Bay Area Baseball

Follow the latest news and notes on the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics

June 11, 2013
A's, Yankees lineups: A's facing yet another left-hander

OAKLAND -- The A's face Yankees left-hander C.C. Sabathia in the teams' series opener at the Coliseum tonight, meaning manager Bob Melvin found himself writing out his right-handed lineup yet again this afternoon. It's the fifth game in a row the A's have faced a left-handed starter and the 11th time in their last 16 games. They're 7-3 in their last 10 games against a left-handed starter and 14-10 overall on the season.

That has meant inconsistent playing time and at-bats for the left-handed halves of the A's platoons, such as Brandon Moss, John Jaso, Eric Sogard and Eric Smith. But that figures to change soon. The A's face right-handers the final two games of this series (Phil Hughes tomorrow, Hiroki Kuroda on Thursday). After that they're scheduled to see a left-hander in the Angels' Joe Saunders -- and then they're lined up to see 16 right-handed starters in a row, Melvin said.

"I'm telling our lefties they'll start to be exiled tomorrow," Melvin said.

Melvin said he still plans on mixing in some starts for the right-handed hitters during that long stretch, including taking advantage of day games after night games to get Derek Norris starts behind the plate. Norris starts tonight against Sabathia, as part of this A's lineup:

CF Crisp
2B Lowrie
LF Cespedes
3B Donaldson
1B Freiman
DH Young
RF Reddick
C Norris
SS Rosales

And the Yankees lineup against Bartolo Colon

CF Gardner
2B Cano
1B Teixeira
DH Hafner
3B Youkilis
RF Overbay
LF Ichiro
SS Nix
C Stewart

* Donaldson has seemed to find a home lately hitting in the cleanup spot, but Melvin said he isn't locked into Donaldson being there against right-handed starters. Melvin said he likes breaking up his two big right-handed bats with a lefty in those situations (those bats being Cespedes and Donaldson), so you could see Donaldson hitting third or fifth.

"But at this point in time, what he's accomplished during the season, he's a middle of the order bat," Melvin said.

Donaldson is hitting .333 so far in June after a .330 mark in May and ranks second among American League third baseman -- behind the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera -- in batting average (.324), RBI (42) and walks (28). He's also leading the league with a .397 average in the seventh inning or later.

"He's being talked about as far as All-Star stuff goes," Melvin said, "and he should be."

* Hot as the A's have been -- losses in the last two games of their trip notwithstanding -- the Yankees have been on a good roll as well. New York has won seven of 10 and is coming off a four-game series against the Mariners in which they allowed a total of seven runs.

Whatever the context, a series against the Yankees always moves the needle with fans, and Melvin said that extends to the clubhouse as well. The A's (38-27) and Yankees (37-26) enter this series with the third- and fourth-best records in the American League as well, which adds some intrigue to a mid-June meeting.

"I think certainly in the American League, but even with interleague, there's 29 rivals of the Yankees," Melvin said.

"They're a good club on top of it. They've had a lot of injuries and now they're getting some of their guys back. They've held down the fort really well. But the Yankees are the Yankees. That's just the way it is."

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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