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Game #56: Rays at A’s

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics
The A’s offense have lost their bats on this homestand and are hoping to find them tonight against Rays starter, Nathan Eovaldi, making his 2018 debut
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s enter game 9 of this 10 game homestand looking to awaken a dormant offense that has scored just 13 runs in the last 8 games and is hitting just .216 (199-920) in May, good for the second-lowest team batting average in the Majors.

On the hill for the A’s tonight is Sean “No Hitter” Manaea, looking to improve on his last start, where he was roughed up for 6 runs on 8 hits in only 3 23 innings. Manaea’s month of May has been pretty bumpy overall, he has allowed, 4 or more runs in his past 5 starts. Manaea’s velocity has remained the same throughout this tough patch, but one thing that has changed is the effectiveness (and use) of his slider. Manaea and the A’s haven't talked about why he has moved away from the breaking pitch so dramatically, the fear is that his elbow is feeling sore, but let’s pray it is more of a mechanical issue than a physical one and that he can iron out the problems in tonight’s start.
On a side note, Billy Butler’s career in Oakland was pretty dismal, but he did send a really cool note to Manaea after he threw his “no-no.”

For the Ray’s, Nathan Eovaldi makes his first start in the big leagues since August of 2016 when he was an up and coming flamethrower (averaged 97 mph on his fastball) for the New York Yankees before being bit by the Tommy John bug for the second time in his career. Tonight he becomes only the 12th pitcher in MLB history to start a game after having two TJ surgeries. Obviously, we are hoping the A’s break out in a huge way tonight on the offense side of the ball, but there is no arguing what a feel-good story and accomplishment it is for Eovaldi to even appear in tonight’s game.

Here are tonight’s starting line-ups (first pitch is at 7:05pm, Gametime temp: 58 F, wind 17 mph):

Today's Lineups

Daniel Robertson - SS Matt Joyce - LF
C.J. Cron - 1B Matt Chapman - 3B
Matt Duffy - 3B Jed Lowrie - 2B
Wilson Ramos - DH Matt Olson - 1B
Rob Refsnyder - LF Stephen Piscotty - RF
Christian Arroyo - 2B Mark Canha - DH
Carlos Gomez - RF Dustin Fowler - CF
Johnny Field - CF Jonathan Lucroy - C
Jesus Sucre - C Chad Pinder - SS
Nathan Eovaldi - RHP Sean Manaea - LHP

The noteworthy move in tonight’s line-up is Chad Pinder at shortstop subbing for Marcus Semien, who was placed on paternity leave today in anticipation of his second son being born.

Pinder and the A’s are overdue for a breakout night, this team is a good hitting ballclub and it is just a matter of time before they right the ship (Krush Davis returns off the DL tomorrow!)

As General George S. Patton once said, “In war, the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of the offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it.”

Here is hoping to a double-digit offensive onslaught by the A’s bats tonight!
Let’s Go Oakland!!!