The first half of the 2022 season has felt like a long haul, even with the regular schedule getting underway later than planned following the off-season lock-out.
There’s no denying that a lacklustre rebuilding season such as the A’s are going through can make it difficult to keep the enthusiasm up, especially for those of us battling the time difference.
The All-Star Break will therefore come as a welcome chance to reset and to find a second wind for the second half, for A’s fans and players alike. We can at least find some joy in Paul Blackburn being named to the American League All-Star team as a wonderful story for a pitcher who has worked incredibly hard to prove himself at the Major League level.
The final week before the festivities sees the A’s on a road-trip to Texas, starting against the Rangers at Globe Life Field before heading to Minute Maid Park to renew hostilities with the Houston Astros.
Texas Rangers (A)
It’s been an up-and-down first half for the Rangers after their off-season spending splurge.
An awful 7-14 April was followed by a magnificent 17-10 May, only to then lead to a below-par 15-20 June and early July.
Texas has won 5 of 7 against the A’s so far this season with our batting line-up managing to score only 19 runs combined across those games (not quite 3 per game), so there’s plenty of room for improvement on our end. The scheduled starting pitchers are as follows:
Game 1: Adrián Martínez – Spencer Howard
Game 2: James Kaprielian – Glenn Otto
Game 3: Paul Blackburn – Jon Gray
Houston Astros (A)
Avoiding being swept by the Astros at the Coliseum over the weekend just gone counts as an achievement for Mark Kotsay’s team in a year of appropriately low expectations.
Repeating the feat on the road will be another small feather in the cap bearing in mind we’re scheduled to face Jose Urquidy and Jake Odorizzi again, both of whom pitched very well against us, and the ever foreboding presence of Justin Verlander too.
The one crumb of comfort is that the A’s are optimistic that Frankie Montas will be ready to return from his spell on the sidelines. The Front Office must have held their heads in their hands as Frankie’s shoulder started bothering him a month before the trade deadline, but it looks like the cortisone shot has done the trick in bringing down the inflammation.
Game 1: Frankie Montas – Justin Verlander
Game 2: Cole Irvin – José Urquidy
Game 3: Adrián Martínez – Jake Odorizzi