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Game #103 - A’s at Rangers

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers
Khris Davis and the A’s look to keep the offense on fire in sweltering Texas
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Holy Mackerel and Holy Cow!
For A’s fans, the first two games of this four game road series in Texas have been Holy Mackerel! (15 runs on 18 hits) and Holy Cow! (down 10-2 going into the 7th inning, score 11 unasnwered runs and win in extra innings 13-10).

Tonight, the hottest team in baseball (your Oakland A’s!) will try to top the mackeral’s and cow’s from the previous two nights and go for a Holy Moses Edwin to clinch the series victory. On the hill for Oakland is the aforementioned Edwin Jackson (1-2, 2.93 ERA in 5 starts), aiming for his 100 career win and second with the Green and Gold. Jackson, who was born in Germany because his Dad was stationed there as an U.S. Army cook, has been outstanding with the A’s. Jackson has pitched at least 5 23 innings in all 5 of his starts and held opponents to a .187 batting average in 30 innings of work.

A’s Offense is Really, Really, Really Good
Backing up Jackson on the mound will be an A’s offense that is as hot as the Arlington, Texas weather (98 F expected gametime temp). The A’s have scored 28 runs on 29 hits and 8 home runs over the last 48 hours. They have hit four home runs in back to back to back games dating back to Sunday’s victory over the Giants. How have the A’s become such a juggarnaut of an offense? The usual suspects apply, clutch hitting (see, Jed Lowrie), homers (see Krush Davis) and the combination of clutch & homers (see, Stephen Piscotty).

Moneyball the Sequel?
But there is a important note to observe beneath the clutch hitting and homers which deserves our recognition. This 2018 version of the Oakland A’s simply wears down starting pitchers and bullpens like no one else.

Monday Night, July 23rd vs. Texas: Texas pitching threw 189 pitches; Oakland pitching 132 pitches
Tuesday Night, July 24th vs. Texas: Texas pitching threw an incredible 248 pitches; Oakland pitching threw 172 pitches

The A’s lead the Majors in pitches seen in 2018 with 15,570 (an average of 4.01 pitches per plate appearance). In fact here are the top 5 teams in pitches seen in 2018:

  1. A’s: 15570
  2. Dodgers: 15487
  3. Rangers: 15416
  4. Red Sox: 15395
  5. Marlins: 15258

Martin Perez - The Ultimate Bull Fighter
The A’s offense is facing yet another lefty tonight in Texas’ Martin Perez (2-4, 8.05 ERA in 8 starts). The fellow countryman of Franklin Barreto (Venezuela) has had a rough go of it so far in 2018. His tough year actually began last December in 2017, when one the bulls on his ranch in Venezuela, charged Martin, causing him to fall down and break his non-throwing elbow. The injury has put him on the DL for most of this season and he has been a shell of the pitcher who has posted back to back double digit win season in 2016 and 2017.

Despite his rough season, Perez has become one of my favorite athletes in 2018 for one amazing reason. The bull that charged him and caused him to break his elbow, Perez later butchered and ate for revenge. (My sincere apologies to all vegan Athletics Nation brothers and sisters). The A’s hitters might want to think twice before charging the mound against Perez this evening, but A’s hitters won’t have to think twice about loading up against Perez. His fastball has been averaging a very hittable 92 mph. With the extreme heat and jet stream swirling aroung Globe Life Park, the ball should flying out tonight against the Rangers left-hander.

Tonight’s line-ups from Texas (5:05pm pst)

Today's Lineups

ATHLETICS RANGERS
Marcus Semien - SS Shin-Soo Choo - DH
Chad Pinder - LF Rougned Odor - 2B
Jed Lowrie - 2B Elvis Andrus - SS
Khris Davis - DH Adrian Beltre - 3B
Matt Olson - 1B Jurickson Profar - 1B
Stephen Piscotty - RF Joey Gallo - RF
Matt Chapman - 3B Robinson Chirinos - C
Mark Canha - CF Willie Calhoun - LF
Josh Phegley - C Carlos Tocci - CF

Random thoughts to discuss with your friends as you follow tonight’s game:

  1. Rangers OF, Shin-Soo Choo, would be an excellent addition to the A’s, batting lead-off and playing left-field and it wouldn’t take a lot to pry him from Texas and the 3 yrs/$62 million still left on his contract.
  2. The Oakland Raiders scored less in five of their ten losses last season (2017) than the A’s have scored in each of the last two ball games in Texas.
  3. Speaking of the Raiders, it was really sad to see them let go of radio legend and former A’s announcer, Greg Papa.
  4. Is Tigers right-handed pitcher Mike Fiers really better than any of the A’s current starters?
  5. Maybe it is just the great @nbcsathletics coverage of zeroing in on A’s fans in opposing stadiums, but it seems like the team has been receiving really good fan support on the road this season. Which leads me to a theory, my brother Nathan and I have been talking about for years. On any given day, in any given city, you are almost guaranteed to spot someone wearing an Oakland A’s hat. I have found this to be true at Disneyland, in New York, traveling thru Germany and even in downtown Jerusalem, Israel.
    Have you also found this to be true too?

Anyways, enjoy tonight’s ballgame, let’s get 1,000 comments on the GameThread!