Players to Watch: A’s
Josh Reddick: Reddick has struggled of late. He hasn’t homered since August 7th and in that time span he’s hitting only .185 with 7 RBI. As is the case with the A’s, strikeouts have been the primary culprit. He’s struck out 15 times in those 14 games and has shown absolutely no patience at the plate by walking only 3 times. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of slugging three homers over the next four days and as luck would have it, Reddick went 3 for 4 in his last game so it’s possible he’s primed for a hot streak.
- Yoenis Cespedes: The Cuban defector has been absolutely phenomenal in his first season in America. As I said earlier, he’s been an absolute offensive force for the A’s in the middle of their lineup. One has to wonder what type of numbers he could be putting up if not for the fact that he’s missed games due to injuries and plays his home games in Oakland. The Indians pitching staff will need to be extremely careful with him or else they may pay the consequences.
- Coco Crisp: Crisp isn’t necessarily the best baseball player on the face of the earth. In fact, he’s not even close to being the best player on his own team. That doesn’t matter. Coco can still make an impact with his speed and the fact that he hustles. He also has a knack for sticking it to the Indians. In his career versus his former club (41 games), Crisp has a modest slash line of .280/.335/.389 with 15 RBI and 26 runs scored. He’s also stolen 11 bases for good measure. So he’s not quite on Brandon Phillips‘ level when it comes to a blood thirst for revenge, but it’s close.
Players to Watch: Indians
- Jason Kipnis: Kipnis needs to start turning things around. He looked like he was beginning to in the games leading up to their series with the Yankees, but a pair of 0-fers put a stop to that. He did have a 3-for-5 day on Sunday, so maybe he is starting to get back on track. Let’s hope so.
- Michael Brantley: Brantley reminded all of us over the weekend that he really is having a pretty outstanding season all things considered. His .291 batting average leads the Indians by a landslide and his home run on Saturday night was the catalyst for the Indians breaking a nine-game losing streak. Hopefully he gets rolling again and closes out the 2012 season on a positive note.
- Matt LaPorta: It’s put up or shut up time for LaPorta. This looks like it’s going to be it for the once highly touted power hitting prospect and if he doesn’t hit this time around that could be it for him in an Indians’ uniform. Hopefully he figures something out because the Indians could desperately use him in the middle of the lineup moving forward. Unfortunately, at this point it’s looking like a whole lot more of what we’ve become used to with LaPorta.