Today is September 10, and today also marks the first meeting of 2013 between the Oakland Athletics and Minnesota Twins. It's one of the odder scheduling quirks I can remember, but it also gives the A's a distinct advantage as the race for the AL West enters the home stretch, in that Oakland has played .580 ball without having had the benefit of facing the league's third-worst team.
The Twins are without two of the big names that have more or less defined the franchise in the eyes of most baseball fans for the last several years. Joe Mauer is out with a concussion, and it's up in the air whether or not he'll return this season. Justin Morneau is even further away from playing for the Twins, as he's been a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates since he was dealt for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later on September 1.
Jarrod Parker hasn't taken a loss since May 22, and tonight seems like a great opportunity to keep the ball rolling given the relatively punchless state Twins' offense. There's also the fact that the Twins are throwing Liam Hendriks, whose ERA on the season is 5.28, with a 1.53 WHIP to boot.
Josh Reddick is back from the DL, but still hadn't taken live batting practice as of this afternoon, and is understandably not playing today despite the lefty-laden lineup. Jed Lowrie is DHing, giving Eric Sogard a rare opportunity to play shortstop. Daric Barton is at first base, and Brandon Moss is playing right field.
5:10pm PT Athletics (J. Parker - R) @ Twins (L. Hendriks - R)