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Game Thread #44: Athletics vs.Yankees

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What lurks within this team's deepest trenches?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

By many stretches, humanity knows more about the cosmos than it does about the darkest depths of our very own Earth's oceans. There is no telling what kind of mysteries have merely yet to reveal themselves beneath the waves. Small holes in the ground or in mountains can give way to intricate and delicate caves and reservoirs. Icebergs, famously so, only reveal more or less the top ten percent of its entire structure, and it's the part of the iceberg that one cannot see that causes danger. Very rarely can anyone gleam the whole truth of what is or isn't by merely studying what is on the surface.

On the surface, these A's are a team with talent, but a team that cannot consistently play up to that talent's full potential. There have been slow starts, injuries, some sloppy fundamentals, and there have been flashes of drama and dominance. Whenever it appears the team has righted its ship and successfully navigated through treacherous waters, another iceberg appears over the horizon to throw the team off course again. The talent to succeed is there, it's just somewhere below the surface, and it is up to the players, management, and the front office to all successfully work together to figure out how to bring it up, whatever it is, and showcase it to the rest of the MLB.

On the surface, Sean Manaea is a bright-eyed young stud of a ballplayer with significant potential but still plenty of growing to do. He has demonstrated an ability to pitch incredibly poorly, but not let that carry over to his next start. He is finding the strike zone but occasionally finding too much of it. He is pitching admirably in an effort to fully secure a spot in the starting rotation that seemingly no other pitcher on the team, save for Hill, wants to have. But that is just what is on his surface. There is possibly a future staff ace and team leader, there is possibly a strong force of positive change in the greater Oakland area and community, there is possibly a close friend to a teammate who truly needs it during rough times. When Sean Manaea first joined the team, he likely had to have a lot of pleasant, safe, surface-level conversation with the teammates who become like a family after spending enough time together, and as he spends more and more time with his new team, those relationships will get deeper and deeper and the likelihood he can reach his true talent on both the field and the clubhouse will increase. Opposing Sean Manaea is Yankees' ace Masahiro Tanaka.

On the surface, today's starting lineup tasked with besting Tanaka is unconventional, to say the least. Crisp and Burns topping the order may be suboptimal, but it's a familiar set up to the lineup. Alonso is batting fifth, which, frankly, seems like an odd placement in the lineup for him due to his lack of power. Though Tanaka pitches right handed, Stephen Vogt will be at least beginning the game on the bench due to his wrist hurting and McBride is starting in his place. Max Muncy is getting his first start of the season with the A's, playing third base after spending most of his time playing left field for the Sounds, and batting ninth. Hopefully, the deeper logic behind this lineup becomes more obvious after the game begins.

The A's are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. They have had periods of success and failure in just about every single facet of a baseball game, but it is never clear before each game starts what the team's strengths and weaknesses will be on that day. There is a lot more to this team than meets the eye, because whatever is showing up on the surface makes very little sense.

Today's Lineups

NEW YORK YANKEES OAKLAND A'S
Jacoby Ellsbury - CF Coco Crisp - CF
Starlin Castro - 2B Billy Burns - RF
Mark Teixeira - 1B Danny Valencia - DH
Carlos Beltran - DH Khris Davis - LF
Chase Headley - 3B Yonder Alonso - 1B
Aaron Hicks - LF Marcus Semien - SS
Rob Refsnyder - RF Chris Coghlan - 2B
Austin Romine - C Matt McBride - C
Ronnie Torreyes - SS Max Muncy - 3B
Masahiro Tanaka - RHP Sean Manaea - LHP

Poll

Off Topic: What is your quick opinion of the potential rule changes being discussed for MLB this morning?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Pro Altering Strike Zone/Pro Automatic Intentional Walk
    (3 votes)
  • 32%
    Pro Altering Strike Zone/Anti Automatic Intentional Walk
    (8 votes)
  • 28%
    Anti Altering Strike Zone/Pro Automatic Intentional Walk
    (7 votes)
  • 28%
    Anti Altering Strike Zone/Anti Automatic Intentional Walk
    (7 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now