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Know Your Enemy: Oakland A’s

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Heading to the sunny West Coast

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Moneyball, the Coliseum, and an elephant, are all things that make you think of Oakland, right? Also those weird white cleats they wear.

Last time

The four-game series in Chicago was eventful, to say the least.

Liam Hendriks notched a win on the first night, capping an impressive showing by the bullpen. Eloy Jiménez was back with a vengeance, with a tie-breaking RBI while Seby Zavala drove in two and Luis Robert hit a homer to the moon. Dallas Keuchel went five innings and got his first win since July 9.

The next night was the incident of Chris Bassitt’s line drive to the face, for which he is thankfully on the mend, and the game was a secondary concern for obvious reasons. Bassitt underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago to repair the bones in his face, and has been progressing well according to the A’s. The White Sox took three in a row by also defeating the A’s the next night in a much closer game, with Robert playing the hero with three hits and two RBIs.

The A’s took the final game of the series in another close match. Matt Olson hit a two-run home run and Matt Chapman had a solo shot to help Oakland avoid the sweep. The A’s pitching was on point, with Cole Irvin allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings, Yusmeiro Petit and Andrew Chafin both pitching scoreless innings, and Lou Trivino closing things with his 20th save in 22 opportunities.

How it’s going

The White Sox are 2-2 in September so far, after finishing out August 16-12. They haven’t been able to recreate the magic of May (when the team went 19-10) but not for lack of trying. In the second half of the season, the White Sox are 25-23.

José Abreu was named the AL Player of the Month for August, nice recognition of he work he does for the team. He’s currently leading the White Sox in home runs (28) and RBIs (103) while Tim Anderson is leads in batting average (.302) and hits (140). Yoán Moncada has the OBP title, at .371. Dylan Cease is dominating in wins (11) and strikeouts (197), while Lucas Giolito is the ERA king of the pitching staff (3.69).

The White Sox had a tough series against the Royals (?!?), dropping two of three in Kansas City.

Meanwhile the A’s are in a bit of a skid in September, going 1-4 so far after posting a 14-12 record in August. June was their power month, going 17-9, while July was decidedly their worst (11-13). They’re 22-23 in the second half of the season.

Matt Olson is leading the A’s across the board in all their offensive stats: average (.274), home runs (32), RBIs (89), OBP (.373), and hits (130). Chris Bassitt was their ace prior to his injury, leading in wins (12) and ERA (3.22). Frankie Montas has been tough as well, with 174 strikeouts this season. In their Sunday matchup against the Blue Jays, Oakland got two hits all game, striking out 15 times, and falling, 8-0. They’re currently 3 12 games back of the wild-card.

Pitching matchups

Today is Jimmy Lambert vs. James Kaprielian. Kaprielian is 7-4 this season over 97 23 innings, with a 3.87 ERA. He’s never faced the White Sox as a starter, and is 3-1 in his last seven starts with a 5.55 ERA. Kaprielian has five pitches in his arsenal: a 4-seam fastball, a slider, a changeup, a sinker, and a curveball. He’s fared better against righties than lefties, posting a 2.77 ERA vs. 5.12, and at home he’s been much more successful, holding a 5-2 record and a 2.44 ERA.

Lambert has had three major league appearances, allowing eight runs in eight innings. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA in Triple-A this season. Matt Foster was optioned to Charlotte to make room for Lambert’s appearance tonigth. In 2021 Lambert has thrown 176 pitches and posted a 0-1 record with a 7.36 ERA. Hopefully things go a little better for him today.

Wednesday is Dallas Keuchel vs. Montas. I don’t think we need to rehash how terrible Keuchel has been this season, do we? At least he’s acknowledged it. He’s 2-2 in his last five against Oakland, most recently taking the win on August 16.

Montas is 11-9 this season over 156 23 innings with a 3.68 ERA. His only career start against the White Sox was August 16, a loss, giving eight hits while walking three and striking out six for a 5.40 ERA; all-in-all, a respectable outing. In his last seven starts he’s 3-1 over 44 23 innings wit ha 2.01 ERA. Montas relies heavily on four pitches: a sinker, a 4-seam fastball, a split finger, and a slider.

Thursday for the close will be Reynaldo López vs. Sean Manaea. López has had some decent starts this season, going 3-1 over 39 innings with a 2.08 ERA. In his last five starts against Oakland, he’s 2-1 with a 0.77 ERA. Manaea is 8-9 this season with a 3.91 ERA over 149 23 innings. He’s 1-0 against the White Sox, his last win against them coming in 2018. In his last seven starts, Manea is 1-3 over 33 innings with a 6.55 ERA.

Why we hate them