The A's are looking to salvage some of this series, after a close game went the Pirates' way last night in extra innings.
Francisco Liriano (4-8, 5.33) is having a bit of a nightmare season. The strikeouts are still there, but he's walking a ludicrous 5.88 batters per 9. That's insane. That's a lot. He's also giving up dingers and hits like nobody's business. It's just not pretty. He's really been one of the top-five worst pitchers in baseball with an established job, after being the model of consistent acedom the past three years.
There's nothing to say about Daniel Mengden (1-3, 2.81) at this point. He's the real deal – maybe not an ace, but certainly a legitimate MLB pitcher. I will enjoy riding this train as far as it goes.
Here are the lineups. My prediction: Danny Valencia does something good. It's tough to go from the GOAT to the goat over the course of one game, like he did last night, but he's enough of a competitor to come back from that.
|PITTSBURGH PIRATES||OAKLAND A'S|
|John Jaso - 1B||Coco Crisp - CF|
|Gregory Polanco - DH||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Jung Ho Kang - 3B||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Starling Marte - CF||Danny Valencia - 3B|
|Matt Joyce - RF||Khris Davis - DH|
|Josh Harrison - 2B||Billy Butler - 1B|
|Adam Frazier - LF||Jake Smolinski - LF|
|Jordy Mercer - SS||Matt McBride - C|
|Erik Kratz - C||Tyler Ladendorf - 2B|
|Francisco Liriano - LHP||Daniel Mengden - RHP|
Also: that Butler/Smolinski/McBride/Ladendorf back of the lineup. Yikes.