HOUSTON – Josh Reddick has discovered that one of the great things that comes with playing for the Astros is setting up base camp in the Central Time Zone.
“What’s great about it is that when I get home after a game, there’s still baseball on the West Coast on TV. I see a lot of the A’s that way.”
The two-hour differential lets Reddick do a bit of scouting.
“I like to see the guys I played with,” he said. “And since I’m still in the same division I’ve been in for five years, I see a lot of the pitchers I’ll be facing. I like to watch them to see what I can expect.”
Of course there are other more tangible gifts that came with Reddick signing a four-year contract with Houston. There’s a 14-8 record in Houston’s first 22 games and the three-game lead in the American League West that comes with it.
Oakland, Reddick’s home before he was dealt to the Dodgers at the trade deadline last year, comes into the series 10-12, tied for third place and five games out of first.
There is settling in a lineup full of potent bats. Jose Altuve and George springer have both been out for a bit, but both are back in time for the A’s arrival. Carlos Beltran has a long history of being an impact player on winning teams. Ditto Evan Gattis. And Carlos Correa, the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year, is still just 22.
“I don’t know if I can compare this time to any of those A’s teams I played for,” Reddick said. He played with Oakland from 2012 to the middle of last year, manning right field for three consecutive post-season teams 2012-14. “These seem like fuller lineups, where 1 through 9 can hurt you. You aren’t relying on a key three, four or five to get it done.”
And there is the home field itself, Minute Made Park. It’s a good place for a left-handed hitter with some power to call home. Reddick has only hoe home run here this year, but his slash line in Minute Maid says it all about his level of comfort there: .379/.400/.655.
“This is just a great place to play and a great team to play on,” Reddick said. “The potential for this team is that it can do anything.”