Is it just me or did I post an article about 24 hours ago that detailed the struggles Josh Reddick and all of us have endured this season. Nope, not just me… I spent a portion of my evening last night researching Reddick’s numbers this season and coming to the conclusion that he was being passive at the plate and putting himself in poor hitter’s counts, thus drastically hampering his production (have a look-see here). So call it reverse psychology, or call it a good ol’ fashioned troll job by Reddick himself directed at yours truly, but he unleashed a barrage of offensive output this evening in Toronto that the A’s haven’t seen in nearly a decade since the Holy Grail himself Erubiel Durazo dropped three homers upon the Baltimore Orioles in 2004.
Jul 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick (16) hits a home run during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Reddick’s outburst came at the perfect time for the Athletics, who have been battling a case of bat slumber over the last month or so. The A’s got started in quick fashion when a Coco Crisp single and an Eric Sogard walk led to the first big blow of the game on a no-doubt homer by Jed Lowrie. Yoenis Cespedes followed suit with a line drive home run of his own to give the A’s an almost instantaneous 4-0 lead against the Blue Jays and Esmil Rogers.
They would add two more runs in the second inning on an RBI single from Coco Crisp and an Eric Sogard sacrifice fly. Reddick would join the party in the third inning with the first of his three home runs. He would hit his second in the 5th inning, perhaps the most impressive of the three, to the opposite field. The exclamation point came in the 6th inning when Reddick launched a three run bomb to right field. The A’s would tack on a few more runs in the late innings.
On the mound tonight was Jarrod Parker, who has become notorious for his first inning struggles this year. He managed to work a clean first inning tonight, but wouldn’t be so fortunate in the second inning this time around. A Brett Lawrie RBI double on an ill-fated diving play from Coco Crisp in center field opened the door, and Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes added the other two RBI in the inning. This cut the A’s lead to 6-3, but that was before Josh Reddick unleashed his fury on the Blue Jays. Parker would settle down nicely, and work through six solid innings, allowing just those runs, he surrendered 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. Dan Otero worked a scoreless 7th inning, walking one. Pat Neshek came in for his mop up shift but simply couldn’t get the Blue Jays out, he gave up 3ER in 0.2 innings, including home runs by Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus. Jerry Blevins cleaned up Neshek’s mess and worked a scoreless 9th inning to seal the 14-6 win.
The highlight of the night of course has to be Josh Reddick, who has been as mysterious at the plate as the pitches being thrown to him have been in his eyes. It’s been tough to watch, especially in big moments. It’s just one game, but if there is any chance that this is a sign Reddick could start to come alive then it would be a tremendous addition for the A’s. With the Texas Rangers acquiring Alex Rios to replace Nelson Cruz, a suddenly productive Josh Reddick would be every bit as significant. Also noteworthy is Eric Sogard, who extended his hitting streak to an active MLB best 13 games. Looks like the two players I’ve spent the most time criticizing may be finally pulling their weight.
The Rangers came back on the hapless Houston Astros tonight, so the two teams remain tied atop the AL West for another day. Tomorrow represents a big day for the Athletics, as their top pitching prospect Sonny Gray will be making his first MLB start against the Jays. He’ll be opposed by the tricky lefty Mark Buehrle, who shut down the A’s offense last week in Oakland for seven innings. The A’s will hope they saved some runs for the rest of the series at the Rogers Centre, this is the time to start rebuilding some momentum.