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Game Thread #111: A's vs. Rays

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Jason O. Watson

Here's a crazy thought ... How about the A's win the first game of a series? LOCO, I KNOW!!! But mayhap they would give it a whirl? Because my blood pressure is exactly "quite a bit over not much" with Oakland's division lead all of 1 game thanks to a 6-6 run against the likes of Houston, Texas, and Kansas City.

If there's a window of opportunity to create some distance, this might be the week. As the A's are hosting the Priceless Rays and Minnesota Twins for 7 games, the Angels begin a home-and-home 4-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Dodgers throwing Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw the first two games.

As for the game Oakland can influence directly, Jeff Samardzija gets the ball tonight against Alex Cobb. Cobb features a low 90s fastball and wipeout changeup, something the A's saw plenty of yesterday from the masterful James Shields.

Though he is not nearly as well known as Shields, Cobb is a very accomplished pitcher who has had plenty of success against Oakland. On May 22nd, Cobb tossed 6⅔ IP of shutout ball at the A's, allowing just 3 hits. In 6 career starts against Oakland, Cobb is 3-2, 2.34 ERA with 2 complete games and his only career shutout.

Coco Crisp is making progress towards being back in the lineup, but that is different from actually being back in the lineup. Following his 2 HR game Sunday, Josh Reddick moves up in the lineup to the #6 spot and Stephen Vogt, battling an 0 for 17 skid, drops down to #8.

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS OAKLAND A'S
Desmond Jennings - CF Sam Fuld - CF
Ben Zobrist - LF John Jaso - DH
Matt Joyce - DH Josh Donaldson - 3B
Evan Longoria - 3B Brandon Moss - LF
James Loney - 1B Derek Norris - C
Logan Forsythe - 2B Josh Reddick - RF
Yunel Escobar - SS Jed Lowrie - SS
Jose Molina - C Stephen Vogt - 1B
Kevin Kiermaier - RF Eric Sogard - 2B