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Game Thread #96: A's vs. Rays

After taking 2 out of 3 from good ball clubs (Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros), the Athletics hope to continue their streak of series wins vs. the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

Sonny takes the hill.
Sonny takes the hill.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletics went into the All Star Break with a 38-51 record that was full of streaks, injuries and, ultimately, disappointment. After playing well in Houston prior to the break, where a 2-2 record in the 4 game set was two blown saves away from being an Athletics road sweep, the A's have come out of the break strongly with a 4-2 record against teams in the thick of the playoff hunt and have moved to 42-53. However, they remain in last in the AL West.

The A's hope to continue that stretch of recent winning play in a 4 game set that begins tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays. After starting the year fairly strong, the Rays have plummeted to a 37-57 record, last in the AL East, and 2nd worst in the AL, and have joined the conversation as potential sellers prior to the coming August 1st trade deadline.

With both teams playing with the question mark of what will happen to their respective roster before the trade deadline, it will be intriguing to see which of the two teams shows more focus and fight in this stretch run. We will have 4 games between the two to closely observe their respective make up.

Tonight, each team will be led by young veteran pitchers who have had their names pop up on the potential trade radar, as the host Athletics send dented ace Sonny Gray to the mound to try to improve on his un-Sonny-like numbers of a 4-8 record, 5.12 ERA, 4.61 FIP and 1.48 WHIP, while the Rays counter with LHP Matt Moore, who holds marks of 5-7, 4.33 ERA, 4.59 FIP and 1.30 WHIP.

Interestingly, A's SS Marcus Semien draws his first leadoff assignment of the season in the match up. The full lineups are below:

Today's Lineups

Logan Forsythe - 2B Marcus Semien - SS
Brad Miller - SS Jed Lowrie - 2B
Evan Longoria - 3B Josh Reddick - RF
Corey Dickerson - DH Danny Valencia - 1B
Steven Souza - RF Khris Davis - LF
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Billy Butler - DH
Brandon Guyer - LF Stephen Vogt - C
Tim Beckham - 1B Jake Smolinski - CF
Luke Maile - C Ryon Healy - 3B
Matt Moore - LHP Sonny Gray - RHP

See you all in the comments section and Go A's!