A's manager Bob Melvin wasn't sure if he'd have Ramón Laureano in center field for Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels. Laureano is appealing a six-game suspension for his role in Sunday's A's-Houston Astros brawl, and Oakland expected to learn about his appeal before first pitch at Angel Stadium.
But Laureano started, and the A's were beyond thrilled to have him in the lineup for Wednesday's 8-2 win. He drove in a pair of runs and saved at least one, casually robbing a home run from Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Laureano out here casually robbing homers 😲 pic.twitter.com/5SavLaSY8s— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 12, 2020
Laureano was just as happy, but he toned it down -- as he usually does -- in a video conference with reporters after the game.
“Yeah, I mean I didn’t pay attention too much, I was ready to play since I woke up,” Laureano said of potentially not playing Wednesday.
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Laureano has a way of making these incredible plays and acting as if each were as simple as going grocery shopping. Is it as effortless as he makes it look?
“It’s never an easy play, I just get good timing on it and the outfield here is pretty short in center field," Laureano said. "I always feel good playing here.”
Laureano hadn't watched the game film yet, so he wasn't aware how impressively easy his catch looked.
Pitcher Chris Bassitt was. He pumped his fist in gratitude toward Laureano after each of the outfielder's highlight-reel plays.
“He’s a Gold Glove center fielder,” Bassitt said. “No doubt, but I mean, he won us the game defensively. I mean, I know we won it by a couple more runs, but he definitely saved us.”
Bassitt said balls can really fly in Angel Stadium, and playing during the day forces outfielders to work even harder. But that was no worry for Laureano. He thrives there.
A’s manager Bob Melvin gets to see it all unfold from the dugout.
“I enjoy watching him play, he’s energetic, he’s exciting, he’s a thrill a minute -- and we’ve seen those plays in the outfield,” Melvin said after the win. “This wall can be fairly easy, not that it’s an easy play, but he times it very well. He knows once he hits the warning track how many steps to the wall and he’s really confident doing it.”
Angels' manager Joe Maddon was pretty upset Laureano didn't start serving his suspension Wednesday.
Joe Maddon on Laureano: "We obviously wish he had started serving his suspension today. Those were great plays. He’s a good baseball player. He swings the bat well, works good at-bats, doesn’t chase, he’s good on defense. He was probably the biggest difference in today’s game."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) August 13, 2020
A total game-changer.
Whenever Laureano starts serving his suspension, the A's will miss him. Oakland can have a glimmer hope of knowing that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly's eight-game suspension was reduced to five when he appealed. Kelly threw at Astros players and mocked them as he walked off the mound.
“Since you’re telling me that, I will take that bait,” Melvin said after the game. ”Yeah, I would like it to be reduced, so we’ll see where it goes. I’m not in charge of that.”