As the Oakland Athletics’ miserable offensive outputs continue, one might wonder if a fix that can produce consistent offensive performances even exists. It’s no secret that the A’s offense isn’t as explosive as it was in the first half of the season, but that in no way means that they should be performing this poorly.
To find what might jump start the offense, look no further than last season. From July 30th through August 25th, 2013, the A’s were stuck in one of their worst slumps of the year. They lost 14 out of 25 games while getting shut out twice and scored 2 or fewer runs eight times. In that span, they averaged 3.73 runs per game, which was inflated by a 14 run outburst on August 9th.
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From August 26th on, they finished the season 24-9, scoring 6.1 runs per game. What helped jump start the offense? Manager Bob Melvin moved Josh Donaldson to the two spot and moved Jed Lowrie to the three spot. Last year Lowrie was a doubles machine so he was viable in the 3-hole, and Donaldson was the A’s best all around hitter, a great candidate for the second slot. Furthermore, the lineup received stability as Lowrie and Donaldson manned these spots in the order regardless of the opposing pitcher’s handedness.
Ever since the Yoenis Céspedes trade, I’ve believed Donaldson should be batting second. With the A’s current struggles, I think so even more. Swingin’ A’s staff writer Matt McHugh wrote about why Donaldson should be batting second a couple weeks ago, and it is something that I really think could help the team.
With Brandon Moss starting to heat up again, I would slot him third, whether it be against a lefty or righty. Although it is a smaller sample size, Moss continues to have a reverse platoon advantage this season. If he can return to his All-Star form, which it appears he’s headed in the right direction, he would provide stability and power to the 3-hole and let Donaldson slide up to the 2-hole.
Then, if it were up to me, I would platoon Jonny Gomes and Adam Dunn at designated hitter in the cleanup spot. Moss will provide sufficient protection for Donaldson, and Gomes/Dunn will do the same for Moss.
The 5-hole is where things may get complicated. Josh Reddick would be a great fifth hitter so long as he doesn’t try to do too much, (which is easier said than done for him) but I would slot him in there vs. righties regardless. Derek Norris would be a natural fit for the fifth spot against lefties, but he has been playing hurt and, because of that, has been struggling mightily. However, he is the best option at this point.
The offense has been struggling for far too long. Constantly using the same lineup with no improvements but always hoping something will eventually click, is, well, the definition of insanity. I’m in no way saying Melvin is insane, but something has to be done before it is too late. The A’s earned a huge series victory in Seattle over the weekend, but that is not enough. Oakland needs to build on it, and I believe reshuffling the lineup would be a great first step. See below for what I think the lineup should look like given the current injuries, and be sure to comment with what you think the A’s lineup should look like.
vs. RHP: 1. Crisp CF, 2. Donaldson 3B, 3. Moss 1B, 4. Dunn DH, 5. Reddick RF, 6. Lowrie SS, 7. Norris C, 8. Sogard 2B, 9. Fuld LF
vs. LHP: 1. Crisp CF, 2. Donaldson 3B, 3. Moss 1B, 4. Gomes DH, 5. Norris C, 6. Lowrie SS, 7. Reddick RF, 8. Callaspo 2B, 9. Fuld LF