A’s give Conor Jackson his first career start at third base

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Willing to try just about anything — well, short of calling up Jemile Weeks or Adrian Cardenas — to improve their lackluster lineup, the A’s have Conor Jackson starting at third base on Monday.

It’ll be the first career start for Jackson at the hot corner.   He has played four innings there over two games this season.   He also played there for two innings with the Diamondbacks in 2007.

Jackson was a third baseman at the University of California, so it’s not like he’s a novice.  Still, no one seemed to think he’d have the skills to play the position in the majors.  The Diamondbacks moved him to the outfield quickly after drafting him and later stuck him at first base.

With a .255/.333/.347 line in 98 at-bats, it’s not as though Jackson has really forced his way into the lineup with his bat.  He has outproduced the Athletics’ other options at third, though.  Kevin Kouzmanoff went hitless in his last three starts, dropping him back down to .198/.238/.333 in 111 at-bats, and Andy LaRoche is hitting .219/.288/.288 in 73 at-bats.

If there was ever a time for the A’s to experiment, now is it.  They’ve been held to nine runs while losing their last five games.

Red Sox, Astros announce lineups for ALCS Game 4

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Red Sox

RF Mookie Betts
LF Andrew Benintendi
DH J.D. Martinez
SS Xander Bogaerts
3B Rafael Devers
1B Steve Pearce
2B Brock Holt
C Christian Vázquez
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr.

SP Rick Porcello

With Eduardo Núñez banged up, Devers gets another start. Devers has hit well when he’s had an opportunity to play this postseason, registering five hits (all singles) with a pair of walks and a pair of RBI. Pearce gets a start against a right-handed starter. He normally kills lefties but ripped a solo homer off of righty Joe Smith in Game 3. Holt gets the start at second base, looking for his first hit of the ALCS.

Astros

3B Alex Bregman
CF George Springer
DH José Altuve
2B Marwin González
1B Yuli Gurriel
RF Josh Reddick
SS Carlos Correa
C Martín Maldonado
LF Tony Kemp

SP Charlie Morton

Bregman, not Springer, is now hitting leadoff for the Astros. It’s not that Springer has been bad; it’s just that Bregman has been an on-base machine. He has drawn a walk in every postseason game this year, including three in Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS. Morton will be making his first appearance of the 2018 postseason. He was money down the stretch for the Astros last year en route to a championship.