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Spring Game Thread #10: A’s at Angels

Paul Blackburn with a chance to impress today

MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Guardians at Oakland Athletics Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

We’re getting ever closer to Opening Day, with only nine games left after today’s matchup against the Angels. The wins haven’t been there much this spring but that’s okay with all the positional battles going on in camp right now.

Speaking of battles, right-hander Paul Blackburn gets the nod today in his first Cactus league start and could help himself earn a roster spot with a strong outing. Even with only 1.2 innings of relief all the way back in the first game of this spring, Blackburn could still earn a rotation spot, per Matt Kawahara.

The A’s lineup is remarkably similar to yesterday’s, with the top five batters unchanged with Kevin Smith and Skye Bolt still in there at the bottom as well. If the season were to start today, the Opening Day lineup would probably look something like this, with Tony Kemp leading off multiple games this spring and Sean Murphy essentially laying claim to the #3 spot. Chad Pinder gets the nod at third base, while Billy McKinney slides to the outfield.

And at least one injured player is finally healthy enough to make it into games, with right fielder Stephen Piscotty making his Cactus League debut after a bout with a shoulder issue. You’d like to get something out of Piscotty when he’s getting paid $7.5MM, but after a run of poor seasons it’s hard to count on him. Hopefully the fact he’s healthy enough to get into the lineup shows he’s over his shoulder problem and ready for a bounce back season. The offense looks like it will need it this season.

A’s lineup (away)

  1. 2B Tony Kemp (L)
  2. DH Elvis Andrus (R)
  3. C Sean Murphy (R)
  4. 1B Seth Brown (L)
  5. 3B Chad Pinder (R)
  6. RF Stephen Piscotty (R)
  7. LF Billy McKinney (L)
  8. SS Kevin Smith (R)
  9. CF Skye Bolt (S)
  • RHP Paul Blackburn

Angels lineup (home)

  1. DH Shohei Ohtani (L)
  2. CF Mike Trout (R)
  3. 3B Anthony Rendon (L)
  4. 1B Justin Upton (R)
  5. 2B Matt Duffy (R)
  6. C Max Stassi (R)
  7. RF Taylor Ward (R)
  8. LF Jo Adell (R)
  9. SS David Fletcher (R)
  • RHP Noah Syndergaard

How to watch/listen

  • Date: Monday, March 28
  • Time: 1:05 p.m. PT
  • TV:
  • Radio: 960 AM
  • Streaming (listen): A’s Cast