The Athletics face the Marlins in the penultimate game of the penultimate half of the season. The A's will try to be the only team to reach 50 victories in the first half. The American League has not had a 100-win team since the 2009 New York Yankee, which ultimately defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in a six-game World Series.
The fresh-faced ace Sonny Gray (7-3, 2.91, 15 starts) takes the hill for the Green and Gold. Gray is coming in on nine days rest after his turn was skipped to give him extra rest in light of this week's two off days. Gray is eager to show off his bunting skills, and told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he has asked Bob Melvin to give him the pre-game green light to steal second. In the same article, Gray and Jesse Chavez were playing catch on the beach in Key Biscayne, but there are unfortunately no pictures accompanying the article.
Opposing Gray on the hill is Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 3.52, 16 starts). I had this bit where I pretended I kept getting him confused with Italian composers, but it sounded funnier in my head than it did when I wrote it down. From yesterday's series preview with Scott Gelman of Fish Stripes:
Nathan Eovaldi has been a bit of a project for the Marlins. While he arguably has the best arm on the staff, Henderson Alvarez has proven to be the most consistent.
Eovaldi has refined his delivery a bit, but it is the velocity on his fastball that allows him to get ahead in counts. Control of his slider tends to dictate whether or not he will be successful. Eovaldi has had trouble throwing strikes of late, so if the A's remain patient, they should get some good pitches to hit if they can get deep in counts. He did, though, pitch well in his last outing against the Phillies (6⅓ IP, no runs).
|OAKLAND A'S||MIAMI MARLINS|
|Coco Crisp - CF||Reed Johnson - LF|
|John Jaso - C||Derek Dietrich - 2B|
|Yoenis Cespedes - LF||Giancarlo Stanton - RF|
|Brandon Moss - 1B||Casey McGehee - 3B|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Garrett Jones - 1B|
|Jed Lowrie - SS||Marcell Ozuna - CF|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C|
|Alberto Callaspo - 2B||Donovan Solano - SS|
|Sonny Gray - RHP||Nathan Eovaldi - RHP|
A single catcher again today with John Jaso starting against the right-handed Eovaldi. Derek Norris is unlikely to be available off the bench today, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reports. Slusser also reports that Eric Sogard was the primary candidate to be demoted if it had not been for Kyle Blanks' trip to the disabled list. Sogard has started just one of the last eight games.
Your bench choices are the switch-hitting Nick Punto, the left-handed Eric Sogard and Stephen Vogt, and the right-handed Craig Gentry and (probably unavailable) Derek Norris.
If we win again today, it's called a winning streak. It has happened before.
Items of note from the Oakland Athletics game notes. (I guess they're all notable, since they're in the notes. Let's call them notable notables.)
- At 49-30, the A's have had the best record for ten consecutive days. Their 79-game start is the fourth best in Oakland history, behind the Athletics of 1971 (52 wins), 1988 (50), and 1975 (50).
- The A's clinched 13 consecutive winning months (excluding March and October), tied for the longest streak in Oakland history with the Sept. 1970-Sept. 1972 Athletics. The franchise record is 15 months set from July 1928-Sept. 1930 by the Philadelphia Athletics.
- Runs DMC (Donaldson, Moss, Cespedes) make the A's the only team in the majors with three players with at least 50 runs batted in.
- The A's have reached 79 games on their rookie-less streak, the longest in Oakland history. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that this is the longest season-opening streak by a Major League team since the 2005 Cleveland Indiands went the first 82 games without playing a rookie.
- Sean Doolittle is four outs from a relief perfect game. Yeah, I talked about it, so would Vin Scully because you're not dumb. Anyway, he has also pitched 26⅓ consecutive scoreless innings, fourth on the list. Brad Ziegler holds the record at 39 consecutive scoreless innings. Doolittle is the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out 45 batters prior to issuing his second walk according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
- Since the 2013 All-Star Break, Brandon Moss is third in home runs (32) and runs batted in (100).
- Hitting streaks: Callaspo - 2 games, Cespedes - 11 games, Crisp - 3 games, Donaldson - 2 games, Gentry - 0 for 4, Jaso - 0 for 1, Lowrie - 1 game, Moss - 5 games, Norris - 2 games, Punto - 0 for 17, Reddick - 2 games, Sogard - 0 for 6, Vogt, 1 game.
First pitch is at 1:10 pm! Let's go A's!