OAKLAND Alexander Mattison Jersey , Calif. — Two teams that began heading in opposite directions at just about the time they saw each other last month hook up again when the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics open a two-game interleague series Tuesday night.
The Padres were within arm’s length of .500 at 34-40, having won nine of 15, when the A’s ventured into San Diego and used a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike, game-tying home run from Stephen Piscotty off relief ace Brad Hand to trigger a two-game sweep, winning 4-2 and 12-4.
The Padres now head north well out of contention in the National League West, having lost 11 of 14.
The A’s, meanwhile, have won 12 of 15 to surge well above .500 at 46-39 and into contention in the American League wild-card race.
Oakland has made much of its recent run without standout third baseman Matt Chapman, who has taken time off to allow pain in his right hand to subside.
Two cortisone shots later, Chapman had a pain-free hitting session Sunday and was sent to Class A for an injury-rehab game Monday.
It’s possible he could be reinstated from the disabled list during this series.
“He hit a few off the back wall in center field, so that tells me enough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin observed Sunday. “Getting him back in the lineup will be a nice little kick for us.”
The A’s need no such boost in their pitching. They have allowed two or fewer runs in four of their last five games.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-3 http://www.vikingscheapshops.com/cheap-authentic-dru-samia-jersey , 2.82 ERA) will look to extend that impressive run while at the same time taste his first career success in interleague play.
The 29-year-old began the A’s recent pitching showcase with six innings of two-hit, scoreless ball in a 3-0 win at Detroit last Wednesday.
He has never faced the Padres in his career, and has lost both interleague starts despite a 2.45 ERA.
One intriguing potential matchup in the series is A’s closer Blake Treinen against Padres slugger Eric Hosmer, a pairing that carried a bit of history into a game-ending showdown in the A’s earlier 4-2 win in San Diego.
Then a member of the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer bombed a two-run, go-ahead homer off Treinen in the eighth inning of their first career head-to-head last August.
Treinen then extracted a measure of revenge in the June 19 rematch in San Diego, closing out the 10-inning game by striking out Hosmer as he represented the potential tying run.
Bassitt will be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29), who had a four-game winning streak stopped in a 5-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.
He retains a good interleague record (9-5, 3.50) despite not having beaten an American League opponent since 2015.
You have to go back three years before that to find his last appearance against the A’s in Oakland, but it was a memorable one. He shut out a playoff-bound A’s team for 7 2/3 innings in 2012, allowing five hits in a 2-1 win.
He has faced the A’s three times in his career, twice as a starter, and gone 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
One A’s hitter that Richard will have to deal with is the aforementioned Piscotty Daniel Jones Jersey , who played last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Piscotty has dominated the head-to-heads, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a flyout to deep center field in the only non-hit of the matchup.
A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy, another former National Leaguer, also has a successful history against Richard, going 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles and a homer.
The Atlanta Braves, tied for the best record in the National League, return home from their brief two-game road trip to host the Baltimore Orioles, the team with the worst record in baseball.
The three-game interleague series begins on Friday at SunTrust Park.
Baltimore will start right-hander Alex Cobb (2-9, 7.14) against Atlanta left-hander Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70) in the series opener.
The Braves (43-30) split two games at Toronto and return home having won seven of their last 10 games. Atlanta has a three-game lead over Washington in the National League East.
The Orioles (21-52) have lost eight of their last 10 games. They dropped two of three games at Washington, although all of the games were within three runs.
Newcomb has made enjoyed a breakthrough season in his second year in the majors. Newcomb has posted two scoreless starts over his last three appearances, most recently on June 16 against San Diego. He struck out seven and allowed two hits in that six-inning start, which he won. That was a bounce-back for the southpaw, who had allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings against Los Angeles in his previous start.
“After you have a good one http://www.giantscheapshops.com/cheap-authentic-dexter-lawrence-jersey , you’ve got to be able to clear it and look forward to the next one,” Newcomb said. “You’ve got to treat each start as kind of a new thing, whether you had a good one or a bad one. That allows you to go out fresh every time.”
Newcomb leads the team in wins and has allowed two or fewer runs in ten of his 14 starts. He has never faced the Orioles.
“It’s good to see that maturity and confidence in him now,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “There’s no panic. I love how he stays pitch-to-pitch during a game. It’s just a young pitcher who is confident in what he’s doing and has faith in himself.”
Cobb has made five quality starts in 12 previous outings but has not pitched well in his last two starts, both losses. He allowed five runs in seven innings against Miami on June 16 and was rocked for nine runs in 3 2/3 innings against Toronto in June 10.
“Being out there and feeling comfortable is such a thing you take for granted,” Cobb said. “I’m just really comfortable where I’m at. I’m able to execute a high amount of pitches. That’s going to lead to some success.”
He has one career start against the Braves in 2012. He allowed two runs in seven innings and struck out six in earning the victory.
With the series in Atlanta, Baltimore will not be able to use a designated hitter. That may be OK with Mark Trumbo, who is hitting .349 (15-for-43) in 13 games playing in the field, compared to hitting .233 in 27 games as the DH.
Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman has been among the league leaders all season. He leads the National League total bases (162) and is second in on-base percentage (.420) and slugging percentage (.579). His 93 hits are tied with teammate Nick Markakis for the league lead. His .332 batting average is second only to Scooter Gennett’s .336 mark.
The Orioles are expected to get slugger Chris Davis back in the lineup on Friday. He has missed eight games while making offensive adjustments after hitting .150 with 86 strikeouts in 57 games.
“I’m really looking forward to getting him back on the field,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m really looking forward to getting the impactful player he’s capable of being.”