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Game Thread #54: A's vs. Twins

The A's look to complete the sweep of a struggling Twins squad.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Howdy all!

I've been out of town for the last week but I've been keeping tabs on my beloved A's, and with the exception of the Zach Neal blowout last week, it seems like the team has been playing much better baseball recently. Maybe the players-only meeting on Friday will prove to be a turning point in this season as we're looking back later. One can hope.

The Twins stand as evidence that baseball is the cruelest and most fickle of all sports. After surprising everyone last year with an incredibly hot start, the Twins slowly slipped out of contention before losing their Wild Card spot in the 2nd to last game of the season. Despite the fact that they seem to have outperformed their true talent by at least a bit, there was much optimism that they would again be contenders this year. Things...haven't exactly turned out that way. The Twins are the worst team in the AL and the second worst in all of baseball. They started the season with a week and a half of nonstop losses before finally getting that first W, and things have hardly gotten better since then. Despite sweeping the Mariners recently, the Twin Cities team has pretty much been in free fall since day one.

The A's have won the first 2 games of this series and are angling for a much-needed sweep today with Sean Manaea on the mound. The rookie has had some ups and downs this season, but his changeup has been looking increasingly effective and he's been lasting deeper into games in his last few appearances, going at least into the 6th inning in his last 3 starts.

Pitching for the Twins is leftie Pat Dean. Dean, like Manaea, is green (though not gold); he has started two major league games and got his first win last week, outdueling Felix Hernandez.

So this will be kind of interesting - with two rookie lefties on the mound, zero batters on either team have ever faced the opposing pitcher.

Today's Lineups

Eduardo Nunez - DH Coco Crisp - LF
Robbie Grossman - LF Jed Lowrie - 2B
Brian Dozier - 2B Danny Valencia - 3B
Trevor Plouffe - 3B Khris Davis - DH
Byung-ho Park - 1B Billy Butler - 1B
Eduardo Escobar - SS Josh Phegley - C
Max Kepler - RF Marcus Semien - SS
Juan Centeno - C Jake Smolinski - RF
Byron Buxton - CF Billy Burns - CF
Pat Dean - LHP Sean Manaea - LHP

Action starts at 12:35 PT. Unfortunately, it seems the game will only be broadcast via MLB Network and will not be shown on CSN. Yay Wednesdays. Go A's!