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Cespedes literally ran the A's into a tie game with his baserunning in Game 2
In Games 1 and 2, the A's left 15 men on base.
Because Justin Verlander was mostly dominant in Game 1, the number of men stranded was not so egregious. But in Game 2, Oakland did more to damage its own cause than Detroit pitching did to get the A's out.
Playoff baseball is different because results are much more immediate. In short, missed opportunities and converted opportunities carry much more weight in the postseason.
Oakland has had chances to play small ball and manufacture a run but have chosen not to do so. While I understand this has been a power-hitting squad (especially in the second half of the regular season), when you're facing starters as effective as Verlander and Doug Fister, playing long ball may not be the prudent approach.
As such, the simplest thing to do is to run. And run. And run some more.
The one time Oakland played small ball, it worked to perfection. In the seventh inning of Game 2, Seth Smith walked. He was sacrificed over to second by George Kottaras and Cliff Pennington promptly singled Smith home to tie the score.
It was the fourth time in five innings the A's had managed to get the leadoff hitter on base. But it was the first time the runner was moved over to second base. The A's would be better off doing that more often, particularly if they can get an early lead.
But once they are on base, it is also a good idea to try running.
Because the A's aren't always adept at bunting, the next best thing is to run. Yoenis Cespedes' job of generating the tying run in the eighth inning of the second game was a thing of beauty. He stole second, then stole third and scored on a wild pitch, completely taking the pressure off of the scuffling Josh Reddick.
Reddick then promptly smashed a go-ahead home run.
Oakland has four guys (Crisp, Cespedes, Reddick and Pennington) capable of stealing a base. They should all be running.