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Game Thread #30: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Life is wonderful thing. Not only is the Earth in the "Goldilocks zone," allowing for life to exist on this space rock in the first place, but every single person on Earth today is a product of more than a billion years of their ancestors successfully passing along their genes before dying in some horrible way, ergo, every single person on Earth today is the byproduct of evolution's winners. Not only is every person on Earth a winner, in that regard anyways, each person has survived countless individual and personal strifes to get to the point that they are today, and the sheer fact that any of us are alive ought to be celebrated daily.

But mostly what people, myself included, focus on are the constant disappointments and inconveniences that life throws at them daily. Whether it's family issues or annoying coworkers or rain-delayed baseball games, the bad stuff in life typically does a much better job of keeping people down that the good stuff in life does in keeping people up. For the Oakland A's, currently at 13-16 and four games out of first place in the AL West, while the team hasn't been great by any stretch of the word, considering how tough the schedule has been up to this point in the season and the bevy of prospects banging on the door to make exciting Major League debuts, there is a lot to be excited about for this team. But, when taking a closer look at just how the A's have gotten to this point in the season, it's much easier to feel disappointment. The offense was supposed to be full of tough outs from top to bottom, but has been one of the worst performing units in all of the majors. The A's started the first half of this tough stretch of the season in wonderful fashion, sweeping the Yankees and winning four straight, but have been limping along since then, culminating in an incredibly heartbreaking loss to the Mariners in which the normally phenomenal bullpen gave away a game in which the A's scored eight runs off the the mighty Felix Hernandez. As it stands, it is very hard to watch this team currently play and not expect more.

So, while the A's shot at redemption from that horrid game and less than stellar stretch of baseball was disappointingly delayed by rain last night, the shot at turning the bad times around and potentially even starting a winning streak by nightfall starts with a doubleheader today against the Baltimore Orioles. In the morning game, the A's Rich Hill will be taking on the Orioles' Mike Wright. Hill is a pitcher who, you could argue, has amazing ability that ought to be celebrated, but has largely been a disappointment throughout his career. Rich Hill, to this point of the season, has been doing his best to make up for lost time in his long career by emerging as one of Oakland's most dependable starters on the season as well as one of the Major League's top strikeout pitchers. Mike Wright is fairly new to the big stage, in just his second season on a major league team, but he has yet to ever really experience high levels of success in the minor leagues, consistently anyways, and is still looking to shine in the bigs, and surely looking to not disappoint himself, his team, and his fan base in the process.

Danny Valencia is returning to the A's lineup today, looking to return strong after very disappointingly injuring his hamstring earlier in the season. Game starts just after 10:00 am on the west coast, with rain expected to fall in the middle of the game. But after two long days, baseball is alive once again, meaning it is time to celebrate, and it is time for the A's to redeem themselves.

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Billy Burns - CF Joey Rickard - RF
Jed Lowrie - 2B Manny Machado - 3B
Josh Reddick - RF Chris Davis - 1B
Khris Davis - DH Mark Trumbo - DH
Stephen Vogt - C Adam Jones - CF
Danny Valencia - 3B Matt Wieters - C
Coco Crisp - LF Nolan Reimold - LF
Yonder Alonso - 1B Jonathan Schoop - 2B
Marcus Semien - SS Paul Janish - SS
Rich Hill - LHP Mike Wright - RHP