Dunn to start Wild Card Game on bench
KANSAS CITY — A postseason start still eludes 14-year veteran Adam Dunn, who was missing from the A’s lineup in Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game, despite the Royals throwing a right-hander in James Shields.
The decision, said manager Bob Melvin, was less about his designated hitter and more about his left fielder. Rather than play Brandon Moss in left field, the A’s went with the more speedy and sure-handed Sam Fuld, forcing Moss into the DH spot in place of Dunn.
“That’s a tough decision,” said Melvin, “but it did come into play. It’s a big outfield. It’s a fast opponent. [Fuld] plays the corners great. You’re talking about [starter] Jon Lester, righties that pull the ball, lefties that go the other way, so that definitely factored in.
“ At times we’ll go offense early, defense late, other times we’ll do defense early, which allows us to match up a little bit more so with Adam, too, on the bench a little bit later in the game. So we look at all sides of it when we make up the lineup.”
Dunn has played in 2,001 regular-season games without a postseason appearance, the most among active players and 14th most in Major League history among players with zero postseason games, making Sunday’s clinching win in Texas an emotional moment for him.
That made Tuesday’s conversation with him even tougher for Melvin.
“Look, he just wants to win,” he said. “I’m sure he’s probably disappointed some and wanted to be in there today, but in my experiences with him, he’s all about winning. When I told him when he first got here that he wouldn’t be playing against lefties, he said, ‘It’s fine by me. Whatever I can do to win, and I know that I can impact the game coming off the bench.’
“All our guys know that we do things a little differently here at times, and we’re trying to play for the day. He understands, too, that just because you don’t start a game for us doesn’t mean that you might not be prominent within the course of the game and may have the biggest at‑bat of the game, so he’s ready for that.”