OAKLAND -- A's manager Bob Melvin talks a lot about the importance of getting his first two hitters on base. Outfielder Coco Crisp and second baseman Jemile Weeks have speed to burn, and Melvin says that when they get on, their presence on the basepaths does wonders for the offense.
And after struggling for quite a while, Crisp has been getting on base in spades recently. The 32-year-old's batting average stood at a paltry .158 on June 6, but Crisp has hit .333 in the thirteen games since, including a 7-for-19 performance on the current homestand going into Friday's game against the Giants.
The dynamic that Crisp brings was on full display in Thursday's win against the Dodgers. Leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, the outfielder walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch (with pitcher Josh Lindblom's focus drawn to Crisp instead of the batter) and got to third on Weeks' bunt, putting the winning run 90 feet away in a matter of pitches.
"It ended up being a great inning, but it all started with Coco and what he does to set the table," Melvin said.
Crisp's hot play has also coincided with his move from second in the order to the leadoff spot, with Melvin flipping him and Weeks. But the veteran said he hasn't changed his approach since he began hitting first and doesn't have a preference between the two slots.
He also doesn't have an explanation for his improved play, insisting that he felt the same even when he was struggling. Whatever the reason, others in the lineup have certainly noticed and are keenly aware of the impact that Crisp's ability to get on base has on Oakland's offense.
"He's a table-setter for us," said shortstop Cliff Pennington. "When he's getting on, he's one of the best basestealers, baserunners in general, in the game. When he's getting on base, it just means good stuff for the team. He's creating havoc and scoring runs, and that's what we need."