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Game #62: A’s at Texas

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox
Daniel Mengden hopes to continue his winning ways tonight in his homestate of Texas
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 A’s opened spring training in Arizona with several candidates vying for the staff ace role. As the team enters the 3rd month of the season, the mantle of #1 starter has fallen comfortably onto the shoulders of one Daniel Joseph Mengden. Mengden (6-4, 2.91 ERA) was the best pitcher not just for the A’s but in all of baseball last month (minus that Verlander guy), posting a 4-1 record with a 1.51 ERA (7 er in 41.2 ip) and .181 (27-for-149) opponents batting average during the month of May.

The right-handed Texas native was particularly dominant over his past 3 starts, posting scoreless starts against Toronto (7 innings, 2 hits 0 runs), Arizona (9 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs) and shutting down a hot Tampa Bay team (pitched a shutout into the 9th inning before giving up 3 meaningless runs).

Mengden has become the staff ace this year by using this repertoire:
Fourseam Fastball: 389 pitches, average velocity, 93.37 mph
Sinker/2 seam Fastball: 164 pitches, average velocity, 92.80 mph
Change-up: 140 pitches average velocity, 82.83 mph
Slider: 192 pitches, average velocity, 84.42 mph
Curve: 122 pitches average velocity, 73.21 mph

He will need all 5 pitches in his toolbag tonight against a Rangers offense which banged out 5 home runs last night against A’s pitching. Opposing Mengden will be good old Bartolo (2-3, 4.21 ERA). Colon comes into tonight’s game looking for a historic victory, as he needs one win to match Juan Marichal (243) for most in MLB history by a native of Dominican Republic.

Both starting pitchers faced the opposing offense in April back at the Coliseum with Colon pitching a gem (6 innings, 7 hits, 1 ER, Solo HR to Right Center on a 0-2 89 mph fastball by Matt Chapman) and Mengden a bit shaky ( 5 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs , 3 ER).

But A’s fans should take note that as hot as Mengden has been over the last few weeks (A’s have won 8 of his last 10 starts), Colon has been just as cold (5.29 ERA 28 ER/47.2 IP over his last 8 starts). Here are the line-ups that will oppose both starters: (94 F at Gametime)

Today's Lineups

Dustin Fowler - CF Shin-Soo Choo - DH
Marcus Semien - SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa - 3B
Jed Lowrie - 2B Nomar Mazara - RF
Khris Davis - DH Jurickson Profar - SS
Matt Olson - 1B Joey Gallo - LF
Matt Chapman - 3B Rougned Odor - 2B
Jonathan Lucroy - C Robinson Chirinos - C
Mark Canha - LF Ronald Guzman - 1B
Chad Pinder - RF Delino DeShields Jr. - CF
Daniel Mengden - RHP Bartolo Colon - RHP

A’s made several transactional moves today:
Josh Phelgley (called up AAA), Liam Hendricks (off DL) are back
Matt Joyce and Daniel Gossett both go on the 10-Day DL
Righthanded Relief Pitcher, Josh Lucas sent down to Nashville
Journeyman outfielder, Nick Martini, gets called up to the big leagues for the first time
A’s sign veteran Righthander, Edwin Jackson to a minor league contract
The A’s made another really cool move today in drafting this player:

In more depressing news, it was 9 years ago this week that the A’s official twitter feed posted this ominous text:

Sad, just plain sad.
Onto more uplifting news, the Disney film, “The Rookie” was filmed at Globe Life Stadium (aka where the Rangers play) and one of the best lines in the movie comes from the film’s hero, Jim Morris when he says,

“You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball.”

And that is what guys like Daniel Mengden, Khris Davis and Nick Martini get to proclaim as well tonight. The let’s go A’s!!!