Matt Chapman makes rare shortstop appearance vs. Padres

A lot of crazy stuff happened in the A’s 5-4 walk-off win over the Padres on Wednesday at the Coliseum. And almost all of it seemed to happen in the final two innings of the game.

Oakland’s bats were dormant for most of the afternoon, as they totaled just two hits in the first eight frames, including a second-inning solo shot from Jed Lowrie.

But then things started getting weird.

As the A’s tied things up at 3-3 in the ninth, Tony Kemp pinch ran for catcher Sean Murphy, while catcher Yan Gomes pinch hit for Elvis Andrus. That begged the question — who was going to play shortstop?

Kemp is a utility man but had never played an inning at shortstop. Fellow Swiss Army Knife Josh Harrison has 37 career games there, but none since 2014.

So A’s manager Bob Melvin tabbed Matt Chapman, who had only made an emergency start at shortstop last Aug. 29 vs. the Houston Astros, when Marcus Semien was a late scratch for Game 2 with a hip injury.

Of course, the first two balls of the inning went Chappy’s way:

The first one was easy, but it moved the ghost runner Ha-Seong Kim to third. Chapman was smiling, like, ‘Of course he hits it right to me.’

 On the very next pitch, Tommy Pham hit a chopper that Chappy couldn’t handle as he tried to make a play at home. Chapman was not all smiles after that one, as the Padres took a 4-3 lead.

It was all good, though, his fellow Matt (Olson) picked him up with a two-run double off the wall in the 10th to give the A’s the walk-off.

Chapman delivered a key RBI single in the ninth, but still looks like he’s guessing at the plate. 

He struck out twice to bring his MLB-leading total to 140. Chapman is on pace to K 208 times this year, which would tie him with Chris Davis (2015) and Aaron Judge (2017) for the eighth-highest single-season total in MLB history.