10/08/12 9:31 PM ET
Strikeouts come with the territory for A's
By Jane Lee and Jay Lee / MLB.com
But it's not like the 23 K's they totaled in the first two Division Series games against the Tigers over the weekend -- seven of which belonged to free swinger Josh Reddick -- are cause for concern.
"I think that's probably low for us," said a smiling Cliff Pennington before Monday's team workout. "Obviously, we don't want to strike out, but we have a lot of guys on this team that try to do a lot of damage with all three strikes they're given, and strikeouts come with that."
"You know, we do tend to strike out a little," added manager Bob Melvin. "And we did the first couple of games. It didn't stand out to me. You have a guy like Justin Verlander, you're going to strike out some. And [Doug] Fister was good, too. He had that run-back sinker off the left-handers inside."
Verlander led all of baseball this year with 239 strikeouts, and in the same campaign, Fister set the American League record for consecutive strikeouts in one game, with nine. The A's, meanwhile, set their own strikeout record -- the most by an AL team, with 1,387.
So it was almost to be expected, then, that the swings-and-misses would pile up as quickly as they did.
"If you watched us all this year, you know that's what we do," Pennington said. "We're going to hit some homers, and we're going to strike out. We're not going to change now."
The A's hit 195 home runs during the regular season, which ranked sixth in the AL and seventh in the Majors. Moreover, it was the eighth-best single-season total in A's history and the most since 2002, when they connected on 205. Yet just one was collected in each of the first two ALDS games, a trend they'll look to reverse in Game 3, a greater focus than their strikeout total.
"Obviously, we're going out there with a lot of energy and a lot of adrenaline, and it's hard to fight that sometimes," Brandon Moss said. "We've got to make adjustments and figure out how they're attacking you and plan accordingly."
"We'll continue to swing the bats like we have," Melvin said. "We're one swing away from driving in a couple of runs here in this ballpark. It's worked well for us. It's not like the last day, you're going to say, 'Today let's work on cutting our swing down and choke up two inches on two strikes.' We're going to play what got us here."
This year the A's launched 92 home runs out of the Coliseum, considered one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the league, and they will take the confidence that comes with that total into Tuesday's must-win game.
"These guys have done an unbelievable job of shortening this ballpark," Jonny Gomes said. "This is, quote-unquote, a graveyard. These guys have been launching the ball out of here, and [the Tigers] know that as well."
Campaneris to throw out first pitch for Game 3
OAKLAND -- Bert Campaneris will lead off the A's return to the Coliseum following a disappointing first two games of the American League Division Series in Detroit, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday's Game 3.
The former A's shortstop and three-time World Series champion remains one of the most celebrated and popular former players in franchise history, and still holds several team records, including career games played (1,795), hits (1,882) and at-bats (7,180).
Earlier this season, Campaneris threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Oakland's first Cactus League game in March to open the spring season.
Campaneris is fondly remembered for being a major contributor to the A's team that won three straight titles from 1972-74. Signed out of Cuba as an amateur free agent in 1961, the six-time All Star manned shortstop for Oakland until he left for the Rangers in 1977.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.