The A's got a brutal 10-game East Coast road trip started on the right foot yesterday with a 1-run win against NY (AL). The bullpen continued to look nails, outdueling yet another of the best relief corps in baseball to lock down the extra innings victory. MLB Central still pretends that the Yankees bullpen is the only one in existence, but the A's managed a couple of hits against the mighty Dellin Betances and sneakily have some of the best relief pitching in baseball.
On the other side of the equation, the bats remain cold. Clutch hitting and tremendous pitching has kept the A's at a .500 record through the first two weeks of the season, but several hitters continue to swing an iron bat. Some people are starting to get nervous, but if anything, this all just makes me more optimistic about this season. If this team can grind out wins and rely on its bullpen to keep them in the game even with minimal offense, then the A's have the potential to be surprisingly good once the bats wake up, Hahn/Alvarez/Manaea break the rotation, and the bullpen (hopefully) has to pitch fewer high-leverage innings.
Taking the mound for the anthropomorphic bags of money that are the Yankees is another righty, Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has had a feast/famine year so far, garnering strikeouts for nearly half of his outs but also giving up more than one hit per inning, including several home runs. In a small sample size, several Athletics have had good career success against Eovaldi, including Burns, Alonso, Reddick, and Vogt.
Starting for the Athletics is right-handed pitcher Kendall Graveman. Graveman took a tough no-decision in his last outing against the Angels and sports a season record of 0-1, but that just proves how meaningless win/loss record is for pitchers, as Graveman has been very solid so far. While he has failed to go more than 6 innings thus far, he has also limited opponents to no more than 4 hits/2 earned runs in each of his first couple of starts.
No Mark Canha in the lineup tonight, so somebody else will have to come through with the big hit.
|OAKLAND A'S||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Billy Burns - CF||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|Chris Coghlan - 2B||Starlin Castro - 2B|
|Josh Reddick - RF||Carlos Beltran - RF|
|Danny Valencia - 3B||Mark Teixeira - 1B|
|Stephen Vogt - C||Brian McCann - C|
|Jed Lowrie - DH||Alex Rodriguez - DH|
|Khris Davis - LF||Chase Headley - 3B|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Marcus Semien - SS||Aaron Hicks - LF|
|Kendall Graveman - RHP||Nathan Eovaldi - RHP|
Hopefully the bats heat up today and the A's can light up the Yankees before our bullpen goes up in smoke. Happy 4/20, and go A's!