Smith gets the start at DH for Game 2
A day after compiling 16 strikeouts in a Game 1 American League Division Series loss to the Tigers, the A’s rolled out a similar lineup against righty Justin Verlander for Game 2.
The only new face in the lineup for Saturday evening’s contest was Seth Smith at designated hitter. Brandon Moss, who DH’d on Friday, moved to first base in place of Daric Barton.
Melvin said he targeted this change all along, noting Barton’s defensive troubles on Friday did not play into his decision.
“Smitty has a history with Justin Verlander,” said manager Bob Melvin, “and the versatility with Brandon Moss allows us to play him at first.”
Smith is just 2-for-15 in his career against Verlander, but one of those hits is a home run, and he’s also walked six times in 21 total plate appearances vs. the righty for a .381 on-base percentage.
He was part of an A’s lineup that did well in running up Verlander’s pitch count the last time they faced him, forcing him to throw 44 pitches to get through a two-run first inning, 104 in all to finish five on Aug. 28.
Smith hit .286 (4-for-14) in seven games against Detroit this year and is a career .321 hitter vs. the Tigers, with four home runs and nine RBIs in 19 games. He also went 14-for-38 over his final 19 regular-season games.
“He was swinging the bat well,” said Melvin. “He has the most experience of getting at-bats and sitting for a while and still keeping himself ready to get an at-bats, whether it’s once every three or four days or once a week.”
The full lineup, with Sonny Gray scheduled to pitch:
CF Coco Crisp
SS Jed Lowrie
3B Josh Donaldson
1B Brandon Moss
LF Yoenis Cespedes
DH Seth Smith
RF Josh Reddick
C Stephen Vogt
2B Eric Sogard