Coming out of the All-Star break, the Twins have lost two games to the surprisingly competitive Oakland Athletics. On Friday night they somehow lost a game in which starting pitcher Francisco Liriano struck out 15 batters. Last night they lost a game in which the historically offensively challenged Athletics made Target Field look small, mashing extra base hits and home runs on their way to a 9-3 victory. Despite individual dominance on the parts of Liriano and outfielder Josh Willingham, the Twins did not get enough from the rest of the team and find themselves facing a potential sweep today.
The task of winning today is made more difficult by the fact that Jarrod Parker is the starting pitcher for Oakland. In many ways Parker is a perfect illustration of the kinds of players that fill the A’s roster when they are successful. Before your team faces him, you think, “I’ve never even heard of him. Maybe we have a chance!” Then it turns out that he is good, and you just have not heard of him because ESPN often forgets that baseball is played outside of New York and Boston.
Parker is young and he is good. At age 23, he currently holds a misleading 5-4 record and a tiny 2.86 ERA. Here is the lineup manager Ron Gardenhire sends to face Parker in today’s 1:10 P.M. game:
Opposite the Twins, the A’s find themselves with a number of hot hands offensively. First baseman Chris Carter will look to continue his power surge. Rightfielder Seth Smith earns himself a rare start against a left handed starting pitcher, but has been moved down in the lineup accordingly. Here is manager Bob Melvin’s batting order:
Coco Crisp remains out of the Oakland lineup with a tweaked shoulder. If you were like me and you were excited to see Yoenis Cespedes’s ridiculously flashy and awesome glove this weekend, you are left disappointed once again. If we have to see him strut around Target Field, we should at least get to admire some good looking leather.