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Know Your Enemy: Oakland A’s

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The A’s hitting is impressive, but will their pitching be good enough for them to contend this year?

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Dodgers
Dangerous Type: Matt Chapman is one of many who can really hit in this A’s lineup.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Angels pitcher (and, well, slugger) Shohei Ohtani flirted with a no-hitter against the Oakland A’s on April 8.

Fans know Ohtani seems like the real deal, so don’t let that performance convince you that this A’s lineup can’t hit.

The team is hitting .264 with 21 home runs in 16 games played. The A’s don’t have much speed, but make up for it with their impressive pop in the middle of the order.

Matt Chapman has been their best hitter, batting .354 with five home runs and 12 RBIs. The third baseman is only 24 years old and played in 84 games last year, so this will be his first full season.

Khris Davis hits fourth and strikes out a lot, but when he makes contact, the ball goes a long way. Davis also already has five home runs on the short season.

Matt Joyce, Matt Olson and Jed Lowrie round out the middle of the order. They are all hitting over .255, with respectable power.

Jonathan Lucroy and Stephen Piscotty (who isn’t the same player he once was with the Cardinals, but is still good) round out the batting order. That’s a solid lineup capable of producing a lot of runs.

The pitching, however, is second-to-last in the American League in ERA, at 5.05. The staff has just four quality starts. Opponents are hitting .287 off A’s pitching, so expect some high-scoring affairs in relatively temperate Oakland this week.

The A’s have a strong back-end of the bullpen if they lead late. The team traded Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals for Blake Treinen before last year’s trade deadline. Treinen has has a solid start to the season, saving two games and not giving up an earned run in his six innings pitched.

Ryan Buchter is another good arm in the bullpen, pitching 7 ⅔ innings already with a 2.35 ERA. So, the White Sox need to feast on the A’s starting pitching to avoid having to mount a comeback against Treinen and Buchter.

Overall, this team has a legitimate shot at a wild card berth this year. They’re off to a 5-10 start, but their offense is bound to bail out a rather sluggish starting rotation.

It’s been awhile since the White Sox last played, so here’s to (hopefully) three straight days of baseball!

Probables:

Monday, April 16: Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 0.69 ERA) vs. Daniel Mengden (1-2, 6.19 ERA)

Tuesday, April 17: Miguel Gonzalez (0-2, 8.68 ERA) vs. TBD

Wednesday, April 18: Carson Fulmer (0-1, 5.59 ERA) vs. Andrew Triggs (1-0, 2.87 ERA)