Welcome to another edition of A's baseball!
Tonight, the A's begin a series against the visiting Texas Rangers. Yu Darvish takes the hill for Texas (1-0, 0.82 ERA) while Dan Straily (1-1, 5.40 ERA) attempts to re-create the magic from his start exactly 11 months ago, when he blanked the Rangers for seven innings in Arlington to give the A's the 1-0 win over Darvish.
Darvish is off to an incredible start. He sports a league-leading 1.53 FIP. He has only allowed a run in one inning this season (he allowed 2 runs in an inning against Seattle last week. However, when it comes to Yu, Texas has taken "lack of run support" to a whole new level. The Rangers haven't scored a run during Darvish's starts until he has left the game. That spans 22 innings now. Darvish got the win thanks to Elvis Andrus knocking in some runs after he left the game way back on April 6th. However, the Rangers have managed to eke out the win in his three starts.
Dan Straily only lasted 3 2/3 innings in his last start vs. Anaheim so he looks to right the ship in the friendly confines of the Coliseum. There have been rumblings about him losing velocity rapidly over the last couple of years, but per a comment by King Richard, part of that may just be the Coliseum's slow-ish radar gun. However, he was never a guy to blow it past hitters, so for him it's more about fastball location and movement on the secondary pitches.
The A's seem to have Darvish's number. In his first two MLB seasons, Darvish is only 1-6 with a 4.30 ERA in seven career starts versus Oakland. Last time when he was in the O.Co he suffered the ignominy of allowing a home run to Daric Barton. I was there, otherwise I wouldn't believe that it happened.
Oakland's approach to Darvish is be patient, drive up the pitch count, don't offer at anything off the plate, and punish the rare mistake. As a result, Darvish has given up 23 walks in career innings 44 vs. Oakland. They've also gone deep against him seven times.
Despite those stats, a large share of the blame for Darvish's lack of success against the A's goes to the Rangers' offense. Darvish actually had two 1-0 losses to the A's in 2013, so it may be going a step too far to say the A's "have his number." But they do "have a plan" and that may be enough to get the W.
A few hundred miles south, the Golden State Warriors, co-tenants of the Coliseum complex, will look to go up 2-0 in their first round playoff series against the L.A. Clippers. I'm sure many of us will be following along with that game as well, feel free to make this a dual thread, or stop by Golden State of Mind for some Warriors thread action.
Here are your lineups:
Yoenis Cespedes (3-14, .813 OPS vs. Darvish) is out with his bruised heel, but considering he has played the past couple of weeks with that issue I believe he should be available to pinch hit. Also, Prince Fielder has really sucked so far this season - .188/.325/.333/.659. Yeesh. If we were freaking out about Josh Reddick's struggles, I wonder what Rangers fans are doing about Prince Fielder? Hopefully he doesn't remember that he has an .851 career OPS at the Coliseum.
Craig Gentry is not starting today against his former team, instead Brandon Moss gets the start in left and Daric Barton gets the nod at 1B (looks like BoMel remembers that jack as well).
Let's Go Warriors! Let's Go Oakland!