After scoring an Opening Day win over Shohei Ohtani, the Oakland Athletics will continue their series against the Los Angeles Angels Saturday. Shintaro Fujinami is scheduled to make his debut for the Athletics while the Angels will go with left-hander Patrick Sandoval.
Fujinami signed a one-year deal with Oakland during the offseason and will be given the opportunity to lock down a spot in the rotation to start the season. There is no questioning his stuff, but he has battled command issues at times throughout the spring. Fujinami held the Brewers hitless over six innings in his final Cactus League start, but allowed two runs due to four walks and two wild pitches in the fourth inning. He averaged about a strikeout per inning over his five spring starts and only allowed six hits total, but issued 14 walks. That is something that he is going to need to clean up to be successful during the regular season.
Oakland’s bullpen did the job in the opener holding the Angels to just one hit and two walks over the final four innings. The A’s will have multi-inning options Adrian Martinez and Adam Oller in the pen Saturday should Fujinami struggle early or run up a high pitch count.
Left-hander Patrick Sandoval will get the start for the Angels and will be looking to build off of a solid 2022 campaign where he posted a 2.91 ERA and a 3.09 FIP in 148 2/3 innings. Sandoval has been tough on the A’s in his career posting a 1.84 ERA in eight career starts. He has been even better at the Coliseum where he has allowed just two runs in 20 2/3 innings.
It will be interesting to see what Mark Kotsay elects to do with the lineup with a lefty on the mound. Connor Capel started at DH in the opener, but later gave way to Brent Rooker. Seth Brown had two hits in Thursday’s win, but has just a 52 wRC+ against left-handers in his career.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, April 1, 4:07 p.m. ET
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
Radio: A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM / 103.7 HD2