The A’s might not go through a worse day in the 2020 season than the one that transpired Saturday.
Semien was scratched with left side soreness just minutes before the start of Saturday’s second game of a doubleheader against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. The club will know more about the severity of the injury on Sunday after receiving results of his MRI.
“He felt it a little bit during the [first] game,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the A’s 6-3 loss in the second game on Saturday night. “He went to warm up in the cage and was struggling with it so we took him out. He’s seeing a doctor and getting an MRI. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
Semien’s late scratch snapped a streak of 276 consecutive games started, which was the second-longest streak in Oakland history (347 by Alfredo Griffin, April 9, 1985-April 30, 1987). He entered the day 7-for-13 with a double, home run and two RBIs over his previous three games, and he's slashing .229/.285/.379 with five home runs, 12 RBIs and 19 runs scored in 33 games this season.
“We had to scramble a little bit,” Melvin said. “We’ll get it done how we can. But this is a tough one for us.”
Establishing himself as arguably the top defensive third baseman in the game, Matt Chapman was assigned his first career Major League start at short in place of Semien.
The position is not foreign to Chapman. The two-time Gold and Platinum Glove Award-winning third baseman received plenty of playing time as a shortstop in college at Cal State Fullerton before the A’s drafted him in 2014. Chapman’s previous appearance as a shortstop came at Double-A Midland on June 12, 2016, which coincidentally was also the second game of a doubleheader.
Chapman handled the position well and also performed well at the plate, smashing a laser solo shot off Zack Greinke a screaming 115.9 mph off the bat, which qualified as the hardest-hit homer by an A’s player since Statcast began tracking in 2015.
“Chapman did a really good job at shortstop,” A’s starter Frankie Montas said. “He’s the type of guy that no matter what position you put him at, he’ll do his best. But of course I want to see Semien there.”
With Chad Pinder -- the only other player on the roster with extended experience at shortstop -- currently away from the club to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, Chapman could get another start at shortstop on Sunday in the series finale against Houston. Utility infielder Vimael Machín filled in at third base on Saturday night.