The M's lineup seemed 9 stone-cold killers long, and I'd forgotten about one of them until they showed a shot on the bench. Of Mitch Haniger, after his 4th-inning blast into the LF stairs, sitting on the dugout bench chatting with Jean Segura (who couldn't make the starting 9, apparently....)
Mitch Haniger was hitting .359/.419/.641 (!) in the leadoff spot, before Monday night when he crushed a long line drive single to RF and a long home run to left. Dr. D isn't much for batting lineup strat-er-gees, except for one thing. Sometimes players LIKE a particular spot, or don't.
Most of us are old enough to remember Tony Larussa putting Dave Henderson in the 2nd spot for no good reason -- Henderson wasn't close to one of the A's best hitters -- except for one thing. Henderson liked fastballs and hated bendy things. And Rickey in front of him increased the fastball count.
Could be that Mitch enjoys hitting first. The PA's are up to 90 now, closing in on 100, and he's still way over 1.000 for the slot.
Overall he's got 23 homers and 84 RBI, leaving him at a projected 28-102 on the year.
Wade LeBlanc, staked to an early 6-0 lead, had but to pitch his normal game. Pressure on the A's here in this series, remember? He went to his routine game, high focus, fastballs to spots. Cutter to save him when in any trouble. Changeup as the putaway weapon. Final line 7.0 ip 3 hits 0 runs 0 earned runs 3 walks 4 strikeouts, and I'll take that against the A's. Leaves him at 8-3, 3.71 and the ERA would leave him #16 in the AL if he qualified.
We said that Mitch projects to 28 homers and 102 RBI? Boomstick projects to 39 homers and 98 RBI. Seager to 24 HR and 87 RBI. Ryon Healy to 28 and 75. Zunino to 22 HR. Robinson Cano's OBP is .361. Jean Segura's batting average is .317. Denard Span has a 129 OPS+.
It's not really a lineup that should be losing 2-1 to a 100-loss team, do you think?
The M's are -4.5 back with:
3 vs. Oakland
3 vs. the 40-94 Baltimore Orioles
3 vs. NYY
2 vs the 100-loss Padres
4 vs the 65-69 Angels
It's at the end of this stretch, Sept. 16, that the M's need to be within a series' worth of games. Boy, if Mike Leake can poach us one Friday -- the M's are 17-9 in his games -- we've got Zeus and the A's are seriously under some pressure.