I'm sure many of you will be tuning into the NBA Finals as the Golden State Warriors look to secure their fifth NBA Championship as a franchise -- two of which would presumably come against the Cleveland Cavaliers in back-to-back years, if the Dubs can lock down one more victory in the next three games or so. However, I like the Warriors' chances of getting it done tonight in Oakland, in front of some of the most devoted, passionate and rowdy fans in the game.
Across the concourse you will find the best fans in all of professional sports, watching Sean Manaea take on the first-place Texas Rangers at the Coliseum. While Golden State's time is now, the A's have a bright future in front of them -- and are beginning to witness the "Youth Movement" with Manaea on the mound tonight, and Daniel Mengden looking quite impressive after surrendering just two runs in 5 2/3 innings with five punch outs, against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
Lets not forget what Oakland's Triple-A affiliate is accomplishing down in Nashville. Currently, they own a 38-24 record (.613) and have a four-game lead over the Round Rock Express (Rangers) in the Pacific Coast League American Southern Division. In the month of May, Nashville tallied up 22 wins in a 30-game span -- highlighted by a seven and nine-game winning streaks at there respective moments in time.
A's third base prospect Ryon Healy is absolutely tearing it up for the Sounds, and it's only a matter of time -- via trade or injury, before the 24-year-old and his impressive .343/.406/.606/1.012 slash line with 11 round trippers and 49 RBI in 59 games gets a promotion to the majors. Renato Nunez is having a respectable season with Nashville as is Matt Chapman who is of course... doing Matt Chapman things with the bat in Midland, and therefore should be a valuable asset for years to come when he is eventually promoted to the green and gold.
Sean Manaea | #55 | LHP | (2-4, 6.20 ERA)
The 24-year-old from Valparaiso, Indiana has settled into the big leagues quite nicely since getting the call on April 29 against the Houston Astros at the Coliseum. One of those appearances coming against the Rangers on May 16 in Oakland in which he tossed 6 2/3 of one-run ball, surrendered just four hits and struck out three -- against a stacked middle of the order lineup including Nomar Mazara, Adrian Beltre and Ian Desmond. That night, Manaea was absolutely masterful on the mound; not only was he keeping his off-speed pitches down, but his fastball had exceptional life on Monday -- as the southpaw consistently hit 95, 96, 97 miles per hour on the radar gun. Since that outing Manaea has tossed a minimum of six innings and racked up an equally impressive 22:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Cesar Ramos | #55 | LHP | (1-2, 3.58 ERA)
The 2005 first-round pick will make tonight's spot start for Rangers' ace Yu Darvish who was scheduled to pitch in the series opener. Darvish left his previous outing against the Astros after five innings and 76 pitches with shoulder tightness. The right-hander threw a bullpen session on Friday and another throwing session on Saturday, although, that appearance was cut short due to neck and shoulder tightness.
At this moment, it is unclear if Darvish's 2016 campaign is in jeopardy; but he doesn't sound to concerned -- after addressing through ESPN that it's common for players to have issues like this following surgery. Ramos has made a total of three starts this season -- and has surrendered only five runs altogether. In two of those outings, the south paw pitched six complete innings against the offensively potent Astros and New York Yankees, and coughed up four free passes and punched out a total of nine.
Without further ado, here are tonight's starting lineups:
|TEXAS RANGERS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Shin-Soo Choo - RF||Coco Crisp - CF|
|Ian Desmond - CF||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Jurickson Profar - 3B||Danny Valencia - 3B|
|Rougned Odor - 2B||Khris Davis - LF|
|Ryan Rua - LF||Billy Butler - DH|
|Prince Fielder - DH||Josh Phegley - C|
|Elvis Andrus - SS||Jake Smolinski - RF|
|Mitch Moreland - 1B||Yonder Alonso - 1B|
|Bobby Wilson - C||Tyler Ladendorf - 2B|
|Cesar Ramos - LHP||Sean Manaea - LHP|
Now, lets PLAY BALL!