Despite an odd start to the season for the Athletics, and despite quite a few new faces wearing the green and gold, these 2015 A's are very similar to past A's teams in one way: they never give up. Many rallies in April had come close to turning games around, but ultimately fell short. However, last night, the A's showed that they meant business, exploding for a seven-run eighth inning to steal game one of this three game set in Texas.
This afternoon, the two teams square off once more. MLB's ERA leader Nick Martinez takes the bump for the Rangers. In his first start of the season, Martinez dominated the A's, throwing seven scoreless innings to pick up the win. This time out, however, a new-look Athletics lineup will look to take advantage of a great hitters park as they try to bump Martinez's otherworldly ERA (0.35) closer to his more realistic xFIP (4.96).
Speaking of, how about that new-look lineup? After today's roster moves, Billy Burns will make his season debut with the Athletics batting leadoff. Manager Bob Melvin, trying to take advantage of Martinez's reverse splits this season (albeit in a small sample), has given regulars Sam Fuld and Stephen Vogt the day off. Josh Reddick will take the three spot from Vogt for today.
Throwing for Oakland this afternoon will be 26 year-old lefty Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz hasn't thrown very well since his first start of the season, but his 57% LOB% will rise closer to the league average rate at some point. Pomeranz also has a 17.4 K-BB% on the young season, which is a great improvement over his rate of 13.7% in 2014. An issue for Pomeranz has been efficiency, as he has often struggled to make it past the fifth inning. He will look to right the ship against a Rangers lineup that is 26th in baseball in runs scored.
For the Rangers, a young righty who has outperformed his peripherals. For the Athletics, a young lefty who has underperformed his. The tables could turn either way in this contest, which will surely be an interesting one to watch. Game time is 5:05 PST. Let's go, Oakland!
|OAKLAND A'S||TEXAS RANGERS|
|Billy Burns - CF||Leonys Martin - CF|
|Marcus Semien - SS||Elvis Andrus - SS|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Prince Fielder - DH|
|Billy Butler - DH||Adrian Beltre - 3B|
|Ike Davis - 1B||Kyle Blanks - 1B|
|Brett Lawrie - 3B||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|Mark Canha - LF||Robinson Chirinos - C|
|Josh Phegley - C||Jake Smolinski - LF|
|Eric Sogard - 2B||Rougned Odor - 2B|
|Drew Pomeranz - LHP||Nick Martinez - RHP|