After a doubleheader that took roughly 8 ½ hours to complete, the A’s managed to walk away with one victory at Camden Yards, making the marathon day worth their while.
Here’s some notes and observations from their split with the Baltimore Orioles …
--Josh Reddick showed again how much he loves hitting at Camden. The right fielder went 7-for-9 with two RBI combined on the day, lifting his batting average from .260 to .301 in a single day. He nearly came away with a heck of a defensive highlight too on Manny Machado’s double in the third inning of the second game. But Reddick’s diving effort came up just short and that helped jumpstart the Orioles’ four-run rally off Jesse Hahn that put them in front for good.
Reddick is now 29-for-77 (.377) for his career at Camden. With his upcoming free agency this winter, Reddick will remain a storyline regardless of where the A’s are in the standings. Mlbtraderumors.com has him ranked No. 4 in their list of top free agents for 2017. The A’s could still try to sign him to a long-term contract extension, though there’s no indication of anything substantial brewing on that front. If they were to fall out of contention, they could also consider dealing the right fielder as the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
--In the battle of Khris Davis vs. Chris Davis, the Orioles’ slugger won out Saturday. The first baseman connected for a two-run homer off Hahn as part of Baltimore’s four-run third in the nightcap. Khris, the A’s left fielder, went 0-for-9 with three strikeouts over the two games.
--Third baseman Danny Valencia returned to the A’s lineup after missing 14 games with a strained left hamstring. He started the first game Saturday and went 1-for-5, then gave way to Chris Coghlan at third for the second game. Coghlan went 0-for-4 and his average dipped to .148. With Valencia back, Coghlan will shift back to his role as a utility man.
--Billy Butler, drawing just his 10th start out of 31 games, went 0-for-4 as the DH in the second game. He came in with excellent career numbers against Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez (10-for-29), which is why he was in the lineup against a right-hander. The Boston Red Sox have yet to announce their three starters for a three-game series with the A’s beginning Monday, so it’s unclear whether Butler could get more playing time if the Sox throw any lefties.
--Down on the farm: Double-A Midland third baseman Matt Chapman entered Saturday leading the Texas League with nine home runs, to go with a .271 batting average and 19 RBI in 28 games. But one of his Rockhounds’ teammates, corner infielder Ryon Healy, also is worth keeping an eye on. Healy entered the day hitting .351 with a league-best 29 RBI. He ranks second with a 1.076 OPS.
Shortstop Franklin Barreto, the A’s top overall prospect, is hitting .257 with three homers and seven RBI in 27 games.