As the Oakland A’s embark on their final road trip of the season, they’re looking to end on a positive note and get their September record back to .500. After starting 7-5 in the first two weeks of the month, they’ve stumbled to a horrid 2-8 since then. That puts them at 9-13 for September, meaning they’ll have to go 5-1 in the last six games to get back to an even 14-14 record.
That work begins tonight as the A’s start a three-game series against the recently minted AL Central Champions, the Minnesota Twins. For game 1, A’s rotation leader Paul Blackburn will be facing off against the Twins’ third-year starter Bailey Ober, who’s pitched effectively to a 3.66 ERA/4.18 FIP. Since there are six games left in the season, this could either be Blackburn’s last or second-last start of the season. With the A’s acquiring a lot of young starting options the past couple of years and 5+ pitchers competing for rotation spots next season, this could be his last start in an A’s uniform if he’s traded in the offseason.
To help him and the team get a win, the A’s will be rolling out the following nine:
A’s lineup at Minnesota: Noda 1B, Gelof 2B, Rooker DH, Brown RF, Langeliers C, Diaz 3B, Butler CF, Allen SS, Ruiz LF; Blackburn P pic.twitter.com/1qIPYIEEnc— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) September 26, 2023
Meanwhile, the Twins are still dealing with injuries to multiple stars — Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Royce Lewis, etc. — so they’ll have this lineup on the field tonight:
Your #MNTwins lineup for the first game of the series against the Athletics— Twins Talk (@LetsTalk_Twins) September 26, 2023
1. Edouard Julien DH
2. Jorge Polanco 2B
3. Donovan Solano 3B
4. Max Kepler RF
5. Alex Kirilloff 1B
6. Kyle Farmer SS
7. Matt Wallner LF
8. Christian Vázquez C
9. Michael A. Taylor CF
Bailey Ober P