I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of a Los Angeles Angels fan at the moment. Trailing by four games now after coming so close to reaching the Athletics, hopes remain high that if Mike Scioscia stumbles his way into managing a good game, the Angels could catch up using the 10 games remaining against the Oakland Athletics. The 2012 A's did something like that, right?
The Athletics will send Jeff Samardzija to the hill to face the Minnesota Twins. In his six starts with the Athletics, the Shark is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA. The A's are 5-1 in his starts. His shortest outing of 6⅔ innings came July 29 against the Houston Astros, and he has otherwise had two starts of eight innings and three starts of seven innings.
The Twins will oppose Samardzija with the Major League debut of right-handed pitcher Trevor May. May's 2.93 ERA was sixth best in the International League amongst pitchers with at least 12 starts. Minor League Ball's John Sickels notes that May, 24, returned in late July from strained right calf, and was selected to pitch in this year's Futures Game before his injury.
He posted a 4.51 ERA with a 159/67 K/BB in 152 innings for Double-A New Britain last year, but this season he has shown better command with obviously positive results. He features a 92-95 MPH fastball and has made good progress refining his curveball, slider, and changeup.
In four International League starts since returning from the injury, May is 0-2 with a 2.41 ERA. He reached 99 pitches on his last start on August 4.
|MINNESOTA TWINS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Danny Santana - CF||Coco Crisp - CF|
|Brian Dozier - 2B||Sam Fuld - LF|
|Trevor Plouffe - 3B||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|Kennys Vargas - DH||Brandon Moss - 1B|
|Josh Willingham - LF||Derek Norris - C|
|Chris Parmelee - 1B||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Eduardo Escobar - SS||Jed Lowrie - SS|
|Eric Fryer - C||Stephen Vogt - DH|
|Jordan Schafer - RF||Eric Sogard - 2B|
John Jaso is the odd catcher out tonight, sitting against the right-hander May so that Stephen Vogt is the designated hitter, Brandon Moss is at first base, and Sam Fuld is at left field. Derek Norris is your catcher tonight. Alberto Callaspo is an available switch-hitter. Jonny Gomes and Nate Freiman are available right-handed bats.
At the Coliseum tonight
It's a Tony La Russa Hall of Fame bobblehead for 20,000 lucky fans tonight, honoring the recent inductee and two-team two-league World Series champion manager. La Russa will throw out tonight's ceremonial first pitch.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his family are attending tonight's game:
Coincidence: two lanes of the Bay Bridge are closed RT @susanslusser: NJ governor Chris Christie will be at the Coliseum w/ family tonight— Athletics Nation (@athleticsnation) August 9, 2014
First pitch is at 6:05! Let's go Oakland!