OAKLAND -- John Jaso has made 42 of his 55 starts this season batting either leadoff or second for the A's, despite the fact that Jaso -- though not your stereotypical slow-footed catcher -- isn't exactly Coco Crisp on the bases. A main reason: Jaso, who has attempted just three stolen bases this season, has the top on-base percentage on the team at .387.
It may seem logical -- the more the A's have runners on ahead of their middle-of-the-order hitters, the more chances those guys have to drive in runs. But putting a hitter at the top of the lineup just because he gets on base was a progressive idea to Bob Melvin back when he was a bench coach in Milwaukee in 1999 under then-manager Phil Garner.
"Phil was really the first guy ... who would put the on-base guys up at the top of the lineup even if they didn't run very well," Melvin said. "I'd ask, why would you put him there? He doesn't run very well. (Garner) goes, 'What's the difference? He gets on base.'
"I think he was kind of ahead of his time as far as looking at on-base and certain numbers that you see nowadays looked at more so than when he was doing it."
Garner, now a special advisor for the A's, is in town this weekend and was hitting ground balls to the A's infielders during batting practice before they played the Angels on Friday. Melvin said Garner worked a lot with Josh Donaldson on the latter's conversion from catcher to third baseman, a move that has certainly paid dividends for the A's.
Garner also has clearly had a hand in shaping some of Melvin's managing techniques. Jaso is on the 7-day concussion disabled list, so he's not in tonight's lineup. So Melvin has Jed Lowrie batting second -- while Lowrie has attempted one stolen base all season, his .350 on-base percentage ranks third on the team.
Here's the full A's lineup against Angels right-hander Jerome Williams:
And the Angels lineup against Bartolo Colon:
* With Lowrie shifting up a couple spots in the order, Melvin has Moss hitting cleanup against the right-hander Williams, letting him break up the only two right-handed hitters (Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes) in his lineup.
* No updates on Jaso's condition, and Melvin said he doesn't expect anything new for the next couple of days. Left-hander Brett Anderson, meanwhile, is still on track to throw a bullpen session Saturday as he continues his recovery from a right foot stress fracture.
* Among the many impressive facets to Bartolo Colon's age 40 season so far, you can add the title of "stopper." Colon is 7-1 following an A's loss this year, including wins in six of his last such starts. He'll try to make it 8-1 tonight after throwing a complete-game shutout against the Angels last weekend in the A's 6-0 win.
-- Matt Kawahara