ARLINGTON, Texas — A's manager Bob Melvin said he didn't think there was any need to tell his players anything special on the eve of Oakland's final series with the A's last standing competitor in the American League West, the Texas Rangers.
For one thing, Melvin doesn't like to stress one game, or one series. over another. For a second thing, the manager believes he's preached the ``let's play today's game today'' philosophy long enough that his players understand where he's coming from.
``Every game now is the most important game,'' Melvin said as his players loosened up for the first of the three-game set with Oakland holding a 3½-game lead in the West. ``When you play Texas, obviously there's more to it, but we try not to look at it this way.
``Throughout the year I'll mention (the even-keeled approach), so at this point in time, they know what I'm talking about.''
He'd get a game every now and then at third base or the outfield, but first place was his spot against right-handed starting pitching and against the occasional lefty.
When Josh Reddick's right wrist problems cropped up again three weeks ago, however, Moss became the right field backup and Daric Barton, also a left-handed hitting first baseman, was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to play first base.
Now there will be times against right-handers where the A's are going to want to play Barton at first, so Moss could get a start or two in the outfield, even with Reddick having returned. And Melvin mention Friday that Moss could get some time as the designated hitter, although Moss hasn't been the DH at all this season.
``He'll probably do a little of everything,'' Melvin said. ``Against right-handers, he's going to be in the lineup. I'm just not sure at what position.
That's because Barton, out of favor much of the last two seasons, has played his way back into good graces by playing good defense and by being a much more aggressive hitter. And he's been a successful hitter, too — he's hitting .349 since his most recent recall from Sacramento.
Melvin didn't say so, but if one way to get Barton and Moss into the lineup would be to give Barton a start at third base — he played 29 games at third base for the River Cats, and he'd made 14 consecutive starts at third before being recalled on Aug. 26.
Kurt Suzuki was behind the plate Friday with Dan Straily pitching for the A's and a lefty, Derek Holland, throwing for Texas. Saturday, with the Rangers throwing right-hander Yu Darvish, the left-handed batting Stephen Vogt will catch Bartolo Colon. Sunday the Rangers will send another lefty against the A's, Martin Perez, and right-handed hitting Derek Norris will likely catch with Jarrod Parker throwing for Oakland.
Melvin said he wasn't having Suzuki serve as Straily's personal catcher, although the veteran will have caught Straily four consecutive starts now.
``I like Suzuki with anybody,'' the manager said. ``I like Norris with anybody. I like Vogt with anybody.''
Straily has a 3-0 record and 1.50 ERA in the three games Suzuki has been his catcher since late August. Colon has a 1-0 record and 1.64 ERA when Vogt has caught him over the same time span. Norris has caught Parker, but not since June 28.