Sonny Gray takes the hill and hopes to lead the Athletics to a four-game sweep of Halos. Gray poses a strong career record in Angel Stadium, one of the only five teams who name their stadium the same as their squad. Gray is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in four career appearances at Angel Stadium. Since returning from the disabled list on May 21, Gray is 0-1 with a 3.28 ERA and is looking stronger with each outing, the ball is crisper and faster with strong movement. Seven strikeouts and only one earned run in his last outing (no-decision versus Brewers on Tuesday) is a prime example of how this right-handed ace is coming back. Also to note: Sonny has also allowed two or fewer runs in three of his last four starts.
Opposing Gray is Hector Santiago who stands 4-4 with a 4.99 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in his 15 starts this year. Like a teeter-totter, that appears to be Santiago's 2016 metaphor. Not even completing the second inning on June 11th before getting pulled, he followed this with 6 strong innings in a one-run, no-decision in his last outing against Houston. Maybe he will teeter today and make this easy on the boys. It's possible given Rotoworld's graphic of Santiago's erratic fantasy point movement week-to-week (x-axis) through this season. Most important to note here is the positive and negative point value (y-axis).
As for our bats, I don't know how surprised A's fans are. Khris Davis leads in home runs (18) and RBI's (50) which—given the high hopes and slow start—finally places him where most A's fans hoped he would be. Danny Valencia leads with 67 hits, something that glimmered last season and ignited hope in his 183 at-bats with Oakland last season. But what's really fantastic is that Valencia is .348 in the last 7 days and has a .349 away BA, a season average of .333 in 201ABs. It's no surprise that Melvin has Valencia batting 3rd and Davis in the cleanup role. Looking on, what seems a bit surprising is Jed Lowrie's place on the leaderboard with a batting average of .292. Not that he lacks consistency or strong plate discipline. But Vogt, Davis, Semien, Burns, and Crisp are .20-.60 lower. Quite a gap that needs to decrease for us to really begin supporting our starting lineup consistently through the rest of the season.
Out of curiosity, who do A's fans think should be at the top with Valencia? Take the poll below.
Finally, we should note that Marcus Semien has come a long way defensively since last season where he racked up a record-setting 35 errors with a .947 fielding percentage. Almost half way through the season now, he has a total of 8 errors and a strong fielding percentage of .977. For those of you who join me in getting annoyed by Fosse and Kuiper discussing EVERY game how Marcus and Ron Washington do a ten minute warm up fielding drill before every game, it does seem to be working. I am publicaly committing to trying to be more patient with Ray and Kuip. Peeeetzaaaaa!
In other A's news, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Athletics and Josh Reddick plan to enter contract extension talks before the trade deadline. The sticking point is that Reddick wants a four-year deal and the A's have offered a three-year deal. He is currently making $6.575 million this season with 2017 being his free-agency year. It's not surprising that Reddick would want a longer deal; it will allow him to go all out and scale the walls with less fear of injury should he have a longer contract. Either way, for our right field bleacher faithfuls as well as the rest of us, a deal is an absolute MUST. If you haven't looked lately, in his 41 games this season, Josh has had 146 at-bats in 41 games and holds a .322 batting average, .394 OBP, and a .466 slugging percentage.
So, after all of the above, Lowrie is not in today's lineup, a routine day off, and replaced by Alcantara. With Butler at DH in the 5 slot (if he hits) with Smolinski following Valencia and Davis looks promising, the lineup looks promising. Go A's.
|OAKLAND A'S||LOS ANGELES ANGELS|
|Coco Crisp - CF||Kole Calhoun - RF|
|Marcus Semien - SS||Mike Trout - CF|
|Danny Valencia - 3B||Albert Pujols - DH|
|Khris Davis - LF||C.J. Cron - 1B|
|Billy Butler - DH||Johnny Giavotella - 2B|
|Jake Smolinski - RF||Jefry Marte - 3B|
|Josh Phegley - C||Daniel Nava - LF|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Carlos Perez - C|
|Arismendy Alcantara - 2B||Andrelton Simmons - SS|
|Sonny Gray - RHP||Hector Santiago - LHP|
Which Athletic did you expect to be at the top of the batting leader board?
This poll is closed