Melvin to stack up lefties vs. Shields
KANSAS CITY -- A's manager Bob Melvin made out 138 different lineups during the regular season, a reflection of this team's many moving pieces. But in determining which of those are best suited for Tuesday's American League Wild Card Game matchup against Royals right-hander James Shields, expect Melvin to turn to a familiar formula.
The lineup figures to look a lot like the ones he used to close out the regular season in Texas, where Adam Dunn returned to the second spot for the first time since 2008. With leadoff man Coco Crisp able to get on base at a consistent clip for this team and distract the pitcher, Dunn has a good chance of getting a decent pitch to hit or draw a walk.
But Josh Reddick is also a likeable option here, since it would get Oakland's hottest hitter to the plate more. The right fielder hit .308 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 59 games following his return from the disabled list, after previously struggling to the tune of a .214 average. He's also a career .318 hitter in 22 at-bats vs. Shields.
Reddick has mostly hit down in the order, though, and would be an easy fit behind Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss.
One looming, and rather intriguing, question remains. Who will catch Lester? He's only ever thrown to Derek Norris in games, but Norris' arm is also a liability against a speedy Royals club -- he threw out just six of 68 runners in the regular season -- and Geovany Soto has been getting more starts of late, mostly for this very reason.
Coco Crisp, CF
Adam Dunn, DH
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Brandon Moss, LF
Josh Reddick, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Stephen Vogt, 1B
Geovany Soto, C
Eric Sogard, 2B
Jon Lester, P