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Game Thread #61: Athletics at Reds

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Sometimes, it seems as if the narratives write themselves.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is quite unforgiving. No matter the levels of talent, no matter the expectations, no matter the "what ifs," baseball has a way of ripping the hearts out of fans everywhere and doing minimal work to pick up the pieces. The A's aren't out of it yet, and there is always reason to hold onto hope, but odds are this season won't be the one that ends with the A's winning the last game and hoisting a world series trophy. The talent and potential is there, and the franchise has done a remarkable job to stay mostly competitive on a small budget, but as things currently stand, the A's don't have consistent enough starting pitching and offensive production to push themselves into a playoff position. It is only June, and it can be disheartening for one's beloved team to already be playing "non-competitive" baseball this early in the season, but there are still a wide variety of reasons to proudly wear team colors and cheer for the A's throughout the summer.

Baseball is perhaps most unforgiving in its minor leagues. Each year, starry eyed youngsters with incredibly vast hopes and dreams are given a chance to change their lives in a way that few are ever given the opportunity, and they can't follow through despite their best efforts and intentions. To say reaching the major leagues is special is a dramatic understatement, and the feeling of achieving that goal is a feeling that must be near impossible to transcribe. This is why, when a young ballplayer exceeds all expectations and rises to the occasion, it is vital to take notice.

Daniel Mengden began this season pitching for the Double A Midland Rockhounds, and performed so exceptionally well that he earned himself a promotion to Triple A Nashville after just one month in the season. He didn't miss a beat for the Sounds, and over the next month produced equally dominant numbers for his new team. His dominance of the minor leagues can be at least partially credited to the addition of a cutter to his repertoire, and with most of the A's starting rotation sputtering, Mengden could be here to say with a string of strong starts to begin his major league career. Most players take years upon years to develop and tap into their potential, but Mengden appears to have taken the fast-track. Such a dramatic rise is rare, and hasn't been seen in the A's organization since one Dan Straily did the same just a few years ago. Straily will be facing Mengden today for the Reds.

Starting lineups are below.

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S CINCINNATI REDS
Coco Crisp - LF Zack Cozart - SS
Jed Lowrie - 2B Joey Votto - 1B
Stephen Vogt - C Brandon Phillips - 2B
Danny Valencia - 3B Jay Bruce - RF
Yonder Alonso - 1B Adam Duvall - LF
Marcus Semien - SS Eugenio Suarez - 3B
Max Muncy - RF Tyler Holt - CF
Billy Burns - CF Tucker Barnhart - C
Daniel Mengden - RHP Dan Straily - RHP