A couple weeks ago, Coco Crisp intimated that Bob Melvin couldn’t look him in the eye when passing him up for a pinch-hitting appearance that might help Crisp’s option vest. When Coco didn’t say is whether after going back on a pop fly and letting it drop in front of him for a gift hit, as happened yet again to start the 1st inning last night, is Coco able to look Melvin in the eye?
Sometimes it’s just time to retire. UZR/150 seems to think so, rating Crisp now at a tragic -38.0 in CF, a merely pathetic -19.3 overall in the outfield. Context? Jack Cust, for his illustrious career, sported a -22.2 over his 1,728 adventurous innings in LF and RF.
Sigh. Coco remains one of my favorite Athletics over the past decade of A’s baseball, and his league leading clutchiness with RISP is still super-fun, but it’s time for the former Covelli (did you know he legally changed his name to "Coco" in March of 2013?) to accept that his reduced playing time is a reflection of his declining skill set and not of any nefarious manipulation. The nefarious manipulation is simply what we like to call "a perk!"
Meanwhile, the Eyeball Scout was mildly encouraged by Ross Detwiler’s start against the Cardinals, noting that the more Detwiler comes over the top with his delivery the better action he seems to get on all his pitches and the better command he seems to have.
Command is the big issue, in that in his starts with Oakland Detwiler has been prone to miss his target by a foot on a semi-regular basis. This is fine when a pitch aimed for the corner misses a foot outside. Where it is not so fine is when a curve meant to seek the back foot instead lops out over the heart of the plate, or when a pitch aimed for the corner drifts out over the batter’s — what’s the technical team for it? oh right — "honey hole" with the "HIT ME" sign conveniently facing the bat.
At times, Detwiler’s delivery ends with more of the Josh Collmenter/Burt Hooten "right over the top" action and this is when I saw his best pitching both in terms of stuff and location. I still see Detwiler as no more than a "6th SP," albeit it an upgrade over Eric Surkamp and probably even over Zach Neal, who is better suited to the bullpen, and I’m still confused as to why Detwiler was a #1 draft pick. But if he can consistently find that delivery and release point I observed last night, perhaps he could at least raise his stock from "Plan Z" to "serviceable in a crunch" — I know, that’s a heck of a ceiling, right?
Finally, the Eyeball Scout notes that Arismendy Alcantara’s sitting posture on the bench has been consistently excellent, and that Chad Pinder’s approach to riding the pine last night combined grit and patience. How ‘bout that Max Muncy, though, eh? In fairness, you just can’t keep .202/.317/.292 out of the lineup, but...could we, maybe?
Later today at 4:15pm: Neal before us, pray for good results!