The A’s come into tonight’s game in a bit of a hitting slump. They have scored an anemic 2.7 runs per game over the last 4 games, averaging a little over 6 hits per game during this stretch. Normally that would be cause for concern as they are facing one of the best left-handed pitchers in the modern era tonight in Dodgers starter, Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.55 ERA). However this is the 2018 Oakland A’s, and each time we have counted them out of an at-bat, inning, game or series, they have proved us wrong. So why should tonight be any different? Don’t be surprised to see the A’s score double digits in this mid-week inter-league contest!
Making his Oakland A’s debut tonight is righthander, Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.48 ERA). This will be Fiers 22nd start of the 2018 season and first with the A’s. The fact that his first start with the Green and Gold is against the Dodgers is pretty signifcant. It was almost three years ago that Fiers tossed a “no-no” against the annoying Pantone 294ers. Here was Slusser’s note from yesterday:
Fiers says he is starting tomorrow. You’ll recall that he once no-hit the Dodgers.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 7, 2018
Fiers was brillant that night (August 21, 2015) tossing nine innings of no hit baseball with ten strikeouts (on 134 pitches!). The current Dodgers who were in the line-up that late summer evening against Fiers included Chase Utley, Yasmi Grandal, Kike Hernadez, Justin Turner and Joc Pederson, Ironically on the mound facing Fiers for the Dodgers that night was current Athletics starter, Brett Anderson (Chris Hatcher relieved). Fiers hasn’t thrown any no-hitters this season but you could safely argue he is a better pitcher in 2018, then he was when blanked the Dodgers in 2015. Fiers has allowed 3 runs or less in 11 of this last 12 starts and in five July starts, he posted a 2-1 record with a 2.23 ERA (32.1IP/8ER) and 23 strikeouts.
Fiers last start as a Detroit Tiger ended abruptly last Wednesday (August 1st) after he was hit on the lower left shin by a comebacker in the second inning. His leg swelled up so much that the Tigers decided to remove him from the game after the second. The good news is Fiers has had 6 days off after throwing only 32 pitches that day. With his bruised shin no longer bothering him, he should be fresh and ready to pitch deep into the ballgame tonight.
If you don’t know anything about Fiers, it is important to take note that he has a great sense of humor...
And he seems beloved by his teammates
Khris Davis played with Mike Fiers at every level of Milwaukee’s system. “Great addition,” he says.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 7, 2018
Here is tonight’s line-up on 8-8-18 from Oakland (7:05pm first pitch, 64 F temp):
|Joc Pederson - LF||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Matt Chapman - 3B|
|Justin Turner - DH||Jed Lowrie - 2B|
|Yasmani Grandal - C||Khris Davis - DH|
|Brian Dozier - 2B||Mark Canha - LF|
|Cody Bellinger - CF||Matt Olson - 1B|
|Yasiel Puig - RF||Stephen Piscotty - RF|
|Max Muncy - 1B||Ramon Laureano - CF|
|Chris Taylor - SS||Jonathan Lucroy - C|
5 Important Storylines to follow in tonight’s match-up:
Jed Lowrie has been in a pretty significant slump since returning from the All-Star break (9-for-67 (.134) over his last 19 games. A’s beat reporter, Julian McWilliams retweeted last night:
However, tonight is 8-8-18 and Jed Lowrie is number 8 for the A’s. I am no numerology guy, but I predict a solid night for the Jed-i, he is overdue!
2. Kershaw is really good against the A’s (and everyone)
Clayton Kershaw has only allowed 2 earned runs in 20 2/3rds career innings against the A’s including a sparkling performance on August 18, 2015 at the Coliseum (3 days after Fiers no-hitter), where he allowed one run on five hits in 7.0 innings, striking out seven against two walks.
3. Khris Davis is really good against the Dodgers (and everyone)
Davis is 7-for-14 (.500) with a two homers and four RBI’s in three games against the Dodgers this year.
4. World Series Preview??
The A’s (33-10) have the best records in the American League since June 16th and the Dodgers have the best record in the National League since June 1st (36-21).
5. A’s Nation travel squad for A’s road games?
The Dodgers have a loyal and vocal group of fans that travel on the road with the team called “Patone 294”. Pantone 294 is the official color shade of the Dodgers primary blue look. The back story of the fan club is pretty cool, is started out as one extended family from SoCal attending a Giants game in San Fransico and has grown to thousands of members.
Perhaps we here at A’s Nation can be inspired by the Dodgers fans movement and create our own road trip traveling squad.
What would you call an A’s fan traveling squad?
This poll is closed
Pantone PMS 3308 (The A’s official green color template)
None of the above