Well, this is game #43 and it has to be good luck right? It’s the Fireman’s number, and the A’s have been doing everything the Bull Durham coach instructs: You see the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. And, of course, we have the Fier-baller on the hill, coming off his no-no (300th in MLB history and second of his career) and he has something to prove. Roughed up by the M’s on opening day in Japan, he’ll be seeking a much different outcome this time around.
Meanwhile, he’ll be opposed by left-handed rookie pitcher Yusei Kikuchi who is currently 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA. But “rookie” should be in quotations since he played professionally in Japan after considering going straight into MLB back in 2009. While Kikuchi faced the A’s in his major league debut in Japan, he left with a no-decision. A fastball clocked at 96mph when just a sophomore in high school, Kikuchi is a force to be reckoned with and has the experience to challenge the Athletic bats, especially with his slider.
Kikuchi zone charts demonstrate his mix of locations and a slider that tends to whiff:
As for the Athletics, Olson had his first homerun of the season and is looking like savior at first. If you haven’t already heard, Kendrys Morales was designated for assignment and Mark Canha has been activated and is slated to start in left tonight. Semien has cooled off a bit and no longer leads in average (.278) falling below Chapman (.280). Khris Davis, out for a couple of games with a hip contusion is slated to DH tonight. Here are batting leaders for both sides:
Here is today’s lineup: