To say it hasn't been pretty of later is an understatement. Swept by the Angels in Anaheim. Swept by the Mariners in Seattle. The bottom line is that the Athletics are due a win. And today may just be that day.
If the bats remain hot and healthy the way they have been, there is not problem with pitchers getting offensive support. In the final series game against the Angels last week, the Oakland Athletics collectively scored 8 runs on 11 hits. Extra base hits were plentiful: Doubles by Joyce and Maxwell; home runs by Olson and Maxwell. RBI's were spread out: Joyce, Healy, Maxwell, Olson, Lowry.
Similarly, in the Mariners series, the Athletics scored 10 runs in the series for a collective 19 hits, the biggest hit-fest being game 2 where, had it not been for the pitching, the A's would have won. But we know that to be a repeat performance this year that has been difficult to swallow. Ahead by four runs and worried that the pitching will give it all away.
Well, on the mound today is Chris Smith—not the pitcher to breed the most confidence. His greatest struggle has been to pitch deep into the game. In his last outing agains the Angels, he only went 3 and 2⁄3 innings with seven runs, 6 of them earned. In the five hits he gave up, two of them were home runs. Needless to say, Chris Smith is still seeking his first win of the year.
Boog Powell will be in center today after sitting out a bit, seeing only one 1⁄2 inning in the outfield on Saturday. He had been 1-18 and the thought was that Melvin was letting him sit and regroup. No real surprises in the rest of the lineup. Fans will get their first look at Brandon Phillips in an Angels uniform as he leads off.
|LOS ANGELES ANGELS||OAKLAND A'S|
|Brandon Phillips - 2B||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Mike Trout - CF||Matt Joyce - RF|
|Justin Upton - LF||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Albert Pujols - DH||Khris Davis - LF|
|Kole Calhoun - RF||Matt Olson - 1B|
|Andrelton Simmons - SS||Ryon Healy - DH|
|Luis Valbuena - 3B||Bruce Maxwell - C|
|C.J. Cron - 1B||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Martin Maldonado - C||Boog Powell - CF|
|Parker Bridwell - RHP||Chris Smith - RHP|