Second Look: Who will emerge as the Oakland Athletics power hitter in the lineup?
The weather was great. It was about the only thing that was great in Oakland Thursday afternoon. Kendall Graveman pitched very well. He was able to pitch around some sloppy defense from both Marcus Semien and Danny Valencia. I was hoping that our left handed bats were going to pound Mat Latos, but the bats are still sleeping.
The bullpen has undergone a complete makeover, but it was a couple guys from the A’s system that looked really very good. Fernando Rodriguez and Ryan Dull were sharp as knives today. You can blame the schedule makers for the Liam Hendriks meltdown. The A’s will be playing ten games in a row to start the season and we have only two off days in the entire month of April. Sonny Gray‘s food poisoning and the flu that seems to be working its way through the club have led to some short outings by the starters. The bullpen was getting a little over taxed. I felt bad for Hendriks being the sacrificial lamb, but I don’t mind one bad inning in April if it means a stronger bullpen in August and September.
The White Sox big hitters Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier hurt Oakland in this series. When Graveman walked Melky Cabrera on four pitches to bring Abreu to the plate, most A’s fans were thinking “Uh-Oh.” Sure enough, Abreu broke up the shutout with a two-run shot. It was then that I realized that the A’s don’t really have an “Uh-Oh” hitter in the lineup. I can imagine Bob Melvin and Curt Young going over Seattle’s hitters and circling Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz and saying, “We’re not going to let these guys beat us. We’ll take our chances with Kyle Seager.”
I try to imagine an opposing manager going over the Athletics’ lineup. I don’t think Robin Ventura had any names circled on Oakland’s roster. Latos seemed to be pitching with way too much confidence. I know that someone will emerge during the season. It might be Khris Davis or maybe Danny Valencia. I still have faith that Josh Reddick is going to rediscover his power stroke. At this point in the season however, no one is thinking “Uh-Oh” about any of the A’s hitters.
So we dropped three out of four to the Chisox. I’m not too worried. Once the bats start clicking, there will be no easy outs in the Oakland Athletics’ lineup. But I am still waiting for an A’s hitter to step up and strike fear in the heart of the opposing pitcher.