The A’s meet the NL East cellar dwellers, the Miami Marlins to start inter-league play Tuesday night at the Coliseum

May 22, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

AP File Photo: LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 19: Miami Marlins Second base Dee Gordon (9) whose been struggling at the plate faces the Oakland A’s this Tuesday takes a dives back into first base to avoid the tag from Los Angeles Dodgers Outfield Cody Bellinger (35) during the game between the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 19, 2017, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

by Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND–The Oakland A’s buoyed be winning three out four from the Boston Red Sox and improving their record to 20-24, welcome the Miami Marlins to the Coliseum Tuesday night.

The A’s have had some bright spots so far this season. The team leads the American League with 64 home runs but have knocked in just 168runs. First baseman Yonder Alonso is hitting much better than last year and has hit twelve homers. Khris Davis is fourth in the Majors with 13 dingers. Other players that are hitting the ball out of the park are Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder, Mark Canha, and Jed Lowrie. However, the team batting average of .237 is ranked 25th out of 30.

The A’s also have some negatives. The A’s are ranked 21st in pitching as the team ERA is 4.40. Andrew Triggs has been the most reliable starter but was the losing pitcher on Sunday. Sonny Gray seem to be returning to form. Kendall Graveman has been consistent, but Sean Manaea and Jesse Hahn have not. The pitchers need to go deeper into the games and take the stress of the bullpen. The A’s now have Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle, and John Axford on the DL. Dull is dealing with a knee issue, and there is no time set for his return. Doolittle and Axford have shoulder problems. Axford is due back soon, but Doolittle’s return is uncertain. A’s manager Bob Melvin has to be very judicious in making sure that he doesn’t wear out his relievers but that task is so difficult when the starters don’t go deep into the games.

The A’s will have a chance to creep closer to the .500 mark as the face the Miami Marlins for two games starting Tuesday night. The Marlins are 15-28 so far and appear to be on their way to their eighth consecutive losing season. They just finished a 1-8 homestand and have lost 19 of their last 23 games. The Marlins lost their best pitcher Jose Fernandez last year in a horrible boating accident. The loss of Fernandez still seems to hang over the team. The team, managed by Don Mattingly, has the highest payroll in franchise history but is only one game better than the 1998 team that lost 108 games at this point in the season.

The Marlins do have some pretty good players. Their outfield of Marcel Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, and Christian Yelich is nothing to sneeze at. Ozuna is hitting .311 with 11 homers and 30 RBIs. Superstar Stanton also has 11 homers and 30 RBIs to go along with a batting average of .261. Center-fielder Christian Yelich has 6 homers, 21 RBIs and owns a batting average of .258.

Marlins’ second baseman Dee Gordon is not having a good season. Gordon was suspended last year for 80 games for PED use. He has not regained his form and is mentioned as possible trade bait. Gordon’s average is about .260. Fist Baseman Justin Bour is another power hitter, and he also has hit 11 homers and knocked in 28. Derek Dietrich is playing third as Martin Prado is on the DL. J T Riddle is at short as Adelny Hechevarria is also on the DL. J.T. Realmuto is handling the catching chores, and he comes in with a .301 average, and he has some power with 3 dingers and 17 RBIs.

The Marlins starting rotation does not appear to scare anyone. The starters are Edinson Volquez, former Athletic Dan Straily, Jose Urena, lefty Justin Nicolino, and Vance Worley. Hardly any of them are household names although Volquez won a ring with the Kansas City Royals. The only familiar name on the list of relievers is Brad Ziegler who broke into baseball with the A’s. A.J. Ramos is the closer and has 4 saves to his credit this year.

The pitching matchups for the series will be Jesse Hahn going against Miami’s Jose Urena Tuesday night and Sonny Gray versus Edinson Volquez Wednesday afternoon. Volquez has yet to win a game for the Marlins this year.

Following the short two-game series with the Marlins, the A’s are off to New York for the three against the AL East leaders. After that series, the A’ travel to Cleveland to meet the 2016 AL Champions, the Indians for four games. The A’s, who have not played well on the road, will have their work cut out for them.

 

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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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