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Game Thread #47: Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays

The A's saved the marquee pitching match-up in this series for last, as this afternoon's game will pit A's ace Sonny Gray, who is looking to complete the 3-game sweep for the A's, against the Rays' Alex Cobb, who is just returning from a stint on the DL, where he was sidelined by something oblique.

Thearon W. Henderson

I can assure you from vast personal experience of 30+ years of watching baseball that this sport isn't always as fun and as magical as it is right now. Which is why all of you, but especially the young ones, should be enjoying this A's ride to the fullest. I was 25 years old during the year of the Moneyball 20-game win streak, and if I knew now what I knew then, I would have driven to Oakland every night (and this is coming from someone who did make that 5 hour drive in the middle of the night more times than I care to admit) to see that team play. Teams don't rattle off 6-game winning streaks often during the year, and especially not back-to-back win streaks, but yet, here we are. The A's try to make it six in a row behind Sonny Gray this afternoon in Tampa Bay, which would allow them to successfully sweep the Rays before heading up to Canada for this weekend's series.

The A's offense should be appropriately rested today after their day off yesterday, and today's lineup looks much more "A" than "B". Coco and Lowrie are back in the lineup, Jaso has moved up in the order, and Donaldson will be spelled by Callaspo at third, but will still be in the lineup as the DH. They will be facing off against Alex Cobb, who is making his first start since April 12. This means that pitch count will be an issue, which is music to the A's ears; they do like to make opposing pitchers rack up pitches. Which means...Rays bullpen!

Meanwhile, the A's themselves could use as many innings as Gray can give them, but I imagine no one is particularly worried about anything over on the green and gold bench. Whatever the A's do seems to work out; lose their starter after 1+? No worries. Have back-to-back 5-inning starts? No worries. Use their closer twice in a row in two high-leverage situations? No worries. The only worry the A's should have is wondering why on earth this game and pitching match-up didn't make it onto the televised list. It's 2014; we're still going radio-only? No worries.

Here's to making it six in a row, and here's to back-to-back sweeps.

Here are your lineups:

Today's Lineups

Coco Crisp - CF David DeJesus - DH
John Jaso - C Evan Longoria - 3B
Josh Donaldson - DH Matt Joyce - LF
Brandon Moss - 1B Wil Myers - RF
Yoenis Cespedes - LF James Loney - 1B
Jed Lowrie - SS D. Jennings - CF
Josh Reddick - RF Cole Figueroa - 2B
A. Callaspo - 3B Yunel Escobar - SS
Eric Sogard - 2B Jose Molina - C
Sonny Gray - RHP Alex Cobb - RHP