Oakland A’s Preview of the series between the Oakland A’s and the Minnesota Twins

May 1, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis (2) hits a home run as Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann reaches for the pitch during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, April 29, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s, losers of six of the last seven games played, are on their way to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Twins for three games. The A’s ended the month of April with a record of 11-14. The Twins, on the other hand, went 12-11 for the month and are playing better baseball than they did last year when the finished last in the AL Central.

The A’s will face the Twins’ Ervin Santana Tuesday night. Hector Santiago will pitch Wednesday, and Kyle Gibson goes for Minnesota on Thursday. The A’s will counter with Sonny Gray, Kendall Graveman, and Jharel Cotton. Santana is off to a great start as he owns a record of 4-0 and an ERA of just 0.77. Santiago is 2-1, and his ERA is 2.43. Gibson is winless and is in jeopardy of losing his spot in the rotation. His record for 2017 is 0-3 and is ERA is a woeful 8.06.

The Twins’ offense is led by Joe Maurer, Brian Dozier, Max Kepler, and Eddie Rosario. However, Maurer and Dozier are off to slow starts. Dozier, who had over 40 homers last year, is hitting just .242 and has 2 homers and 8 RBIs so far this year. Joe Maurer, a former batting champion who is now 34-years old, appears to be in decline. The Twins are paying him 23 million dollars a year, but his production is way down. Maurer is batting just .225. He has not hit a home run yet this season, and he has knocked in just 8 runs. His OBP(on base percentage) is a meager .271. The player the A’s will have to contain is third baseman, Miguel Sano. Sano, who had a terrific season in 2015 but had the sophomore slump in 2016, is off to great start in 2017. he is hitting .316 and has seven big flys (homers) on his resume to go along with 25 ribbies. Hopefully, the A’s pitchers can handle him.

The Twins’ bullpen is headlined by closer Brandon Kintzler. Kintzler has 7 saves to his credit. Reliever Ryan Pressley was knocked around earlier in the season but is pitching better now.  There in not a lot of talent in the bullpen and that should bode well for the A’s.

The A’s announced that they have activated Sonny Gray from the DL. Gray had two sparkling stints at the minor-league level in his 2 rehab starts. Gray had a tough year last season, and all eyes will be on him as he wants to re-establish himself as the ace of the A’s staff. Gray will be pitching Tuesday night, and he will be opposed by the Twins’ Ervin Santana. Santana has been very tough for the A’s to solve over the years and Oakland will be looking to break the spell. Kendall Graveman(2-1, 2.25 ERA) will pitch Wednesday, and Hector Santiago will go for the Twins. Santiago has pitched well for Minnesota. His record is 2-1, and his ERA is 2.43.  Thursday’s game will feature Jharel Cotton (2-3, 5.0 ERA) going against Kyle Gibson (0-3, 8.06 ERA). Cotton did not fare well in his last outing against Houston. He has been up and down up to this point in the season, and the A’s may send him down to Nashville if he does not do well. Gibson is not pitching well at all. He has yet to go six innings in any of his starts this season. He also may be pitching for a spot in the rotation.

The series begins Tuesday night at Target Field in Minneapolis at 5 pm.

 

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About rxslugger

Retired pharmacist who now has a career as a sports writer and broadcaster

View all posts by rxslugger

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