Oakland A’s: Chad Pinder could have important role in first round
By David Hill
Although he may not be in the starting lineup during the first round, Chad Pinder can still be an important player for the Oakland A’s.
Chad Pinder never really got on track this year. Between injuries and his struggles with the bat, he produced a .232/.295/.393 batting line in his 61 plate appearances, hitting two homers and three doubles. A two week stint on the Injured List cost Pinder much of the last part of the season, but he was able to return on Sunday, notching a hit in three plate appearances.
With the A’s set to face the White Sox in the first round, those three plate appearances may appear to be the last ones that Pinder would receive for a few days. The White Sox rotation includes Dallas Keuchel, who could give Pinder a chance to start a playoff game.
But the White Sox bullpen is a different story. Jace Fry has been a respectable part of the Chicago bullpen, although he has struggled with his command this season. Aaron Bummer has been one of the more reliable arms in the White Sox bullpen over the past couple of years. And phenom Garrett Crochet, the 11th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, has allowed just three hits in six innings, striking out eight batters.
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Meanwhile, the A’s starting lineup has several left handed bats. While it is unlikely that Matt Olson would be lifted for a pinch hitter, Tommy La Stella, Tony Kemp, and Jake Lamb are also lefties. Lamb and Kemp in particular have not fared well against left handed pitching over the course of their careers.
Enter Pinder. Despite his struggles this season, he has been a solid option against left handed pitching over his career, posting a .258/.326/.442 batting line with 19 homers and 23 doubles in 482 plate appearances. He has also displayed solid contact skills, with 39 walks and 119 strikeouts.
That ability to hit left handed pitching, and his general versatility, can lead to an opportunity for Pinder in the first round. He could end up getting plate appearances in crucial moments, coming on as a pinch hitter against those lefty relievers. It may not be hyperbolic to say that a game could come down to his bat.
Chad Pinder may not be in the Oakland A’s starting lineup during the postseason, but he can still play a key role. His ability to hit lefties, and play different spots on the diamond, could make him an important part of the roster.