Athletics

A's manager Bob Melvin reminisces playing for Frank Robinson in Baltimore

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AP

A's manager Bob Melvin reminisces playing for Frank Robinson in Baltimore

Long before Bob Melvin became a manager, he was a major league catcher.

Melvin played 10 seasons in MLB, batting .233 with 35 home runs and 212 RBI. He spent three of those years as a member of the Baltimore Orioles and still looks back on that time fondly.

"Every time I come here, I think of my experiences when I got to play with the Orioles," Melvin told reporters. "It was three really, really fun years for me. ... It's one of the special places for me in baseball."

Melvin joined the Orioles in 1989 at the age of 27. In 257 games with the franchise, he hit .244 with seven homers and 92 RBI.

But most memorable for Melvin was playing for the late Frank Robinson, who managed Baltimore from 1988-91 and won the American League Manager of the Year Award in 1989.

"He was important in my career," Melvin said. "So heavy hearts with him passing away. ... Frank had a big impact on my career."

Robinson passed away in February at the age of 83 after a long battle with cancer. As a player, Robinson hit 586 home runs, 10th most in MLB history. A first-ballot Hall of Famer, he made 14 All-Star Games and won two MVP awards. He was also the first African-American manager in MLB history.

[RELATED: Frank Robinson dies at 83]

Melvin is now in his 16th season as a major league manager, spending the last nine years with the A's. A three-time Manager of the Year recipient, he is one of just six managers to win the award in both the American League and National League.

After taking two of the first three games against the Orioles this week, Melvin and the A's go for the series victory on Thursday.
 

A's vs. Indians lineups: Khris Davis out again to begin Cleveland series

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USATSI

A's vs. Indians lineups: Khris Davis out again to begin Cleveland series

The A's carry a three-game winning streak into Cleveland as they open a three-game series with the Indians on Monday.

Oakland will once again be without designated hitter Khris Davis, who has been battling a left hip contusion since crashing into the left-field side wall in Pittsburgh more than two weeks ago. The 31-year-old missed Saturday's game in Detroit before returning to the lineup on Sunday and going 1-for-4.

Davis' swing has clearly been affected by the hip ailment, as he is failing to generate the same torque we're used to seeing. He has also noticeably grimaced on multiple occasions.

Mark Canha will fill in as the A's DH and bat sixth in the lineup. Stephen Piscotty moves up to the cleanup spot and Jurickson Profar will bat fifth.

Left-hander Brett Anderson takes the hill for Oakland, looking for his fifth win of the season. He has found previous success against the Indians, going 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in five career starts.

Cleveland will counter with right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who has had his own success against the A's. In six career starts against Oakland, Carrasco is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. 

[RELATED: Piscotty proving he's A's X-factor]

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Indians game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 3:10. 

Oakland A's (22-25)

Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B 
Matt Olson, 1B 
Stephen Piscotty, RF 
Jurickson Profar, 2B 
Mark Canha, DH
Robbie Grossman, LF 
Ramón Laureano, CF 
Josh Phegley, C

Brett Anderson, LHP (4-3, 4.41 ERA)

Cleveland Indians (25-20)

Francisco Lindor, SS
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Carlos Santana, 1B
Jordan Luplow, RF
José Ramírez, 3B
Roberto Pérez, C
Carlos González, DH
Oscar Mercado, LF
Leonys Martin, CF

Carlos Carrasco, RHP (4-3, 4.18 ERA)

Stephen Piscotty proving he's A's X-factor, despite power-bat surroundings

Stephen Piscotty proving he's A's X-factor, despite power-bat surroundings

While sluggers like Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson garner most of the attention in the A's lineup, manager Bob Melvin has often said that Stephen Piscotty is truly the X-factor.

After a somewhat pedestrian start to the season, Piscotty is beginning to heat up, and that is great news for the A's. The 28-year-old went 2-for-4 with three RBI on Sunday in Detroit, including the go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning to give Oakland a 5-3 lead in a game suspended by rain.

Piscotty has now reached base safely in 15 consecutive games and has gone 8-for-18 with three doubles and four walks in his last five contests.

"I feel like, while I'm not at my best, I've still been able to operate and have some good at-bats," Piscotty told reporters Sunday. "Still a little bit of work to go, but I'm seeing the ball well. I was able to get a couple of walks the other day. That's big for me. That's a good sign that I'm seeing the ball well."

When Piscotty is at his best, he adds much-needed length to the Oakland lineup. He can be a serious power threat in the fifth or sixth spot in the order, as he showed last year, belting a career-high 27 home runs, 41 doubles, and 88 RBI.

For the season, Piscotty is now slashing .263/.337/.409 with five homers and 22 RBI. Last year, he got off to an even slower start than he did this season, hitting just .227/.286/.349 through the month of May.

Piscotty caught fire midway through the season and that's when the A's really took off last year. He amassed 24 home runs from June through September, ranking near the top of the league. If Piscotty can pick up the power in a similar way this year, the A's will take their production to another level.

[RELATED: A's starting pitching beginning to turn around]

To really understand Piscotty's value in the lineup, just look his offensive numbers in wins versus losses. In A's victories this season, Piscotty is slashing .337/.383/.523. That line falls to .188/.291/.292 in Oakland's defeats.

The A's hope Piscotty's recent success marks the start of an extended hot streak into the All-Star break and beyond. His bat makes Oakland's lineup nearly impossible for pitchers to navigate, with dangerous hitters lurking from top to bottom.