Oakland A's

Valencia remains in cleanup spot as Oakland A’s look for series win against Houston Astros

A’s manager Bob Melvin doesn’t like to mess with a good thing, so with the A’s winning back-to-back games the past two days with Danny Valencia batting in the cleanup spot, Valencia is there again for Sunday’s series finale against the Astros.

Valencia is at third base today after DHing on Saturday. It’s Stephen Vogt getting a day at DH today, which means Billy Butler is not in the starting lineup for the second day in a row. Melvin has already said he wants to get Valencia more at-bats against right-handed pitching, but said Sunday that won’t necessarily come at the expense of Butler’s playing time.

Melvin plans to give several regulars days off during the A’s upcoming three-game series in Toronto, where the Blue Jays play on artificial turf. Brett Lawrie, after being traded to the A’s from Toronto last offseason, said he thought some of his injury problems with the Blue Jays stemmed from playing on turf.

Lawrie has avoided major injuries this season, which Melvin said is likely a combination of better luck, Lawrie’s willingness to take a day off if his body needs it, and possibly a psychological effect of getting off the turf.

With Valencia playing third, Lawrie shifts over to second base again Sunday. Here’s the full A’s lineup against Astros right-hander Mike Fiers, complete with Coco Crisp, who left Saturday’s game early with nausea but is feeling better:

CF Burns

LF Crisp

RF Reddick

3B Valencia

DH Vogt

2B Lawrie

1B Davis

C Phegley

SS Semien

And the Astros’ lineup against A’s right-hander Chris Bassitt:

2B Altuve

LF Tucker

SS Correa

CF Gomez

3B Lowrie

RF Rasmus

1B Valbuena

DH Carter

C Castro

▪ When the A’s leave for Toronto, left-hander Sean Doolittle will join Triple-A Nashville in Iowa and make a rehab appearance on Tuesday.

“We’ll just monitor him,” Melvin said. “He’ll have a few outings (with Nashville), we’ll see how he’s doing, and at the right time we’ll bring him back.”

The A’s return from their road trip next Tuesday. Melvin said that activating Doolittle on the ensuing homestand is a “possibility.”

▪ It’ll be a quick turnaround for the A’s, who play a night game in Baltimore next Monday, fly home that night, then begin a two-game series against the Dodgers at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.

“That’s tough,” Melvin said. “I don’t know how we’re playing a night game on a Monday, but that’s the way it is.”

The Giants had a similar situation earlier this season where they played an East Coast night game on a Sunday, flew home and played Monday. Giants manager Bruce Bochy at the time laid into MLB scheduling, and Melvin voiced his own displeasure Sunday.

“The scheduling for me, especially with the American League West teams, is awful,” he said. “You look at Baltimore came out here and took care of all three West Coast teams in one trip, and doesn’t have to come out here again. Our division has it tough.”

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