The next few weeks may wind up being the most important in the entire season for this Oakland A's team. With April ancient history and May rapidly coming to a close, the time of playing "wait and see" with the roster is ending. The A's aren't out of the playoff hunt yet, but with each passing day their chances diminish a little bit more. The A's have been absurdly streaky in the first two months, alternating sweeps and getting swept, and are currently on what is hopefully the tail end of their latest skid. Over these next few weeks, if the team gets hot again and closes some ground in the standings, it is likely that the team will be mostly kept together, with maybe a few minor pieces getting dealt for minor improvements to the squad. If the team continues to skid, or continues to show inconsistency, over the next few weeks, the September Oakland A's will likely look much different than the A's playing today.
Jesse Hahn is making the start today for the A's. After a strong opening start to his season he has had lackluster results in the starts he has made since. As a pitcher who is dependent on getting his opposition to hit the ball on the ground, Hahn has been a little homer-happy to begin the year. In addition, Jesse Hahn has been unable to put hitters away all season, and has a strikeout rate below nine percent. To succeed against a tough Tigers lineup, Hahn will have to find his strikeout pitch and avoid mistakes up in the zone, otherwise he could have a quick outing.
The Tigers have clawed and scratched their way back to an above .500 record after their own poor start, and are now in a competitive position in their division. Taking the mound for the Tigers today is Matt Boyd, who is making his season debut in place of an injured Jordan Zimmerman. Last season, Matt Boyd had limited exposure in the majors, and it didn't go all that great, pitching to an ERA of 6.57 and a FIP of 5.98, with a Home Run rate of 2.7/9 as the primary culprit. This is a new season, however, and Matt Boyd has been dominating in Triple-A Toledo, with an ERA of 2.06 and a Home Run rate of 0.6/9 in 48 innings pitched this season.
Fitting in with the unpredictably of this season, this game could really go either way, depending both on which version of Matt Boyd shows up and which version(s) of the A's show up. Lineups are below.
|DETROIT TIGERS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Ian Kinsler - 2B||Coco Crisp - LF|
|J.D. Martinez - RF||Billy Burns - CF|
|Miguel Cabrera - 1B||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Victor Martinez - DH||Danny Valencia - 3B|
|Nick Castellanos - 3B||Khris Davis - DH|
|Justin Upton - LF||Billy Butler - 1B|
|Cameron Maybin - CF||Josh Phegley - C|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Jose Iglesias - SS||Jake Smolinski - RF|
|Matt Boyd - LHP||Jesse Hahn - RHP|