Things were more gray than sunny for the Athletics as they looked to take game two against Seattle and gain some ground on the recently defeated Angels in the American League West. Sonny Gray, after pitching two decent innings, gave up two runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings and left the game with the score of 6-0. Not until the eighth inning did the A’s drive a run across the plate and in the ninth it appeared that they had some magic left in them when Reddick represented the walk-off run but popped out and ended the game.
There were some good things to be seen at the game. Adam Dunn, who pinch hit for Alberto Callaspo in the 8th, knocked in a run on a single, Craig Gentry went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Derek Norris went 2 for 4 with two runs showing signs of life that we haven’t seen from him for a while. As you’ve probably guessed from the headline, though, I’d like to take a moment to chat about Alberto Callaspo.
Anybody that watched the game saw that headline and clicked the link just to comment on what an idiot I am. It’s sarcastic. Callaspo didn’t shine today. In fact, he hasn’t shined for a while. The most difficult K in baseball has become an almost guaranteed pop-fly out and his lack of speed on the base path is developing into a lack of interest on the field. Playing second base for most of Tuesday’s game, there were several plays that should have been covered by second base and, normally, would have appeared routine if Sogard were playing the position.
I understand the platoon system and I think it works most of the time but just like you leave Josh Donaldson at third every day regardless of pitching match-ups (he’s .289 vs lefties and .245 vs righties) maybe it’s time to leave Callaspo out of the lineup regardless of pitching match-ups and Tuesday was hardly a match-up appropriate to have him in the game. Against lefties, Callaspo is only hitting .197 compared to a .245 average against right handed pitchers. Sogard, on the other hand, is a clear platoon player with a .152 versus lefties and a .233 versus righties but with far superior defensive ability is it worth throwing Callaspo in the lineup for a 4.5% statistical advantage? Sogard’s fielding may have prevented two runs from scoring and although he’d be useless against the starter, you could count on him for late inning offense.
When a lineup is being set the best odds are to go with a hot hitter. In the absence of a hot hitter, go with the statistical advantage. When a player slumps, like Josh Reddick has, you can defend his spot in the lineup with the runs he prevents the opposing team from getting. When a player slumps and his defense stinks, he sits on the bench. Callaspo shows no hustle, no motivation and on the field seems uninterested in playing the game. If he gets hot or regains his discipline at the plate, a trait that he was acquired for, then he can DH but his days on the field should be last resort days and far and few between.
The Angels were pummeled by the Astros today and the A’s have nothing to show for it. Sure, they only lost by one run and put up a fight at the end and they didn’t lose any games in the standings but they are exactly where they were yesterday and now have one less day to overcome the deficit. This was a game they needed to win and a poor outing by Sonny Gray was enhanced by a poor showing at second base. As I like to do, here are some comments from fans regarding Callaspo’s play tonight.
Hopefully we find a way to get callaspo into the lineup tomorrow
Callaspo up to bat. The pitcher has been involved in both of his outs. Obviously he’s smoking the ball… — Jason Burke (@BaseballMiAmor) September 3, 2014
Callaspo almost seems uninterested
— Swingin’ A’s (@FS_SwinginAs) September 3, 2014
I’m amazed there is enough time between innings for Callaspo to reach his “fielding” position. — Fake Ray Fosse (@FakeFosse) September 3, 2014
Alberto Callaspo roughly translates to Daric Barton
— Gags (@FauxMikeGallego) September 3, 2014
I hope BoMel has learned something tonight about playing Callaspo. As in: Don’t. — newballpark (@newballpark) September 3, 2014
See, I’m not alone in this view.