Yesterday, the A’s (33-34) lost the series opener to the Rays (41-24) despite a surprisingly sharp debut MLB start from Tanner Anderson, who was called up for a spot start just yesterday. It’s been a grueling road trip with late night flights between cities and a double header against the Texas Rangers last Saturday leading right into this series against Tampa Bay, who took sole possession of the AL East lead with yesterday’s 6-2 win. When the series ends tomorrow, the A’s will have played ten games in nine consecutive days and no doubt be ready for their upcoming off day this Thursday.
The A’s look to even the series today with veteran starter Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.76 ERA) on the mound. Fiers is currently enjoying an excellent run: he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in his last eight starts, which include a no-hitter against the Reds on May 7. The Rays, largely responsible for introducing the “opener” craze that has swept baseball of late, will put Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.78 ERA) on to start the first inning, presumably for a brief appearance ahead of a “follower” from their regular rotation. The Rays are 12-6 in games featuring a Stanek overture this season. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10pm PDT. Let’s go, Oakland!