OAKLAND -- With four stolen bases in last night's 4-3 win over the Astros, the A's now lead the majors in that category with 15 in their first 15 games. Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Chris Young share the team lead with four apiece. Young had one of the massive jumps the A's got last night against both starter Brad Peacock and Houston's relievers, where it seemed like they were a third of the way down the line before the pitcher made his first movement.
It was suggested to manager Bob Melvin this morning that the A's must have noticed something on the basepaths to get such jumps. Melvin kind of suppressed a smile and answered: "Yep." He was more expansive when asked what makes him confident in turning his players loose on the bases.
"We'll steal when the opportunity is there and we'll run a little bit more maybe if we're not swinging the bats as well," Melvin said. "I think the double-steal (in the fourth inning Tuesday night) was really important in the fact that now all of a sudden there's a wild pitch and we score a run without a hit. Now it's 2-1, we're no longer being shut out, and it felt like a different situation.
"So we're not just going to run into outs. We have quite a few guys that can steal some bases, and if the opportunity's there, we'll do it."
Consider it something to keep an eye on today, as the A's go for the sweep against the Astros behind Bartolo Colon. They'll face Houston's opening day starter, right-hander and Bay Area native Bud Norris, who was born in Greenbrae in Marin County and raised in Novato. Here's the lineup Norris will face from the A's:
DH Jaso CF Young LF Smith SS Lowrie 3B Donaldson RF Reddick C Norris 2B Sogard 1B Peterson
And the lineup the Astros will send out against Colon:
2B Altuve CF Maxwell C Castro DH Carter 1B Pena LF Martinez RF Barnes 3B Dominguez SS Gonzalez
* Peterson is making his second start with Brandon Moss still away on paternity leave. Melvin said Moss is still expected to rejoin the A's tomorrow for their flight to Tampa.
* Melvin said this was a planned day off for Crisp, who recently missed a couple games with a left groin strain. Crisp seemed to run pretty well last night -- especially on an RBI triple, when he flew around the bases -- but resting him today allows Melvin to get him two days off with the travel day tomorrow. Crisp is available to come into the game later today, Melvin said.
* Melvin said infielder Adam Rosales (strained left intercostals) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment today. "We'll see how many games that will take," Melvin said. "You like to bring a guy up when he's doing well. When we get back from the road trip, we'll see how he's doing."
* A.J. Griffin last night credited a Melvin pep talk about sticking to his strengths with his turnaround after the third inning. Griffin, who walked a career-high four hitters in the first three innings alone, said after the game Melvin told him to forget about nitpicking and just attack the strike zone. Melvin said this morning his message was -- something like that.
"I heard his quotes and I think he retained about 20 percent of what I told him," Melvin said, drawing laughs. "But he got the gist of it. Look, it's our job to try to pick guys up and keep them confident, so that wasn't a big deal. It was the fact that he went out and pitched well."