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Game Thread #15: A’s at Seattle

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Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Wow, the last time I did a game thread computers hadn’t even been invented yet. I remember I had to write everything out on parchment paper and run around to every A’s fan’s house with a copy. It was exhausting, and I’m pretty sure Jamie Moyer was the winning pitcher.

Other than not yet winning a series, blowing winnable games, and frustrating their fans into binge drinking, the season is off to a super-terrific start. At 5-9, the A’s are but a 4-game winning streak from .500 and a totally-doable-based-on-history 20 game winning streak away from being in first place.

And since baseball fandom is where hope meets delusion, let’s hope that today is the day the A’s get up off the deck and turn things around. They will try to do it behind a representation of their April disappointment, Kendall Graveman.

Oakland’s Opening Day starter is still in search of his first win, first good performance, first time pitching beyond the 5th inning. Graveman is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA, and is coming off a “long bullpen session” designed to tire his arm into throwing better sinkers.

Something to watch: In his very best big league stretch, Graveman pounded sinker after sinker “Bartolo Colon style,” throwing 80%-90% fastballs and mixing in just the occasional cutter. In his poor outings this month Graveman has been featuring a fair number of cutters (12.8%), changeups (6.8%), and breaking balls (18.7%). Let’s see if he leans more heavily on that heavy sinker to try to get back on track.

Graveman is opposed tonight by lefty Marco Gonzales, who is 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA. In 8.2 IP so far this season, Gonzales has walked only one but he has been knocked around for 14 hits, 2 of which have left the yard. For his career, Gonzales has allowed HRs at a “Chris Hatcherian” rate of 1.57 HR/9 IP. He has also allowed 112 total hits in 86 career IP.

Tonight’s starting lineups are brought to you by my keyboard. My keyboard: “qwertyuiop across the top”. (It rhymes, ergo it’s a terrific slogan.)

Note that even against a LHP, Jake Smolinski is not in tonight’s starting lineup. That’s right: Smolinski just plays against the RHPs he can’t hit!

1. Marcus Semien (R) SS
2. Mark Canha (R) LF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. God Among Men (R) 3B
6. Matt Olson (L) 1B
7. Jonathan Lucroy (R) C
8. Stephen Piscotty (R) RF
9. Trayce Thompson (R) CF

1. Dee Gordon (L) CF
2. Jean Segura (R) SS
3. Robinson Cano (L) 2B
4. Nelson Cruz (R) DH
5. Kyle Seager (L) 3B
6. Mitch Haniger (R) RF
7. Daniel Vogelbach (L) 1B
8. Ichiro Suzuki (L) LF
9. David Freitas (R) C