The Oakland Athletics offense is not what it once was. Though it has been better recently, it hasn’t been consistent in a long time. Before the All-Star break, the offense was performing so well that it wouldn’t matter if a key player started slumping — someone else would always step up. For example, while Josh Donaldson went 0-33 during a stretch in June, the team went 5-4 and scored 4.67 runs per game.
Those times are no more. Lately the A’s have needed everyone contributing in order to grind out enough runs to win. That means the A’s are going to need their hottest hitter, Josh Reddick, to step up big tonight.
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Reddick was just named AL co-player of the week for the final week of the regular season (along with teammate Sonny Gray) after batting .480 with two doubles, a triple, a home run, and seven RBIs. However, this week wasn’t an anomaly; it was part of a phenomenal September, and a solid second half. This month Reddick has hit .324/.360/.544 with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 14 RBIs.
Reddick also happens to have the best numbers of any Athletic against tonight’s opposing pitcher, James Shields. He is 7-for-22 (.318) off Shields with a double, a triple, three home runs, and five RBIs. This season, he’s 4-6 with a double, a triple, and two homers off Shields.
Jon Lester can only do so much. The A’s cannot afford to have Reddick cool off now. However, A’s fans know full well that Reddick’s production can tail off in a hurry. It seems to me that, whenever he gets really hot and realizes it, he tries to do too much and has trouble sustaining it. When he hits a few homers, he starts trying to hit one out with every swing and his production drops off.
Reddick has since made an adjustment. He gave the following quote on August 3rd, following his two home run game against Shields.
"“I’m not trying to hit [home runs] and that’s when I’m the best hitter I can be, when I’m not trying to hit the ball out of the park.” — Josh Reddick"
I believe Reddick will stay hot. He has the pedigree against Shields, and he has sustained his high level of production for the entirety of the second half. Furthermore, Reddick has homered in each of the past two postseasons, and he very well could leave the yard again tonight.
Josh is a gamer and I’m sure he’s learned the last few months that nothing in this great sport is guaranteed. It’s possible that the A’s don’t make the playoffs next year and he knows that. He’s going to leave it all on the field tonight. So long as he stays within himself and doesn’t try to do too much, he will have a great night at the plate.
"“I’ve been saying it for months: Two division titles, out game five, get in with the wild card, win the whole thing.” — Josh Reddick"
Let’s hope, Josh. Get us there.
I predict Lester shuts down the Royals in a low scoring affair, and Reddick has at least one RBI extra base hit off of Shields. A’s win 3-1.