Every single time I think that the 2014 bubble has burst, taking the Oakland A's back to earth with it, this team does something so magical, so unexpected, so incredible, that I have to take a full moment to let it all soak in. Is 2014 really happening? Are we in a real pennant race, with the high stakes, the close games, the every-day-matters mentality and the playoff feel of late July? Did we really come back with a six-run rally last night to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, taking down the Astros at the exact same time the Angels fell to Baltimore as our lead swung from a mere half game to two and a half with one tick of the clock?
Houston be damned; scoring six runs in the ninth in any league, in any game, much less in one with a must-win feel, is a feat you rarely have the opportunity to see, and we did last night, as the A's turned a series loss into a series tie, and will go for a series win right now.
Jason Hammel will take the mound for the A's in this afternoon's game, facing off with a team against which he has had a measure of success. Hammel hasn't been great in his starts for the A's; he's been positively pedestrian, but he has a chance to turn it all around today, as the A's need to keep their series-win streak alive. He'll be facing off against Dallas Keuchel, a left-handed pitcher for Houston, which means--you guessed it--Billy Burns is making his first major league start. In the big leagues. Right now. Let that sink in, kid, and also? We're looking for ground balls, not fly outs. K, thanks.
Also, Chris Carter (flu) will be sitting this one out for the Astros, which takes a huge home run threat out of the lineup.
Let's do this.
Here are your complete lineups:
|OAKLAND A'S||HOUSTON ASTROS|
|Billy Burns - CF||Jose Altuve - 2B|
|Jed Lowrie - SS||Enrique Hernandez - CF|
|Yoenis Cespedes - LF||Jason Castro - DH|
|Josh Donaldson - DH||Marc Krauss - LF|
|Derek Norris - C||Jonathan Singleton - 1B|
|Brandon Moss - 1B||Matt Dominguez - 3B|
|Alberto Callaspo - 3B||Carlos Corporan - C|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Robbie Grossman - RF|
|Nick Punto - 2B||Gregorio Petit - SS|
|Jason Hammel - RHP||Dallas Keuchel - LHP|
LET'S GO OAK-LAND!