After earning a desperately needed win yesterday, the A's get another shot at a Seattle Mariners squad that has done a fantastic job of staying a contender in a division with the two runaway favorites to win the American League.
The A's will have some added depth in the infield and in their bullpen, as the club announced today (as expected) that it had recalled Nate Freiman and Drew Pomeranz from Class-A Beloit. Freiman is getting thrown right back into the fire, as he's playing first base and batting sixth tonight against the Mariners and their left-handed starter, James Paxton.
Athletics September call-ups: Round 2
Paxton, a 2010 Mariners draft pick, burst onto the big-league scene briefly in April, and again in August. He has been a revelation in his past six weeks with the big club — a week ago today, he threw 6⅔ scoreless innings against Texas, and he's lasted at least six innings and allowed no more than one earned run in three of his past four starts.
As he always does against lefties, Bob Melvin has the Oakland lineup stacked with right-handed bats. Tonight's platoon specialists include Craig Gentry in center field, Jonny Gomes in left, Derek Norris at DH, and Geovany Soto catching.
Josh Reddick is the lineup's lone lefty, getting the start over the switch-hitting Billy Burns, who is clearly only in Oakland in case the A's need a late-inning stolen base in a tight game. Alberto Callaspo, much maligned for his recent offensive performance, is getting the start at second base.
The biggest recent Oakland storyline is out of the lineup, however. Adam Dunn will be on the bench to begin the game, though if and when the A's knock out Paxton, it's a good bet that he'll bat as a pinch-hitter once Melvin and Lloyd McClendon start mixing and matching.
Sonny Gray will start for the A's, and he's been solid in his last two starts, both of which came against a daunting Angels lineup. In the first start, he gave up three runs in 8⅓ innings, then allowed three runs over 7 innings in Anaheim, earning the win in the first game and receiving no decision in the second.
First pitch is at 7:05pm, at which point the Angels-Astros game (first pitch is at 5:10pm) should be in the later innings, giving the A's and their fans the opportunity to know whether they're playing to gain a game, or to prevent their 4.5 game AL West deficit from expanding.
|SEATTLE MARINERS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Austin Jackson - CF||Craig Gentry - CF|
|Dustin Ackley - LF||Jed Lowrie - SS|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|Kyle Seager - 3B||Jonny Gomes - LF|
|Kendrys Morales - DH||Derek Norris - DH|
|Logan Morrison - 1B||Nate Freiman - 1B|
|Endy Chavez - RF||Geovany Soto - C|
|Brad Miller - SS||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Jesus Sucre - C||Alberto Callaspo - 2B|