A's gearing up for lefty pitching in Chicago
MILWAUKEE -- A's manager Bob Melvin barely tweaked his lineup during his club's three-day stay in Milwaukee. That could also prove to be the case for four games in Chicago beginning Thursday.
Having faced three Brewers right-handers in a row, Melvin stuck with nearly the identical lineup each game, save for Seth Smith getting a start in right field on Wednesday while Josh Reddick enjoyed his first day off since returning from the disabled list. Smith went 0-for-2 in the 6-1 win over the Brewers before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Come Thursday, it'll be the right-handed hitters getting the bulk of playing time, with the White Sox set to throw at least three lefties at them -- possibly four, with righty Jake Peavy going on the disabled list.
That means Derek Norris, who sat for the third straight game on Wednesday, could be behind the plate for all four White Sox games.
"I typically don't do that, have one of them catch a day game after a night game, but we're going to try to maximize our matchups, knowing it could be four left-handers there," Melvin said.
The A's have done very well against southpaws this season, batting .264 against them, compared to .243 vs. right-handers, entering Wednesday.
Then there's Nate Freiman, who has simply dominated them. Oakland's first baseman is 18-for-53 (.340) against left-handers and just 1-for-18 when a right-hander is on the mound. So he'll rack up plenty playing time this weekend, though Melvin also plans on getting his counterpart, Brandon Moss, a few at-bats against lefties, too.
Moss entered the day batting .125 with 28 strikeouts over his last 25 games. But he hit a game-breaking homer off lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez on Wednesday, his first hit against a lefty since May 11.
"[Moss] will be getting some at-bats against left-handers," Melvin said. "He's going to get hot again. There's no doubt about it. His batting practices are better. He hit a home run here the other night. So there will be times he'll get some at-bats against lefties, but based on the fact Freiman has done well against left-handed pitching, he's going to get the brunt of the at-bats."