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Game Thread #85: A's vs. White Sox

Sonny Gray has allowed 1 earned run in each of his last two starts as the A's monitor the trade talk that surrounds their starting pitcher.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Although the A's sit [just] 7 and a half games behind the second-placed American League wild card spot, they're also dead last with a 36-48 record. And while it might be fun to dream about an unpredictable comeback and a miraculous playoff birth, the A's don't have the pitching--starting or relief--conducent to a winning streak necessary to get much closer than they currently stand.

Unlike [most] other franchises, though, [most] A's fans are hip to the notion that in order to come back stronger next year and the year after that, the only logical solution is to slowly deconstruct this year's failed roster. For those who are so woke, today's matchup against the American League's penultimate but suddenly surging Chicago White Sox holds the most interest because of what it might mean to Sonny Gray's trade value as we approach the July 31st trade deadline.

Today is Gray's final start before the All Star festivities, and thus, it also has a chance to be his final start in Oakland's Green and Gold. With a strong start today, the haul the A's could command will absolutely be enhanced. Sonny's already on his best streak of the season over his two most recent starts, allowing just 1 earned run in both against these White Sox and the Atlanta Braves, striking out 11 in 15 total innings.

And despite Sonny's plus-4 ERA and below .500 record on the season, his peripherals have been exceptionally good. His K/9 (8.5) and 3:1 K:BB ratio are both the best in his career since his rookie campaign in 2013 when he pitched to a 2.67 ERA and are both better than when he was an All Star and finished 3rd in AL Cy Young voting in 2015. He's also getting the most off of his fastball (93.3) than he has in his entire career.

Today he'll face a south-side lineup that managed just 5 base-runners against him over 7 innings in a 5-3 A's victory on June 25th. It's also a team, though, that is riding an 8-2 record over their last 10 games and could be even better if not for a Franklin Barreto walk-off home run in yesterday's contest.

For the White Sox, they'll send out Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 4.13 ERA) who will be looking to bounce back from his most recent two starts, as he's allowed 8 earned runs in his last 9 2/3 innings, including all 3 runs in a 3-0 loss to the A's on June 23rd.

Today's Lineups

Adam Engel - CF Matt Joyce - RF
Melky Cabrera - LF Jed Lowrie - 2B
Jose Abreu - 1B Khris Davis - DH
Avisail Garcia - RF Yonder Alonso - 1B
Todd Frazier - 3B Bruce Maxwell - C
Matt Davidson - DH Franklin Barreto - SS
Tim Anderson - SS Matt Chapman - 3B
Kevan Smith - C Jaycob Brugman - CF
Yolmer Sanchez - 2B Rajai Davis - LF
Mike Pelfrey - RHP Sonny Gray - RHP