The A’s come into tonight’s game looking for the 3 game sweep (!) to begin their run thru the state of Texas (3 vs. HOU this weekend). The only things holding them back tonight could be the weather (scattered showers predicted at game time) and Kendall Graveman’s early season struggle to give up the home run ball. Graveman (0-4, 10.07 in his first 5 starts) has been tweaking his delivery and changeup over the past week and according to Matt Joyce, who stood in at the plate for his last side session, “His bullpen was so sharp,” Joyce said. “Kendall hit every spot he was trying to hit. Sometimes this game has a way of beating you down. You have to be reminded how good you are, but he has unbelievable stuff.” (h/t Susan Slusser).
Speaking of Joyce, he earns the start today after watching the A’s face 5 straight left-handed starters in the previous 5 games. Bruce Maxwell will spell Jonathan Lucroy as well to sneak another left-handed bat into the lineup against the Rangers starter, Doug Fister (1-2, 3.95).
|OAKLAND A'S||TEXAS RANGERS|
|Matt Joyce - LF||Delino DeShields Jr. - CF|
|Marcus Semien - SS||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|Jed Lowrie - 2B||Jurickson Profar - SS|
|Khris Davis - DH||Nomar Mazara - DH|
|Matt Olson - 1B||Joey Gallo - LF|
|Matt Chapman - 3B||Isiah Kiner-Falefa - 3B|
|Mark Canha - CF||Ronald Guzman - 1B|
|Stephen Piscotty - RF||Juan Centeno - C|
|Bruce Maxwell - C||Drew Robinson - 2B|
|Kendall Graveman - RHP||Doug Fister - RHP|
5 things to keep in mind as you tune into tonight’s game:
#1 - Make sure you don’t tune out in the 9th inning
The Green and Gold lead the majors with 14 runs scored and a .324 (25-for-78) batting average in the ninth inning…(h/t Athletics Game Notes)
#2 - Homecoming of sorts for Kendall Graveman
Graveman grew up in Alexander City, Alabama, just a short 10 hour and 35 min drive from Globe Life Stadium. The only other closer stadium in the MLB is located in Atlanta. By the way, Graveman attended the same high school Terrell Owens went to).
#3 - The best thing about the Rangers this year has been their Dilly Dog Stand
The Dilly Dog ($10) is a jumbo beef hot dog stuffed into a hollowed-out dill pickle, then battered and fried. The new food item has been so popular, the team opened a second location in the ballpark after just one homestand
#4 - Jed Lowrie still has a chance of hitting in the most RBI’s in the history of April
The MLB Record for most RBI’s in April is Texas’ Juan Gonzalez with 35 in 1998, a record tied by some guy named Bonds. Lowrie is sitting at 24 RBI’s for the month with 4 April games to go. You never know!
#5 - The A’s travel down to Houston after tonight’s contest
The A’s will fly to Houston, but for any traveling fans going from Dallas to Houston, it is a 3 Hour 37-minute drive on the 1-45 HWY. As you travel be careful of the Walker, Texas Rangers speed trap! By the way, the A’s play 19 of their next 25 games on the road.
In the words of the great Walker, Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris, “‘Please let us not resolve our problems with fighting.” Let’s Go A’s, Sweep!!!!!!!!!