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Game Thread #91: Blue Jays at Athletics

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest storylines surrounding the A's aren't the games at this stage of the season, or the games as a whole, anyways. Trades are looming, new and exciting young players are making their major league debuts, and it isn't clear exactly what direction this team is going to be moving in in days to come. With all that, plus the relentless onslaught of election coverage and horrifying news cycles, it can be easy to forget that baseball games are even being played at all. However, last night proved that A's baseball can still instill joy, regardless of how long the team sticks together, and can still act as a panacea for a fretted mind.

From a new and growing family to a potential trade to a potential extension, there is certainly a lot up in the air and a lot on Sonny Gray's mind as he takes the mound today for the A's. Gray will be looking to rebound from a very uncharacteristically bad first half of the season, and can start fresh, in a way, with his first start of the new half against a potent Blue Jays lineup. Opposing Sonny Gray is R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who has had a typically solid season to point, if not slightly better overall than he has had in previous years.

Today's A's lineup is highly reflective of the team's new policies towards Danny Valencia and Coco Crisp, as Healy once again will make the start at third, Jake Smolinski will start in center field, Valencia will be the designated hitter, and Jed Lowrie will be batting leadoff. Full lineups are below. First pitch is at 1:05 Pacific.

Today's Lineups

Ezequiel Carrera - RF Jed Lowrie - 2B
Josh Donaldson - 3B Yonder Alonso - 1B
Edwin Encarnacion - DH Josh Reddick - RF
Michael Saunders - LF Danny Valencia - DH
Troy Tulowitzki - SS Khris Davis - LF
Kevin Pillar - CF Stephen Vogt - C
Justin Smoak - 1B Marcus Semien - SS
Darwin Barney - 2B Jake Smolinski - CF
Josh Thole - C Ryon Healy - 3B
R.A. Dickey - RHP Sonny Gray - RHP