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Game Thread #20: A's vs. Rangers

The A's and Rangers do battle at the Oakland Coliseum, with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. Ten bucks the game doesn't start until 7:07.

Disappointment over a 13-6 start is an odd feeling, but currently an inescapable one. The A's are a marine layer away from 14-5 after last night's disappointing loss to Texas, and it's not so tough to imagine a world in which a pair of successful outings from Jim Johnson and a few successfully executed plays in the field put the A's at 17-2. Oakland's six losses have come by a combined margin of 10 runs, and the A's have had late-inning opportunities in each of those games.

The A's will need to take two straight from the Rangers in order to avoid their first series loss since the season-opening, rain-delayed set against Cleveland. Tommy Milone is making his third start of the year for Oakland, and currently sports an 0-1 record to go along with a 4.09 ERa. He lasted six innings last Wednesday against the Angels, giving up just two earned runs (three total) on six hits. In his 2014 debut, he suffered from weak defense behind him, allowing five runs (three earned) on April 11 to squander a rare chance for the A's to come away with a win against Felix Hernandez.

Nick Martinez is on the hill for Texas, making his second start of the year. He allowed just four hits in April 5 against Tampa Bay, but the Rays made them count — two went for home runs, and Martinez ended up allowing three earned runs in six innings.

Both pitchers can be susceptible to the long ball, so they're likely grateful that the weather in Oakland tonight isn't expected to hit 60 degrees. The marine layer gave us a perfect example of its capabilities last night, when a Yoenis Cespedes fly ball that would've cleared the wall by 30 feet on a sunny day died near the warning track.

Cespedes is back in the A's starting lineup after resting for the better part of last night's game, while the rest of Oakland's left-handed platoon hitters — Brandon Moss, Eric Sogard, and Josh Reddick — are also in the starting nine.

Today's Lineups

Michael Choice - LF Coco Crisp - CF
Elvis Andrus - SS Jed Lowrie - SS
Alex Rios - RF Josh Donaldson - 3B
Prince Fielder - 1B Brandon Moss - 1B
Kevin Kouzmanoff - 3B Yoenis Cespedes - LF
Donnie Murphy - DH Alberto Callaspo - DH
Robinson Chirinos - C John Jaso - C
Leonys Martin - CF Josh Reddick - RF
Josh Wilson - 2B Eric Sogard - 2B
Nick Martinez - RHP Tommy Milone - LHP