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Open Thread: Game 4 – A’s vs. M’s. (1)

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After their first win last night, the A’s look to scrape away a tie in the opening series.

Long hair no curr
Long hair no curr
USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, one soft-tosser in Tommy Milone was enough to keep the Mariners at bay (after a somewhat disaterous first inning.) Today, his right-handed equivalent in A.J. Griffin will take the mound to try to even the A's record at 2-2. All kidding aside, Griffin was probably the most impressive starter for the A's this Spring. In 20 innings he allowed 20 hits, but also struck out 21 and walked only 4. In the start I was able to watch - I believe it was against the Giants? - he was pounding the corners pretty consistently and had that big sweeping curve of his working very well.

He will be opposed by Brandon Maurer, making the jump from AA last year to his major league debut today. He's got a little of the Dan Straily feel about him, in that he flew under the radar for a long time and is just now starting to get some recognition from prospect-heads. In 137.2 innings at Jackson last year, he had a K/BB of 3.1 over 24 starts.

Here is a scouting report on him from Scouting Book:

Maurer is an aggressive pitcher who's shown a good ability to throw his 94mph heat to either side of the plate while generally avoiding the groove, mixing in a plus slider and good curve as needed. He tends to nibble a bit, leading to a few more walks than Seattle's brain trust would like to see, and his changeup really isn't all-there yet, but he's only those small steps away from breaking out in MLB. We should see him in 2013, one way or the other.

Sickels also likes him, dinging mostly because of injuries:

Maurer has always intrigued scouts with his 93-96 MPH fastball. He could never stay healthy long enough to fully develop his secondary pitches, but that changed last year. His curveball, slider, and changeup all showed significant improvement, giving him four major league pitches. His command was generally solid for Jackson, and there were no statistical red flags to call the positive scouting reports in question. He has both elbow and shoulder problems on his resume, but if he avoids further injury, Maurer looks like a solid number three starter. Grade B.

So, the A's best strategy for him might be simply wait him out a little and see if he doesn't get wild and forced to throw strikes. I guess that's the strategy for almost anyone making his MLB debut, isn't it?

Anyway, first pitch is 12:35 PM. Here are the lineups from Baseball Press. Looks like it's back to the RHP lineup: