As the Oakland Athletics set out on this huge 10 game road trip one man stood out as one of the, if not the key player who could turn this trip from a disaster to a success. That man goes by the name of Josh Reddick. No doubt about it he has been an unbelievably pleasant surprise this season, as he was considered something of a throw in from the Boston Red Sox when they acquired Andrew Bailey from the A’s. He took Oakland by storm, capturing the admiration of the fans (especially the RF bleacher crew) with his charismatic personality and his stellar play on the field. But after peaking in June and July Reddick has really struggled since, and has only made it worse as he frustratingly tried to recapture that stroke.
It has been discussed ad nauseum amongst the Athletics faithful how Josh Reddick may come up big in some situations, but when the pressure is really turned up he fails to come through. It has been brutally evident during this road trip thus far, but the numbers show that this has been a serious issue for Reddick all season long. In 2012 so far Reddick has hit .301/.357/.546 in low leverage situations, meanwhile he hit just .200/.298/.360 in high leverage situations (stats from Fangraphs.com). It’s quite a striking difference, and really seems to show that when he’s needed the most he does not come through.
There are a lot of possible reasons as to why this happens, but my personal opinion is that he simply has fallen in love with the longball. Nobody expected this kind of home run outburst from Reddick this year, perhaps even Reddick himself didn’t. But now that it has happened I’m sure he’s quite fond of it.
Quite frankly, it needs to stop. There were far too many instances over the last 6 games that Reddick came to the plate with the chance to really give the A’s a much needed run with even a well placed fly ball, but he failed to do so. He struck out, popped up, grounded into a double play, or did something else that was of no use to the A’s. No more glaring was this issue than in Saturday’s epic loss to the Yankees in 14 innings. Not only was Reddick 0-7 that day, but he left a jaw dropping 9 runners on base during that game. Had he been able to come through just once that day, the entire disaster that was the bottom of the 13th may have never taken place.
I don’t want to pile on the guy, as much as it might seem like the opposite, but he needs to make a crucial adjustment at a crucial time. The A’s are counting on Josh to be the offensive leader alongside Yoenis Cespedes that we saw during the summer. I think he’s capable of getting right and helping to carry this team, but he simply needs to get out of his own way.