After yesterday's thrilling, incredible, beautiful, [insert adjective here] walkoff victory, the A's will have a chance to take the series this afternoon. These A's are still incapable of sweeping, so I guess we'll have to settle for 3 out of 4. Ho-hum.
Jesse Hahn (2-4, 6.49) will be making his return to the MLB today, and will hopefully pitch well enough to remain a decent option in the back of the rotation. The A's will need another starter, assuming Rich Hill is traded, and Hahn would probably be the ideal choice to take that role. Unfortunately, he hasn't been great in AAA either, so I guess we'll have to see. What a nightmare season for Hahn. One thing that might make a difference: Bruce Maxwell has an excellent defensive reputation, and might be able to nurse Jesse through a start effectively. At the very least, he should be getting a few more strike calls.
Blake Snell (2-4, 3.11) is basically the Rays' Sean Manaea – a hyped-up strikeout lefty with a massive fastball in the middle of his rookie season. Last year's Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, top 15 prospect, etcetera, etcetera. So far, he's lived up to the hype with a sterling ERA backed up by the peripherals. His best secondary pitch is his changeup, so keep an eye out for that.
On paper, this looks like a bad matchup for the A's. But, hey, we've got Jake Smolinski. No lefty is too good when you've got a guy who hits .375/434/.750 against lefties. Seriously, what a great player.
Here are the lineups, featuring Bruce Maxwell making his first MLB start.
|TAMPA BAY RAYS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Logan Forsythe - 2B||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Brad Miller - SS||Jake Smolinski - CF|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Danny Valencia - RF|
|Corey Dickerson - LF||Khris Davis - LF|
|Steve Pearce - 1B||Billy Butler - DH|
|Oswaldo Arcia - DH||Ryon Healy - 3B|
|Steven Souza - RF||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Kevin Kiermaier - CF||Yonder Alonso - 1B|
|Luke Maile - C||Bruce Maxwell - C|
|Blake Snell - LHP||Jesse Hahn - RHP|