Athletics

Chad Pinder making strong case to A's for everyday starting lineup

Chad Pinder making strong case to A's for everyday starting lineup

OAKLAND – Chad Pinder is making it extremely difficult for A's manager Bob Melvin to keep him out of the starting lineup.

The A's utility star continued his breakout season Wednesday, going 2-for-5 with the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, as Oakland completed a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers with a 6-5 win.

"I'm just trying to stay short and put a good swing on a pitch that I can handle," Pinder said of his first career walk-off hit. "It was awesome. That was a big one for us, a three-game sweep, especially after taking three losses from the Blue Jays."

Pinder also got it done with his glove Wednesday, making a diving catch in left field to rob Shin-Soo Choo of a base hit in the fifth inning.

"He contributes," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Pinder. "If he has a slow offensive day, he contributes defensively. He gets big hits. He does timely things, as you saw again today. ... He's a smart player on top of everything."

Pinder is slashing .320/.342/.507 in 75 at-bats this season, with three home runs and 11 RBI. The 27-year-old started all three games this series against the Rangers -- two in left field and one at second base -- and proceeded to go 6-for-14 with three RBI and three runs scored.

"It's nice," Pinder said of his current hot streak. "When you're getting consistent at-bats, it gets you on a little bit of a roll. It's been good for me."

Pinder's .320 batting average leads the entire team and his .848 OPS ranks third, behind only Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien.

"The more he gets to play, the more he contributes," Melvin said. "You watch his day today, he didn't have great swings but he shoots a ball over there to right field with two strikes. In that at-bat, he's not trying to do too much.

"There are days that you feel really good about yourself and you feel kind of invincible. There are other days where maybe you're not feeling great and you do the best you can and identify how you're going to be pitched and not try to do too much. He's aware of all those things."

[RELATED: A's will get first look at phenom Vlad Jr. on Friday]

Pinder has already proven he can play just about any position on the diamond. Now he's proving he belongs in the starting lineup every game.

A's center fielder Ramón Laureano selected as AL Player of the Week

A's center fielder Ramón Laureano selected as AL Player of the Week

Ramón Laureano had himself a week, and MLB made sure to reward him.

The A's center fielder was named AL Player of the Week for July 15-21, as he hit .542 (13-for-24) with 10 runs, six doubles and two home runs as he led the A's to a 4-2 record during the span.

Laureano reached base in all six games and ranked first among AL players in runs, hits, doubles, extra-base hits and batting average. He ranked second in on-base percentage (.577) and slugging percentage (1.042).

Oh, and he did this as well.

Laureano is the third A's player to win the award in 2019, joining pitcher Mike Fiers (May 12) and shortstop Marcus Semien (June 10) this season.

[RELATED: A's reportedly inquiring on trades for Stroman, Minor]

On the year, Laureano is slashing .284/.334/.518 with 20 home runs and 53 RBI while playing his usual Gold-Glove caliber defense in center.

Not too shabby.

MLB rumors: A's have inquired on trades for Marcus Stroman, Mike Minor

MLB rumors: A's have inquired on trades for Marcus Stroman, Mike Minor

As the July 31 MLB trade deadline approaches, the A's are right there in the playoff hunt once again. 

Entering Monday, the A's currently are the second AL wild card team and sit just one game behind the Indians for the first slot. While they are 6.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West, there's no reason to completely count them out in the division race, too. 

With their eyes on October, could the A's be in the market to land a big name before the deadline? 

The A's "have inquired" on starting pitchers Marcus Stroman and Mike Minor, The Athletic's Jim Bowden reported Monday. Both pitchers are highly likely to be traded, as the Blue Jays and Rangers are expected to be sellers.

Oakland could be a perfect match. 

Though the A's recently acquired Homer Bailey in a trade with the Royals, the team could use more help in their rotation as they lack a true ace. Stroman or Minor would fill that role right away. 

Stroman, 28, earned his first trip to the All-Star Game this year. He's bounced back from a rough 2018 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.249 WHIP in 20 starts this season. 

Minor, 31, also earned his appearance in the Midsummer Classic this season. He boasts a 2.86 ERA and 1.163 WHIP. 

[RELATED: A's get taste of playoff baseball in series split vs. Twins]

Through the first half of the season, the A's have dealt with multiple injuries to their rotation and lost Frankie Montas to an 80-game PED suspension. Help should be on the way in Sean Manaea and A.J. Puk, but this team has seen firsthand how important depth is with their staff. 

Quietly, the A's have positioned themselves for another push for the playoffs. It's time they put their cards on the table and add an ace.