After a 4-1 win in the opener of a four-game interleague series against the San Francisco Giants, the Oakland Athletics will go for their fifth win in a row tonight with right-hander Jarrod Parker on the mound. 24-year-old lefty Mike Kickham will make his Major League debut for San Francisco, taking the place of the injured Ryan Vogelsong in the starting rotation.
Parker’s 2-6 record to start the season has been a cause of concern for many Athletics fans, although he has been much sharper in the month of May, lowering his ERA from 8.10 to 5.76 over his past five starts. Most recently he gave up two home runs to open the game against the Texas Rangers and then settled down to pitch six innings of shutout ball while allowing only three hits and striking out five.
Parker was 0-1 in two starts against the Giants in 2012, with a 7.88 ERA and four strikeouts. He took a 8-6 loss on May 18 in which he lasted only two innings, giving up six runs on four hits with four walks. He went six innings in the next matchup on June 22, with only one earned run on four hits, but San Francisco scored four runs off of Ryan Cook in the top of the ninth of that contest and went on to win 5-4.
While there won’t be much of a scouting report to go off of against Kickham, the A’s right-handed hitters have generally hit well against left-handed pitching, going .273/.375/.450 collectively against southpaws in 2013. Every bat in the lineup tonight hits from the right side (Coco Crisp is a switch-hitter).
Some other Athletics notes going into the second matchup of the Battle of the Bay:
- Josh Donaldson continues to impress, and he’s in the top 10 in the American League in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
- With his two-run double in the seventh inning of yesterday’s game, Yoenis Cespedes extended his hitting streak to nine games, matching the longest hitting streak of his career.
- Sean Doolittle is emerging as the A’s likeliest All-Star selection, and his recent stretch of dominance out of the bullpen is a highlight for one of the best relief corps in the Majors.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05 PST at the Oakland Coliseum. The series moves across the bay to AT&T Park Wednesday night.
Oakland Athletics (29-23)
1. C. Crisp CF
2. C. Young RF
3. Y. Cespedes LF
4. J. Donaldson 3B
5. J. Lowrie 2B
6. N. Freiman 1B
7. D. Norris C
8. L. Montz DH
9. A. Rosales SS