OAKLAND – So hot is Mark Canha at the plate right now that his manager contemplates giving him the silent treatment.
“I don’t even talk to him right now,” A’s skipper Bob Melvin said after Friday’s 12-0 rout of Seattle. “Whatever he’s doing, let’s just let him do it.”
The A’s had plenty of stars from their 16-hit attack in the opener of this three-game series, but Canha takes top billing. He has seven hits and six RBI through his first three major league games, and both are tied for the most by any A’s player in their first three games dating back roughly 100 years, when records were first available.
“He’s the best hitter ever, isn’t he?” winning pitcher Drew Pomeranz said. “He’s hitting everything. He’s probably the guy that no one wants to face right now in the big leagues.”
Canha has been special, but he didn’t wind up with a University of Michigan football helmet hanging in his locker. That was Pomeranz, and it was awarded by Melvin in what appears to be a newly hatched player-of-the-game ritual. The helmet was a gift from Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh, a friend of Melvin’s who visited A’s camp this spring.
[RELATED: A's notes: Canha earns more playing time]
Pomeranz, who attended the University of Mississippi, even tried on the maize and blue helmet even though he’s got SEC blood running through his veins.
“I’m the very first recipient,” the lefty beamed.
Pomeranz earned the manager’s praise with seven innings of two-hit ball, striking out six and walking none. A starter who typically hasn’t pitched deep into games, Pomeranz’s dominant effort allowed Melvin to conserve his bullpen a day after Kendall Graveman went just 3 1/3 innings against Texas.
“That’s a tough lineup to navigate your way through,” Melvin said of the Mariners. “He had everything working, you could see it in the first inning. He elevated when he had to, on the corners when he needed to. (Throwing the) curve ball back door, at the back foot. You saw his confidence grow and he just ended up having a terrific night.”
First baseman Ike Davis, playing behind Pomeranz for the first time in a regular season game, was impressed.
“I thought he was sneaky,” Davis said. “Sneaky cheese tonight.”
As for Canha, who’s off to a 7-for-14 start with three extra-base hits, Davis said he doesn’t come off like a player who’s on his first major league roster.
“It seems like he’s already a veteran,” said Davis. “He’s got his game plan. He doesn’t venture off. He knows what he’s working on.. I don’t think he’s gonna hit .500 all year, but he’s doing pretty good and it’s really nice to see.”
But the great thing about the A’s win Friday night was that it wasn’t a one-man show. Davis, fighting off a nasty fever the past couple of days, went 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Sam Fuld was 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI and cleanup man Billy Butler is the only American Leaguer with a five-game hitting streak.
How to explain this puzzling start by the A’s? They’ve registered shutouts in each of their three wins, coming in an every-other-day pattern, and won by a combined score of 30-0. On the alternate days, they’ve lost twice by a combined score of 13-2.
“I don’t know what to make of these three games,” Melvin said. “But we’re seeing some good things, albeit it’s been every other day. For a team that has a lot of guys that haven’t played together for a while, we’re seeing a lot of good things.”