A’s Open Series Against Pirates With Colon On The Mound: Game Preview

Jul 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (40) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning at O.Co Coliseum. Chicago Cubs defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics will play the Pittsburgh Pirates today for the 10th time in club history, and each side will send an All-Star to the mound as Bartolo Colon and Jeff Locke were each selected to represent their teams at Citi Field on July 16.

Colon has been fantastic this season for the A’s, hurling his way to an 11-3 record with a 1.10 WHIP, good for seventh-best in the American League. He also has the lowest ERA of Oakland’s starters with a mark of 2.78.

Locke has been impressive in his own right. The 25-year-old left-hander hasn’t lost since his first outing of the year, back on April 7 against the Dodgers. His team-leading ERA of 2.12 is second only to Clayton Kershaw in the National League, and opponents are hitting a paltry .206 against him. He’ll be joined at the All-Star Game by teammates Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Jason Grilli.

The A’s have never lost to the Pirates in their previous nine matchups, but this is a Pittsburgh team that has been flourishing this season. With a 53-34 record, the best in the NL, they’re tied atop the Central Division with the St. Louis Cardinals. They had won nine in a row until they lost to Philadelphia on July 2.

Oakland isn’t too shabby, either. Their 52-37 record has them leading Texas by a half game in the AL West, and only the Red Sox, who they’ll face over the weekend before the All-Star break, have a better record in the AL.

Unfortunately, Colon was selected as their lone representative at the Midsummer Classic, but the A’s hope to send closer Grant Balfour in his place as Colon is scheduled to start the Sunday before. Balfour was left off the roster despite being the only American League reliever without a blown save. He’s actually converted 40 in a row dating back to last season, which ties him with Dennis Eckersley for the franchise-record.

Many Oakland fans hoped to see third basemen Josh Donaldson on the team as well, but it was always going to be tough with guys like Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado making up the competition.

The A’s called up Grant Green yesterday to play second base, and he’ll be making his Major League debut tonight, hitting eighth. Shortstop Adam Rosales was sent down as a result to make room on the roster. Green has been hitting well with the River Cats, with a .318 batting average and 49 RBIs and 11 home runs in 81 games.

Brandon Inge will be starting at second for Pittsburgh as Neil Walker was injured Saturday against the Cubs. Inge was a clubhouse leader in Oakland in 2012 and helped guide the team to the playoffs before a dislocated shoulder ended his season in September. He hit .226 with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in his time with the Green and Gold.

Game time tonight is 4:05 PST.

 

LINEUPS

Oakland Athletics

1. C. Crisp CF

2. J. Lowrie SS

3. J. Donaldson 3B

4. Y. Cespedes LF

5. N. Freiman 1B

6. C. Young RF

7. D. Norris C

8. G. Green 2B

9. B. Colon P

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. S. Marte LF

2. J. Tabata RF

3. A. McCutchen CF

4. P. Alvarez 3B

5. R. Martin C

6. G. Jones 1B

7. B. Inge 2B

8. C. Barmes SS

9. J. Locke P

 

 

Topics: Game Preview, MLB, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates

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