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Game Thread #37: A's at Rays

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

All things must come to an end, both good and bad. Great dinosaurs that used to rule the world have been reduced to chickens and turkeys. The Roman and British empires, along with countless more, have all risen and fallen when put up against the test of time. And, perhaps most significantly, after a couple weeks irredeemably bad baseball play, the A's have finally played a game that they both won, as well as won in a relatively unexciting fashion (Madson's 9th inning notwithstanding), in their opening game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kendall Graveman looks to continue to dig the A's out of the six-foot-deep hole they exuberantly thrust themselves into since the calendar switched over to May. The sinkerballer's pitches have shown both increased speed and movement this season, but his location has, by and large, been lacking, as too many of those pitches are crossing the plate too high in the zone. The result of Graveman missing high has been a very unsightly sixteen runs spaced out across fewer than fourteen innings and three starts. With the good amount of power in Tampa Bay's lineup, it will be key for Graveman to locate his offerings lower in the zone, lest he get killed via the homer once again. Opposing Graveman is Redlands native Matt Andriese, making his second start of the season. Arriving to the Tampa Bay Rays' organization in their very own Jesse Hahn trade, Andriese was primarily a reliever last season for the Rays after spending most of his minor league career as a starter. Back as a starter this year, Andriese made a highly successful audition for a permanent spot in the Rays' rotation in a spot start versus the Angels last week.

With the slew of injuries that have steamrolled the club in May, today's lineup looks quite different than any other lineup the team has put forward this season. Perhaps most noticeably, the good-at-hitting Yonder Alonso, who, unlike most of the rest of the A's, has actually been playing to the best or near-best of his ability throughout this dreadful month, will finally be rewarded for his successes at the plate by hitting second, a pretty traditional lineup position for someone of his skillset. Coghlan is now the remaining new acquisition who hasn't totally put it together at the plate yet, but he was unfortunately thrust into a larger role than the team had planned for him, due to the aforementioned slew of injuries, and still has time to improve.

All things come to an end- hopefully the bad baseball doesn't rise from the dead. Who better, then, to lead the team to victory than the A's very own Graveman?

The full lineups for each team is below.

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S TAMPA BAY RAYS
Billy Burns - CF Brandon Guyer - DH
Yonder Alonso - 1B Brad Miller - SS
Josh Reddick - RF Evan Longoria - 3B
Danny Valencia - 3B Corey Dickerson - LF
Stephen Vogt - DH Steven Souza - RF
Khris Davis - LF Logan Morrison - 1B
Marcus Semien - SS Steve Pearce - 2B
Chris Coghlan - 2B Kevin Kiermaier - CF
Matt McBride - C Hank Conger - C
Kendall Graveman - RHP Matt Andriese - RHP