The short 2020 season brings extra importance to riding the hot hands when possible, rather than waiting too long for slumps to end and small-sample trends to gradually regress to normalcy.
The Oakland A’s, coming off a frustrating evening at the plate on Monday, took that cue and shuffled their lineup Tuesday to better highlight their current top performers. It seems to have worked, on this night at least.
The A’s plated double-digit runs to defeat the Texas Rangers 10-3, evening the series at a game apiece and giving the green and gold their first-ever win at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington. Their 21-10 record once again gives them sole possession of first place in the entire American League.
Oakland’s lineup contained most of the usual names, just in a different order. Breakout star Robbie Grossman moved up from the sixth spot to second in the order, and RBI machine Stephen Piscotty shifted from seventh up to fifth. Meanwhile, the scuffling Ramon Laureano was dropped from second down to seventh, and Matt Olson went from the 3-4-5 heart down to sixth. Three of those names responded with productive games.
Piscotty drove in three runs with a double, Grossman drove in one and scored another, and Olson launched a homer and reached base three times, while Laureano took an 0-fer but still provided good defensive work in center field.
Two other hitters who stayed in their normal lineup spots also had big days. Leadoff man Marcus Semien matched Olson with a homer and three times on base, and pesky eighth-place hitter Tony Kemp repeatedly reached base and then came around to score three runs. On top of all that, catcher Jonah Heim made his MLB debut and recorded a hit, a walk, and a solid defensive showing.
On the other side of the ball, starter Sean Manaea completed five innings for his third straight appearance, allowed just one earned run (out of three total), and didn’t issue a walk for the fourth time in seven outings. The bullpen came in for its customary four scoreless, stress-free frames, without using any of their top setup men. And just like that, the A’s got right back on track to begin the second half of the 2020 campaign.
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