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Game #30: A’s at Seattle

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Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers
Tonight Features the Return of Brett Anderson
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

There is an epic story in the Bible about the return home of a wayward son and the unconditional love of his father who runs to greet him when he sees the son returning.
A’s Nation, we are the father and Brett Anderson is the prodigal and tonight we are reunited!
Okay, maybe that is a terrible analogy (and perhaps even blasphemous), but hopefully, you are as excited as I am to welcome back to the A’s family, Mr. Brett Anderson, the Oklahoma native with the best twitter account this side of Sean Doolittle/Brandon McCarthy! Anderson made his Major League debut pitching for the A’s against none other than the Seattle Mariners on April 10, 2009. Anderson went on to pitch for the A’s in parts of the next 5 seasons. I say “parts” because Anderson spent a good chunk of his first go around with the A’s on the Disabled List (Tommy John Surgery, 2011, Oblique Strain, 2012, Stress Foot Fracture, 2013). Yet who can forget, Anderson, winning 11 games as a 21-year-old rookie or how he came back at the end of the 2012 season to pitch like a warrior in game 3 of the ALCS against the Tigers or how he started on opening day in 2013 against the M’s before a packed house of 40,000+.

The A’s signed Anderson as insurance on March 20th, 2018 and here in game #30 of the young season, they cash in on this insurance by calling him up to start game 2 of the 3 game road series against the Mariners. Anderson replaces this year’s opening day starter, Kendall Graveman in the starting rotation (by the way, Graveman gave up 6 runs on 11 hits in 5 13 innings last night for Triple AAA Nashville). Anderson was 1-1 in 4 appearances, with a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings of work in Nashville to get warmed up for tonight’s 2018 debut.
He features a fastball, sinker, and an above average slider and is known as a groundball pitcher (58.2% groundball rate since 2009).

Anderson will be opposed by another lefty, James Paxton. The Canadian native (nickname: “Big Maple”) possess one of the best lefty fastballs in the majors (95 mph+). To go along with his fastball, Paxton throws a cutter and a knuckle curve. It appears this season that Paxton has fallen in love with his cutter and he is throwing this pitch more than his four-seam 95 mph+ fastball. The results have been mixed so far for Paxton in 2018 (1-1, 5.12 ERA in 6 starts), but he does have a whopping 44 strikeouts in 31 23 innings.

Here are 3 Keys for Brett Anderson and the A’s in Tonight’s Game:
#1 - Captain Obvious: Keep Dee Gordon off the bases
Gordon is 9 for his last 10, including 5 for 5 with 2 steals against the A’s last night. He is the catalyst for the Mariners offense so far in 2018 and keeping him off the bases is priority #1 for Anderson and the A’s

#2 - Ever Heard of an Intentional Walk? Under no circumstances should you pitch to Seattle Outfielder, Nelson Cruz
Seattle Mariners right fielder, Mitch Haniger, is tied for second in the Majors in homers with 10, but A’s fans are painfully aware and more fearful of how Nelson Cruz absolutely owns A’s pitching. Cruz bashed another homer against the A’s last night to break open a tight ballgame. Why does Cruz absolutely mash A’s pitching? I believe he is still angry that the A’s traded him to the Brewers in 2004 for Keith Ginter. Wouldn’t you be angry if you were traded for Keith Ginter?

#3 - Ballgame Over: Keep the game close, so the Mariners can’t bring in that Diaz guy: Edwin Diaz, the Mariners closer is good. I mean really good. In 2018, Diaz has allowed 2 hits in 46 at-bats with 27 strikeouts. He is practically unhittable.

If the A’s can keep Dee Gord off the basepaths, pitch around Nelson Cruz and keep Mr. Diaz sitting comfortably in the bullpen then you have to feel good about the A’s chances in the season debut and return of Brett Anderson.

Here are tonight’s lineups: (7:10 pm, 64 at game time)

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S SEATTLE MARINERS
Marcus Semien - SS Dee Gordon - CF
Chad Pinder - LF Jean Segura - SS
Jed Lowrie - 2B Robinson Cano - 2B
Khris Davis - DH Nelson Cruz - DH
Matt Chapman - 3B Mitch Haniger - RF
Mark Canha - 1B Kyle Seager - 3B
Stephen Piscotty - RF Mike Zunino - C
Jonathan Lucroy - C Ryon Healy - 1B
Jake Smolinski - CF Ichiro Suzuki - LF
Brett Anderson - LHP James Paxton - LHP


One Final Note.
This is the final year of Safeco Insurance’s contract to have exclusive naming rights to the beautiful downtown SoDo (South of Kingdome) neighborhood ballpark. Next season the team is looking for a new sponsor to attach to the ballpark.

What name would you prefer?

Poll

What should the name of the Seattle Stadium be next year?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Starbucks Stadium
    (23 votes)
  • 17%
    Frasier Field
    (12 votes)
  • 8%
    Amazon Alley
    (6 votes)
  • 39%
    Pearl Jam Park
    (27 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now