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Rays vs Athletics Series Preview: West Coast trip starts in Oakland

Tampa Bay seeks to climb above .500 on nine game road trip

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Oakland Athletics Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

After a brief home series in which the Rays lost two out of three to the Red Sox and won two out of three from the Orioles, the team heads back out to the west coast for the final time this season.

The Rays sit at 25-26. The Oakland Athletics are coming off a series victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks and have a record of 28-25.

The Matchups:

Monday 4:05 PM: Chris Archer vs Trevor Cahill
Tuesday 10:05 PM: Blake Snell vs Daniel Gossett
Wednesday 10:05 PM: Nathan Eovaldi vs Sean Manaea
Thursday 3:35 PM: Opener vs Daniel Mengden

Daniel Mengden has been on fire

Athletics Starters the Last 3 Years

Pitcher GS IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Pitcher GS IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Trevor Cahill 21 206.2 24.1% 10.6% 1.26 3.66 4.42
Daniel Gossett 21 105.2 16.8% 7.4% 1.87 6.13 5.37
Sean Manaea 64 373.1 20.2% 6.7% 1.13 3.98 4.08
Daniel Mengden 32 181.1 18.6% 6.3% 1.04 4.37 3.92

Trevor Cahill found a team willing to give him more starts. After finding some success in the Chicago Cubs bullpen, Cahill had a good start for the San Diego Padres last year and has once again gotten off to a quick start with the Athletics. In six starts he has posted a 2.75 ERA and 3.44 FIP. In his last start he held the Seattle Mariners to two runs in 7.0 innings.

Daniel Gossett has been a replacement level pitcher. He will make his fourth start of the season. He started the year in the rotation, but was optioned after two rough starts. Gossett was recalled last week after Andrew Triggs and Brett Anderson landed on the disabled list. In his last start he held the Mariners to one run in 7.0 innings.

Sean Manaea threw a no hitter earlier this season against the Boston Red Sox. Manaea is the most experienced of the young arms for the Athletics. His 4.08 FIP is in line with his career numbers, but his ERA sits at 3.34. In his last five starts he has given up at least four runs each time out. His last start was his worst start of the season in which he allowed six runs in 3.2 innings against the Diamondbacks.

Manaea has gotten the headlines as a high draft pick with a no hitter on his resume, but Daniel Mengden has been the Athletics’ best pitcher and put up the quietest great start to the season. Mengden has a 2.85 ERA and 3.26 FIP through 11 starts. Mengden is coming off a complete game shutout of the Diamondbacks and hasn’t allowed a run in 17 innings. Mengden gets it done in part by limiting walks.

In short, facing the Athletics starters will be a tad more challenging than facing the Orioles.

Blake Treinen leads a very good bullpen

Athletics Relievers Last 3 Years

Pitcher G IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Pitcher G IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP
Yusmeiro Petit 147 224.1 22.5% 4.9% 1.12 3.49 3.54
Blake Treinen 208 212.1 23.9% 9.6% 0.64 3.09 3.36
Ryan Dull 146 145.1 24.9% 7.0% 1.42 3.72 4.12
Chris Hatcher 129 142.2 23.6% 9.4% 1.64 4.23 4.73
Daniel Coulombe 139 132.0 22.8% 9.9% 0.89 4.23 3.85
Emilio Pagan 48 68.1 23.7% 5.4% 1.45 3.56 4.05
Lou Trivino 16 19.0 25.0% 12.5% 0.00 0.95 2.58
Carlos Ramirez 14 19.0 23.9% 11.3% 1.42 2.84 4.84

For those who follow Rob Friedman, better known as @PitchingNinja on Twitter, you are very familiar with Blake Treinen. His sinker is absolutely filthy. It has incredible movement and comes it at an average velocity of over 98 mph and has hit 100+ on several occasions. Treinen struggled with the Washington Nationals, but since being traded to the Athletics has thrived in a late inning role. This year Treinen has a 1.04 ERA and 1.99 FIP while picking up 12 saves.

Yusmiero Petit has put up 3.27 ERA and 2.90 FIP in a four plus out role out of the bullpen.

Josh Lucas opened a game on Thursday going 2.0 innings. It was his third appearance of the year as a long man.

Thanks to Mengden’s complete game shutout the Athletics bullpen is well rested.

The Athletics offense has hit a cold spell

Athletics Batters Last 3 Years

Batter PA HR SB BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Batter PA HR SB BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Marcus Semien 1653 51 30 8.2% 22.6% 0.247 0.308 0.406 0.309 94
Jonathan Lucroy 1545 38 7 8.7% 14.7% 0.278 0.345 0.427 0.333 103
Stephen Piscotty 1479 41 12 9.0% 21.0% 0.263 0.338 0.425 0.331 107
Jed Lowrie 1430 30 0 9.6% 16.6% 0.266 0.336 0.409 0.324 104
Matt Joyce 1149 47 5 14.7% 22.0% 0.230 0.347 0.438 0.339 114
Mark Canha 707 25 6 5.1% 24.8% 0.236 0.290 0.422 0.307 94
Matt Chapman 542 22 0 10.3% 27.3% 0.235 0.319 0.458 0.333 110
Chad Pinder 467 21 2 6.0% 30.2% 0.246 0.300 0.457 0.322 102
Matt Olson 455 32 2 10.8% 27.5% 0.242 0.338 0.519 0.363 131
Bruce Maxwell 401 4 0 10.2% 24.2% 0.242 0.318 0.344 0.292 82
Franklin Barreto 80 2 2 6.3% 43.8% 0.187 0.238 0.333 0.246 50
Dustin Fowler 47 1 3 10.6% 12.8% 0.195 0.277 0.341 0.271 70

Through the end of April the Athletics had one of the best offenses in the league, hitting .263/.338/.441 with a 115 wRC+ that ranked second in MLB. They averaged 5.00 runs per game. May has not been as kind as they are hitting .222/.286/.388 and their 85 wRC+ ranks second to last in the American League. They are averaging 3.76 runs per game.

Khris Davis (119 wRC+) and his powerful bat leads the team with 13 homeruns; he was placed on disabled list with a strained groin last Monday. He would be eligible to return for Thursday’s game.

For Rays fans Jed Lowrie is remembered as the guy who grounded out to Akinori Iwamura for the final out of the 2008 American League Championship against the Boston Red Sox. Lowrie has typically been a solid player, but over the years health issues have limited his impact. This season he’s been healthy and has put up the best start to his career, hitting .300/.366/.502 with nine home runs and a 139 wRC+.

Chad Pinder (131 wRC+), Mark Canha (113 wRC+), Matt Chapman (112 wRC+), Matt Olson (109 wRC+), and former Ray Matt Joyce (104 wRC+) have been above average performers at the plate.

The last west coast road trip

The Rays get their road trip started with an afternoon game across the country on Memorial Day. I’d like to take this opporutnity to remember with gratitude all those who have lost their lives defending this country, and to thank the families and friends of those who made that ultimate sacrifice.