It's way too early to know if there is a new Mr. October on Oakland's horizon, but it's at least worth keeping an eye on the A's Yoenis Cespedes this month.
In Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Tigers, the A's left fielder shrugged off the effects of a sore right shoulder to triple and hit a two-run homer, producing the only runs the A's scored in a 3-2 loss.
He came back with a pair of singles in Game 2, the second of which touched off the winning rally that culminated with Cespedes scoring from third base on Stephen Vogt's bases-loaded single for a 1-0 win.
Those were the sixth and seventh games in Cespedes' short post-season career. But they added to a base that has the chance to be molded into a towering legacy in baseball's center stage month.
Cespedes has hit in all seven of his postseason games while averaging .370 with an OPS of 1.006. Small sample size or not, those are impressive numbers.
There are some players who are just built for the spotlight, and Cespedes seems to be one of those. He floundered for most of the season, but when there was a chance that the A's might not make the playoffs, Cespedes shrugged off September shoulder issues to average .314 with six homers. For a little perspective, his best average in the five previous months was .237 in July.
In his first September pennant drive in 2012, he had seven homers and 19 RBIs as the A's chased down the Rangers.
There are some classically great hitters who have wilted on the big stage. Just last year Robinson Cano of the Yankees was a woeful 3-for-40 in the playoffs. A's RBI machine Miguel Tejada was 2-for-23 after having racked up 70 extra base hits and 106 RBIs in the 2003 season. Manny Ramirez drove in 165 runs in the 1998 season for the Indians, then went 1-for-18 in the playoffs.
Not to tell A's manager Bob Melvin how to work his lineup, but he'd be well advised to support Cespedes by keeping Seth Smith in the lineup as the DH for the next few games. Smith had two hits Saturday, both following Cespedes hits. The second set up the winning run, and Cespedes could use the threat of a hot, productive bat behind him to get better pitches to hit.
All Smith did was hit .393 in September, even when he couldn't get in the lineup every day. He only played in 15 games and started just seven of those, but .393 is going to get respect from the other side. That can only help Cespedes.
Not that it particularly means anything, but members of the A's starting lineup hit .522 (12 for 23) when they were batting in front of Smith during his September hot streak. Add in Cespedes on Saturday and it's 14-for-27, .518).
Whatever, the A's can do to get Cespedes to get better pitches to hit is a terrific idea.
After all, it's October.