The A's are in a free-fall, but tonight, they're giving the ball to the pitcher best equipped to pull them out of their funk: Jon Lester.
He'll face off against Chicago's John Danks, owner of a 5.12 ERA on the year. Danks, though, is a lefty, and Oakland's right-handed batters haven't had all that much success recently against southpaws. Bob Melvin is trotting out a lineup that features Jonny Gomes, Derek Norris, Nate Freiman, and Craig Gentry — all the usual suspects against lefties — and is sticking with Alberto Callaspo at second base.
Callaspo's lineup presence might mean, given his recent ineptitude, that Nick Punto isn't available to play despite being reactivated from the DL today. Punto is better in the field and, given the way Callaspo has hit lately, better from the plate. But Oakland's other switch-hitting lefty is 4 for 26 against Danks for his career, while Callaspo is 5 for 9.
Having fallen a full eight games behind Los Angeles in the AL West and clinging to a slim lead over both Detroit and Seattle in the three-teams-for-two-spots Wild Card race, the A's need this win badly. They have two straight favorable pitching matchups in Chicago — Lester vs. Danks and Samardzija (3.21 ERA) vs. Bassitt (7.36 ERA) before Thursday's getaway day game against Chris Sale (2.09).
First pitch from the 'Cell is at 5:10pm Pacific.
|OAKLAND A'S||CHICAGO WHITE SOX|
|Coco Crisp - DH||Adam Eaton - CF|
|Craig Gentry - CF||Alexei Ramirez - SS|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Jose Abreu - 1B|
|Jonny Gomes - LF||Avisail Garcia - RF|
|Derek Norris - C||Dayan Viciedo - DH|
|Jed Lowrie - SS||Tyler Flowers - C|
|Nate Freiman - 1B||Marcus Semien - 3B|
|Alberto Callaspo - 2B||Michael Taylor - LF|
|Sam Fuld - RF||Carlos Sanchez - 2B|
|Jon Lester - LHP||John Danks - LHP|