The Oakland Athletics have never hosted the Chicago Cubs in O.Co Coliseum, and they’ll face off against left-hander Chris Rusin Tuesday night in the first of a three-game series after Chicago’s projected starter, Scott Feldman, was traded to the Orioles earlier in the day.
A.J. Griffin will be on the mound for the A’s, coming off his first career complete game, a shutout over the Reds last Wednesday in which he allowed only two hits with seven strikeouts.
Rusin will be making his first Major League appearance of the 2013 season after 14 starts with Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate in Iowa. He’s done well enough in Pacific Coast League play to earn an All-Star appearance, and with five outings with the Cubs in late 2012 on the books, the A’s should have enough to go off of to compile an impromptu scouting report.
Even without it, the A’s have been doing well enough as of late to be a considered the favorite. Oakland has won 16 of 19, and their record of 48-35 is good for third-best in the American League, and it’s their best start after 83 games since 1992.
Unfortunately the second-best belongs to the division-rival Texas Rangers (48-34), but the A’s are certainly in a good position to repeat their run to the playoffs from 2012.
Oakland is 9-3 in Interleague play, and the A’s bats have absorbed some of the summer heat that’s afflicting the western United States right now as they’ve gone .444 with runners in scoring position during the latest homestand.
Coco Crisp will hit in the lead off spot as the designated hitter after leaving Sunday’s game against the Cardinals with back spasms, and Nate Freiman will get his first start at first base since June 14 against Seattle as Bob Melvin likely wanted another right-handed bat in the lineup.
Game time is set for 7:05 PST, and for those headed to the game, be aware that BART is not running as workers are in the second day of a strike. So get to the parking lot early and break out the barbecues, because summer baseball is in full effect.
1. C. Crisp DH
2. J. Lowrie 2B
3. Y. Cespedes LF
4. J. Donaldson 3B
5. N. Freiman 1B
6. C. Young CF
7. J. Reddick RF
8. D. Norris C
9. A. Rosales SS