Melvin, A's continue to look for offensive spark 

April 21st, 2019

OAKLAND -- Sometimes all you need to cure an offensive slump is a position player taking the mound. At least that’s a strategy A’s manager Bob Melvin has seen work in the past.

No, Melvin didn’t necessarily throw Kendrys Morales on the mound in the ninth inning of Saturday’s 10-1 loss to the Blue Jays in an effort to wake up the A’s bats -- it was more to give an overworked bullpen a break.

But Melvin has seen situations like the one Saturday afternoon spark an offense in the days after. He recalled a game in 2001 when he was bench coach of the Diamondbacks. Mark Grace came in to pitch for Arizona during a blowout, and while it’s a situation players never want to find themselves in, position players on the mound could help lighten the mood.

“There is some levity,” Melvin said. “When you’re having a tough day, you get toward the end of the game when we’re trying to get some guys at-bats and just get them ready for the next day, I think that eases the mood a little bit.”

Melvin is looking for something to get his club’s offense going. A’s bats have struggled through the first four games of a current eight-game homestand, scoring just five runs as they have been held to a .168 batting average, entering Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays.

It’s not to a point where Melvin is concerned. Coming off a year in which they scored 813 runs, fourth-most in the Majors, and most of the members from that 2018 lineup back this year, the track record gives him hope they will break out with a big game sooner rather than later.

“At some point in time, you get tired of saying the other guy pitched a really good game,” Melvin said. “It’s up to us to go out and turn the tables. “It’s not that easy. Sometimes it gets contagious, whether you are swinging it well or not. We’ve gone through five games where we haven’t swung the bats very well but all it takes is one game to get us out of that.”

UMPS CARE Charity Auction
Major League Baseball umpires will offer up more than 400 items that include priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences and VIP ticket packages during its 11th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at www.mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 10 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 29.

Some of the items include signed baseballs, jerseys and bats from players such as Nolan Arenado, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro Suzuki and Cody Bellinger.

All proceeds from the online auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs, which connect children and families in the communities in which the umpires work all season through the game they love.

UMPS CARE provides once-in-a-lifetime Major League Baseball experiences for critically ill kids, at-risk youth and military families, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for children battling serious illnesses at more than 15 pediatric hospitals in the United States and Canada, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children and financial assistance for families in the baseball community in need. UMPS CARE Charities is the official charity of Major League Baseball umpires.