OCTOBER 8: Apparently, the A’s dodged a bullet. La Stella’s back in the lineup, hitting second and playing second base, for today’s must-win Game 4.
OCTOBER 7: The Athletics staved off elimination in this afternoon’s ALDS Game 3 against the division-rival Astros. That didn’t come without a potentially big loss though, as second baseman Tommy La Stella exited the game in the eighth inning (via Martín Gallegos of MLB.com). The left-handed hitter took a Brooks Raley fastball off his right arm and was immediately replaced by utilityman Nate Orf (relays Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). La Stella suffered a right elbow contusion, Melvin told reporters (Slusser link). Fortunately, x-rays came back negative, Slusser adds.
Oakland has alternatives at the keystone if need be, but none are likely to match La Stella’s level of production. Between the Angels and A’s, the 31-year-old combined for a very strong .281/.370/.449 line with five home runs this season. Orf, a 30-year-old with just 32 career MLB plate appearances, would probably be miscast as an everyday player. Manager Bob Melvin could turn to the left-handed hitting Tony Kemp or right-handed Chad Pinder, both of whom are also on Oakland’s ALDS roster. Pinder has started each of the last two games at third base, though, so turning to him would push Jake Lamb into everyday duty at the hot corner.