The A’s exciting win last night was definitely a morale booster especially after the last week and a half of sweeps and near sweeps. Nineteen innings of battle eventually gave way to another walk off win by the Green and Gold. There were two negatives to come out of this game though. I will highlight the first part here and the second part in another post labeled part two.
April 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielderYoenis Cespedes
(52) hits a solo home run off of Seattle Mariners starting pitcherHisashi Iwakuma
(18, not pictured) during the second inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Yoenis Cespédes came off the disabled list Sunday and hit a game tying two run blast in the bottom of the ninth against the Baltimore Orioles. When he hit he knew it. He even stared at a little before he began to trot the bases. No one thinks twice when he stares at one and it actually gets out. However, over the last season and change Cespédes has played in the Major Leagues and with Oakland I’ve noticed and I am sure manager Bob Melvin has noticed an alarming pattern developing. This pattern could have cost the A’s the winning run last night in the bottom of the ninth.
There are some players in Major League Baseball who have been around long enough to hit a ball they think is gone and watch it go. However, rarely do you ever see that actually happen. That is because there is a level of respect among the player and the game. As well as the threat of the embarrassment and backlash, especially in a larger market such as New York or Boston.
Yoenis Cespédes hits bombs. If I were him, frankly, I’d probably watch them too. However, I am also not paid a significant amount of money to produce and score runs. The first part is sure to happen frequently this season. The latter may be a bit more of a struggle though.
Last night in the bottom of the ninth Cespédes hit a line drive shot off the left center field wall. I attended the game and was obviously in awe of the hit. However as soon as the ball hit the wall I look back assuming Cespédes was at second. When I was instantly realize he wasn’t I look over to see Cespédes just getting to first as the ball was thrown back in the cutoff man.
Even though the next batter got out and Cespédes’ position on the bases didn’t matter the principle of it stays the same. He should have been standing on second. This isn’t the first time this has happened either. This is a pattern.
Manager Bob Melvin always says play hard and get the extra 90 feet. His philosophy is to always play hard and never take anything for granted. When Cespédes hits doubles but only gets singles it affects the whole team negatively. It takes a runner out of scoring position and possibly frustrates teammates.
Even though it sounds ludicrous I would not be surprised to see Cespédes benched for a game. A team that struggles to score runs consistently and who’s pitching staff is lackluster at best in recent weeks can’t afford to give up a free ninety feet especially in meaningful games against division opponents.