Game one recap: Eddie Rosario was the hero on Thursday, golfing a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 4-3 lead. Kyle Gibson pitched well and earned the victory on the bump. Mitch Garver and C.J Cron added much needed insurance in the eighth with solo homers. The final: 6-3 Minnesota. Series score: Minnesota 1-0.
Game two is set for tonight and we will see Jake Odorizzi face off against Chris Bassitt. Odorizzi returned from the break with 89 pitches in Cleveland. Odorizzi could not get through the sixth but allowed just one run and picked up the victory to improve to 11-4. The All-Star was yanked after allowing a grand slam in his first meeting with Oakland on July 2nd. Odorizzi was hurting with a blister on his right middle finger. He was sent to the 10-day IL after the loss.
Odorizzi is enjoying the best season of his career, sporting a 3.06 ERA and 9.4 strikeouts per nine. These numbers have actually regressed over the year. In early June, Odorizzi had a 1.92 ERA and a 10-2 record. In his last 23.2 innings (five starts), he has allowed 17 runs. Odorizzi has a 6-0 record and 2.27 ERA at home in 2019.
Oakland sends right hander Chris Bassitt to the hill. Bassitt owns a 4.42 FIP and his BABIP of .253 is the lowest of his career. In 15 starts, Bassitt is 6-4. His last appearance was against the White Sox, where he pitched six scoreless innings with six strikeouts.
Once again, Nelson Cruz has the largest history against the starter. He is 3/7 with two doubles.
The Athletics have had some success against Odorizzi. The team has five homers in 72 at-bats. Two of those belong to Khris Davis, who has struggled mightily for over a month. His .718 OPS is the lowest of his career.
This is a chance for Minnesota to strike early after finishing strong last night. It will be important to force Bassitt into tough situations and get to the relievers early. The A's bullpen pitched 1.2 innings last night and allowed three runs.
Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario should return to the lineup and I suspect Jason Castro will start behind the dish. I do not believe Jonathan Schoop to be healthy enough to return, so Arraez figures to start at second. Buxton remains out with a concussion, so Jake Cave may get the start in right field with Kepler in center.
1. Max Kepler CF
2. Jorge Polanco SS
3. Nelson Cruz DH
4. Eddie Rosario LF
5. C.J Cron 1B
6. Luis Arraez 2B
7. Miguel Sano 3B
8. Jason Castro C
9. Jake Cave RF
Prediction: Minnesota rides Odorizzi, who holds down Oakland for the second straight night. The lineup scores a few on Bassitt and does enough to win.
Final: Minnesota 3, Oakland 1