach but will now switch back to third base coach, a position he originally was hired for leading into the 2017 season. Hale also coaches Oakland’s infielders.

“At some point in time we knew Ryan was going to be here,” Melvin said. “He went through all the classifications (managing in the minors). He did well with a young group. It’s a good fit bringing him in, and he’s ready for the bench coach role. He’s done a lot of managing.”

Though the bench coach works in closest tandem with a manager throughout the game, Melvin also noted the importance of having a third-base coach that thinks right along with him and is on the same page. From that standpoint, he said having Hale in that role is important.

“Chip’s so good at third, that even though I’m used to having him on the bench, it’s tough not to use him (at third),” Melvin said. “Certainly this isn’t a demotion for Chip.”

It’s the first appointment on a major league staff for Christenson, who has spent the past five seasons managing in Oakland’s farm system, starting with low Single-A and working his way up to Triple-A Nashville this season. He led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in 2015-16, and his teams went 391-307 (.561) over those five seasons.

The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff will return intact in 2018. That includes pitching coach Scott Emerson, who took over that role midseason after the firing of Curt Young, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Like Christenson, Emerson and Bush both were promoted from within the farm system to their eventual spots on the big league staff.

All three men have extensive history coaching the large group of young players that are establishing themselves as the A’s core, and that’s a factor worth keeping in mind when evaluating the makeup of this staff.

Emerson, who assumed Young’s duties in June, will return as pitching coach despite the A’s staff posting a 4.67 ERA, highest by an Oakland staff since 1999. A’s pitchers also surrendered an Oakland-record 210 home runs.

“Similar to Ryan, he knows everybody, what we have here and in the minor leagues,” Melvin said of Emerson. “He’s been a good fit here and continues to be a good fit.”

Bush oversaw a group of hitters that showed improvement as the season wore on, scoring the fifth-most runs in the American League after the All-Star break. The A’s set a franchise record for strikeouts – in line with the rise in whiffs throughout the majors -- but also hit the fourth-most homers in franchise history.

Melvin’s staff is rounded out by first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Garvin Alston and assistant hitting coach/catching coach Marcus Jensen. Steve Scarsone, who filled in as interim third base coach from June through the rest of the season, will resume his duties as a traveling instructor throughout the farm system.

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

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Twitter @KatieUtehs

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

Young Athletics fan Loren Jade Smith is among the thousands of people affected by the Northern California wildfires. Along with his family's home, the fire storm took his most valued possession -- his A's memorabilia collection. 

In his disappointment, Smith wrote a letter to the A's that has since gone viral. 

After the letter was shared throughout the Twitterverse, A's President Dave Kaval said the team would reach out to Jade and his family to replace his memorabilia. 

And since Kaval's announcement, the A's community of fans has responded with offers to send the young fan some memorabilia. The A's have even set up an address where fans can send Smith their gifts.