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Game Thread #108: Athletics vs. Royals

The Oakland Athletics (66-41, 1st AL West +2.0) face the Kansas City Royals (55-52, 2nd AL Central -4.0) to kick off a 10-game homestand.

Jason O. Watson

The fresh-faced ace Sonny Gray (12-3, 2.65, 21 starts) takes the hill for the Oakland Athletics to face off against what will to him be an unfamiliar Royals squad. Gray has never faced Kansas City, and Raul Ibanez is the only one that has ever faced Gray (1-for-8). Ibanez bats seventh tonight.

For the Royals, veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (6-9, 4.70, 21 starts) goes against an A's lineup that features Sam Fuld leading off in his "re-debut." Fuld, however, is 0-for-9 against Guthrie over their careers. Never fear, most of the rest of the lineup has had a great deal more success.

Today's Lineups

Norichika Aoki - RF Sam Fuld - CF
Omar Infante - 2B John Jaso - C
Alex Gordon - LF Josh Donaldson - 3B
Salvador Perez - C Brandon Moss - LF
Mike Moustakas - 3B Jed Lowrie - SS
Billy Butler - 1B Stephen Vogt - 1B
Raul Ibanez - DH Josh Reddick - RF
Alcides Escobar - SS Alberto Callaspo - DH
Jarrod Dyson - CF Eric Sogard - 2B

On tonight's bench, Derek Norris and Jonny Gomes are your right-handed hitters, and Nick Punto is your switch-hitting option. As to Coco Crisp:

The Royals remain without first baseman Eric Hosmer. who was hit on the right hand by a fastball thrown by Jon Lester on July 20 and played hurt until a "non-displaced stress fracture was discovered on Thursday," according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. Hosmer underwent a CT-scan this morning in hopes to rule out season-ending surgery.

Thus, the right-handed choices for the Royals are center fielder Lorenzo Cain, second baseman Christian Colón, and catcher Erik Kratz.

Superhero fireworks & Italian Heritage Night

Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito will sing tonight's National Anthem for tonight's Italian Heritage Night. At this time, it is not believed he will also serve as tonight's home plate umpire, as Enrico Pallazzo famously did after singing our National Anthem when the Queen visited America oh so many years ago, also saving Her Majesty from a dastardly assassination attempt by Reggie Jackson, who claims he was under hypnosis:

Enrico Pallazzo! Enrico Pallazzo! Enrico Pallazzo!

Wikipedia tells me Nick Punto is Italian-American, as well as former A's players and coaches Jason Giambi and Jeremy Giambi, Tony La Russa, Tommy Milone, Chris Denorfia, and Billy Martin.

It's also Superhero Fireworks Night, hence the 6:35 start. As I understand it, Sam Fuld is Superman:

A's and Royals coming up!