After an all-star break that has felt like an entire offseason, baseball is back underway and everyone is ready for the second half of the season. The Oakland Athletics are currently 43-43 and will be starting a three game series tonight against the Minnesota Twins (36-49) at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. The A’s will have to turn things around against the Minnesota Twins and forget about what happened the last time they came to Minneapolis. This season against the Twins the A’s are 0-3 and have been outscored 12-6. But the A’s have the right person on the mound to change-up and alter the results in their favor during the three game series.
On the hill for the Athletics is rookie right hander A.J. Griffin. Griffin has been nothing but spectacular for the A’s in his first three career starts, and he will have to continue his magical work in order to push Oakland passed the .500 mark. The youngster has thrown 18 innings in those three starts and has only given up a total of 4 earned runs which gives him an extremely low earned run average of 2.00. A.J. Griffin gave up two earned runs against the San Francisco Giants in his first Career start, a game which the A’s would win in the 9th inning with a walk-off home run from rookie catcher Derek Norris. In his second career start Griffin miraculously shut down the powerful offense of the Texas Rangers, only allowing 2 hits and no runs over six innings. In his third and last start of the season before the all-star break, he gave up two runs on four hits against the Boston Red Sox on 4th of July in a game that the A’s would go on to beat the Sox 3-2 and complete the series sweep. Look for A.J. Griffin to go out against Minnesota and start the A’s off on the right track to start the second half.
The opposing pitcher who will be starting for the Minnesota Twins is Francisco Liriano. Liriano, who has spent time in both the starting rotation and in the bullpen, has been on a roller coaster ride with a lot of ups and downs throughout the season. He has a 3-7 record on the season with an earned run average of 5.08. Although his numbers aren’t the best, his best start of the season this year did come against the Athletics. Liriano pitched six scoreless innings while giving up a measly three hits and striking out nine batters.
The Athletics have always been known as a second half team and for a team that is 2.5 games back from a playoff spot, they will need to get off to a good second half start. That second half start will be dictated by the performance of their offense.
- Athletics Starting Lineup Twins Starting Lineup
- 1.) Crisp-CF 1.) Span-CF
- 2.) Weeks-2B 2.) Revere-RF
- 3.) Reddick-RF 3.) Mauer-DH
- 4.) Cespedes-DH 4.) Willingham-LF
- 5.) Carter-1B 5.) Morneau-1B
- 6.) Gomes-LF 6.) Plouffe-3B
- 7.) Norris-C 7.) Dozier-SS
- 8.) Inge-3B 8.) Butera-C
- 9.) Hicks-SS 9.) Carroll-2B