Spring Training Game #25: A's vs Brewers

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

MESA, Ariz. - Victors in their previous two outings, the 13-10 Oakland Athletics will play host to the 14-11 Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon at HoHoKam Park.

The A's will send 24-year old Raúl Alcántara to the mound. He has pitched to an 0-1 record with a 4.91 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 14.2 innings this Spring; it was in his most recent start vs. Arizona that Alcántara received his only loss, surrendering 2 earned runs in 3.1 innings.

Alcántara has been in Oakland's system since 2011 when he was acquired alongside Josh Reddick in the trade that sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to Boston.

His scouting report with the A’s has been one of extreme peaks and valleys; as a 21-year old in AA, Alcántara was 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA prior to being shutdown and in need to Tommy John surgery. A full season removed from TJ, Alcántara surprised A's scouts when a mid-season call-up to AAA last season saw him pitch to a 4-0 record, 1.18 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP in 8 starts. His lone major league experience, however, was a 5-start September call-up later in 2016 that saw him get tattooed by opposing hitters to the tune of a .333 average while surrendering 9 home runs in just 22.1 innings.

Alcántara, who is out of options, needs to finish strong in order to convince Bob Melvin that he deserves a spot on Opening Day - whether it be in the rotation at #5 ahead of Andrew Triggs or in the bullpen as a long-reliever.

For Triggs' part, he pitched well yesterday afternoon against the White Sox, scattering just three hits over 5 innings of work and collecting his first win of the Spring; Triggs’ case for the #5 spot is helped by the fact that in his seven starts last season, he pitched to a 2.70 ERA, striking out 23 while walking just one batter in 26.2 innings.

The Brewers counter with 32-year old Junior Guerra, who was recently named Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter against Colorado. According to Pitchf/x, Guerra features a four-seam fastball (93 mph), while mixing in a slider (85 mph), splitter (85 mph), and sinker (93 mph). He is coming off a rookie season in which he won 6 of his first 8 decisions but it was July through September that he impressed most; Guerra didn’t allow an earned run in 5 of his final 10 starts and finished the season with an ERA of 2.81, the lowest amongst all National League rookie starting pitchers (Kenta Maeda finished second at 3.48); his 2016 ERA was also the lowest for a Milwaukee starter since C.C. Sabathia (1.65) in 2008.

Both pitchers will have their work cut out for them today. Guerra will face an Oakland lineup that has produced 38 hits and 19 runs over the previous 3 contests while Alcántara will face a Brewers offense that ranks first in most offensive categories: the Brewers are the only team in Spring Training to sport a batting average over .300 (.303), rank first in OBP (.353), first in slugging (.510), walks (113), and are tied with the Yankees for most home runs (39).

Start time for today is 1:05pm PST and can be heard on 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee and on

Lineup for Milwaukee:

1. 2B Villar
2. 1B Thames
3. RF Santana
4. 3B Shaw
5. SS Perez
6. LF Gennett
7. CF Nieuwenhuis
8. C Pina
9. DH Bandy

Lineup for Oakland:

1. CF Davis
2. LF De Aza
3. SS Semien
4. DH Healy
5. 3B Plouffe
6. 1B Alonso
7. RF Parmelee
8. C Phegley
9. 2B Schrock

Misc. News

Jed Lowrie was a late scratch from the lineup, moving De Aza from 9th to 2nd in the lineup while Kendall Graveman has been named Opening Night starter for the A's; the first three in the rotation will be Graveman, Manaea, and Cotton.