As the A's steam toward the postseason one man is front and center for the rest of his teammates ... even if Coco Crisp goes a little under the radar for such a dynamic and fun player. Oakland's center fielder isn't getting the type of MVP talk that is starting to attach itself to Josh Donaldson nor will Crisp draw the oohs and ahhs that Yoenis Céspedes' at-bats can attract. Plus he doesn't much like to talk about himself so he won't toot his horn in the way some other top players might. The other A's though know how key a figure the 33-year-old is. "Coco is our gas pedal" said Jerry Blevins the longest-tenured A's player. "J.D. is the driver but Coco makes us go. He's a pretty special player. He plays Gold Glove defense in center and he sparks the top of lineup. He's got great character and he's a really positive guy. "Every day we expect great things from Coco and every day he does them." Crisp's hottest streak of the season helped push the A's final drive toward the playoffs; he has hit 12 of his career-high 22 homers since the start of August. And this is a player who is not known as a home run hitter but Crisp on Sunday became the A's first player with at least 20 homers and 20 steals in a season since Ruben Sierra in 1993 a feat that Crisp called "a little shocking" but not to his teammates. "I know he's hit more home runs than he ever has but pretty much since I got here last June Coco has been the most incredible player I've ever seen" said Oakland outfielder Brandon Moss who also played with Crisp in Boston. "So I'm not surprised at all. Obviously it's a career high but I always expect big things from Coco." The 20th steal came after the 20th homer which was unusual considering Crisp's speed but Moss said that Crisp's power is the result of smarts and experience. "Good players get better as they age at least until age starts to erode their skills" Moss said. "They've seen everything that can be thrown at them they know every situation and they know what to do - that's Coco. He has a dominating skill set and he knows his strengths. And he's one of those guys who plays best when you need him most. In the pennant race he's definitely been our catalyst." July however was a bad month for Crisp and not coincidentally one of the A's roughest stretches. He hit .186 for the month then finally got a cortisone shot for a sore left wrist that clearly had affected his production for more than four weeks. Crisp doesn't discuss injuries but A's right fielder Josh Reddick who has seen swaths of his own season adversely affected by a wrist injury said there's no doubt that the wrist hurt Crisp's numbers.
Crisp fuels A's on the field and in the dugout
San Francisco Chronicle | Sep 27