Photo credit: @NBCSAthletics
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s returned home after finishing their nine-game road trip with a dismal 1-8 record. They are off on Monday and resume play against the NL Central Cincinnati Reds. The Reds, as the A’s, are in last place in the respective divisions. The Reds are 15-20, and the A’s are 15-21.
David Bell is in his first year as manager of the Reds. He is hoping to rebuild the team and bring them back to being contenders. The Reds are celebrating their 150th anniversary as baseball’s oldest franchise. They were started in 1869. They have won nine National League pennants and five World Series. They won the World Series in 1919 when they beat the heavily favored Chicago “Black” Sox. The Reds were known as the Big Red Machine in the ’70s when they won four pennants and two World Series. That team features Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose. The A’s beat them to win the 1972 World Series. The Reds, under manager Lou Piniella, swept the A’s in the 1990 World Series. Neither the A’s nor the Reds have made it back to the World Series since then.
The Reds hosted the San Francisco Giants for four games over the weekend. The teams split the series. The schedule makers have the Reds traveling to the Bay Area on Monday, and they play the A’s for three and then play the Giants again three times this weekend.
The Pitching probables for the three-game series will see the A’s send Mike Fiers to the hill for Game One. Fiers is 2-3 with a 6.81 ERA. Fiers pitches well at the Coliseum. In his last two outings, Fiers has given up five runs in 12 innings. He will be opposed by the Reds’ Tyler Mahle. Mahle is 0-4 for the season and lost a tough one when he fell 1-0 to the Mets. Mets’ pitcher Noah “Thor” Syndergaard homered for the Mets only run. On Wednesday, lefty Brett Anderson (4-2, 3.89 ERA) will try to beat the Reds.
Anderson won the only game of the A’s on the last nine-game road trip. The Reds’ Sonny Gray will try to beat his old mates. Sonny pitched for the A’s from 2013-17. The A’ traded Sonny to the Yankees in 2017 and Sonny had a tough time pitching in New York. He did well on the road, but was terrible at home. The Yankees sent him to the Reds after the 2018 season. Sonny is being united with his pitching coach from Vanderbilt. Sonny is 25-20 lifetime at the Oakland Coliseum. Thursday’s game will feature Chris Bassitt (1-0, 2.12 ERA) going for Oakland and Tanner Roark, the former Washington National, going for Cincinnati. Bassitt went five innings in his last start against Pittsburgh. He had trouble with his command and gave up two home runs to Josh Bell. He did not get a decision as he left the game with the game tied at three.
The Reds’ key players are the former NL MVP Joey Votto, outfielders Yasiel Puig, and Jesse Winker, and rookie Nick Senzel. Senzel hit two home runs against the Giants on Monday. Reds star second baseman Scooter Gennett is on the 60-day IL. Derek Dietrich, the former Miami Marlin, will play second for the Reds. Former Red Sox and Detroit Tiger, Jose Iglesias, will be at shortstop. Eugenio Suarez will probably be at third. Curt Casali and Kyle Farmer will handle the catching.
The Reds’ pitchers that will see action in relief are lefties Zach Duke and Wandy Peralta. The righties are Raisel Iglesias, Robert Stephenson, and Jared Hughes.
The Reds have players with a lot of pop in their bats. The Oakland Coliseum is a pitcher’s park, and it will be interesting to see if the A’s pitchers can stop the offense of the Reds.
The A’s, on the other hand, will be hoping to get their offense back on track. The hitters did not do well on the road trip, and they hope that the return to Oakland will get them going. The A’s will be getting back slugging first baseman Matt Olson. Olson broke the hamate bone in his left hand and has finished his rehab. The pitching rotation should get a boost when Edwin Jackson is called up from Las Vegas.