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Game #127: A’s vs. Rangers

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
Will today’s starting pitcher, Edwin Jackson, be the next A’s starter to take a bow after a shut down performance?
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Afternoon Contest - Exclusively on Facebook Live
Today’s first pitch from the Oakland Colisuem is at 12:35pm (64 F, cloudy with sun breaking through as the game progresses). You can catch all the audio action with Ken, Vince and Ray on 95.7 the Game, but to watch on TV, you will have to go to Facebook as the live video feed of the game is exlusively found here. We will miss Glenn’s play by play, but the Facebook Live telecast will feature play by play announcer Rich Waltz, an excellent broadcaster, formerly of the Miami Marlins, who played college baseball at Los Medanos College in the East Bay and at UC Davis. Waltz will be joined by our own Dallas Braden with color commentary, along with Gary Matthews Jr. (and Guy Haberman roaming the Coliseum).

Here are today’s line-ups:
(A’s: RHP - Edwin Jackson, 4-2, 2.58 ERA vs. Rangers: LHP - Mike Minor, 9-6, 4.61 ERA):

Today's Lineups

Shin-Soo Choo - LF Marcus Semien - SS
Rougned Odor - 2B Ramon Laureano - CF
Elvis Andrus - SS Matt Chapman - 3B
Nomar Mazara - RF Khris Davis - DH
Adrian Beltre - DH Stephen Piscotty - RF
Jurickson Profar - 3B Matt Olson - 1B
Joey Gallo - CF Chad Pinder - 2B
Robinson Chirinos - C Mark Canha - LF
Ronald Guzman - 1B Jonathan Lucroy - C

Can Edwin Jackson Continue the A’s Starting Pitching Mastery?
In a season of incredible storylines (Manaea’s no-hitter, Jed’s All-Star selection, Ramon Laureano’s missle throw), The “Back to the Future” trio of Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Edwin Jackson has been one of the best tales of 2018. Do you remember what you were doing on March 18th, 2018? Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill were unemployed and sitting at home on that date. Edwin Jackson was in Spring Training on that day, but had already been assigned to the Washington Nationals Triple AAA squad. Now, just five months later, the trio (who all played with the Cubs at one time) find themselves anchoring a staff in the thick of the pennant race. By anchoring, I mean dominating:

Dylan astutely mentioned in last night’s comments section of Frederick Henry’s excellent Game Recap, how Anderson, Cahill and Jackson combined to hold the Tigers to one unearned run in their 3 starts of that series back in the beginning of August. This was the first time this had happened in a A’s three game series in 100 years! Amazingly, the trio has the chance to even best that mark today if EJax can hold the Rangers scoreless..I am telling you, this is the team of the century, literally.

Edwin Jackson Has Been a “Cut” Above The Rest
In Edwin Jackson’s last three starts, he has given up a total of two earned runs in 18 23 innings. The A’s have won eight of Jackson’s ten starts and his 2.58 ERA is good for fifth lowest in the A.L. over that stretch. The 34 year old Jackson (he will turn 35 on September 9th) is getting it done this season by featuring a cut fastball 35% of the time, a pitch he has never really featured until this season. Ironically, Rangers pitching coach, Doug Brocail isn’t a fan of the cutter, ““It doesn’t get people off the fastball...The higher the cutter usage, the less the slider and changeup usage.” For “EJax” i.e. “Transaction Jackson”, the cutter has been a key to his 2018 success as he has been able to consistently command it (maybe he should stare down Brocail after each Rangers hitter he retires on it today).

“Krush” & “Laser” vs. Rangers Offense
Khris “Krush” Davis in the first two games of this series: 2 HR’s, 4 RBI’s, 2 runs scored
Ramon “Laser” Laureano in the first two games of this series: 2 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, 3 runs scored
Rangers Offense in the first two games of this series: 0 runs, 0 Hr’s, 5 hits

Scoreboard Watching (36 Games Left in the Regular Season)
The Astros (tied with the A’s in 1st place in the A.L. West) and Mariners (now 4.5 games out behind both teams in the wildcard and division standings) play today at 1:10pm in Seattle with Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.78 ERA) going for the Astros and Marco Gonzales (12-8, 3.91 ERA) pitching for the M’s. The Yankees (3.5 games up on the A’s and Astros for the first wildcard position) play the Miami Marlins this afternoon at 4:10 pst.

Going for the Sweep!

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

One of the keys to the A’s incredible run this season has been their ability to complete series sweeps. So far in 2018, the boys in Green and Gold have swept the White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, Padres (home and away), Blue Jays (2x), Tigers (2x) and if they win today the Rangers (2x).

One of Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of the word “sweep” is: to destroy completely : wipe out —usually used with away.

This is an appropriate term to describe the first two games of this series. Here is hoping “EJax”, “Krush”, “Laser” and the boys put the final exclamation point on this 9 game homestand in today’s final game. Let’s Go A’s!!!!