The Oakland Athletics are not playing like a last-place team of late and look to continue their surge when they host the playoff-contending Tampa Bay Rays on Monday for the opener of their three-game series. The Athletics have won seven of their last nine games overall after sweeping three from American League Central-leading Cleveland following the All-Star break.
Oakland scored 17 runs in the three contests against the Indians and rookie Matt Chapman recorded his fifth extra-base hit in the series with a double in Sunday’s 7-3 victory that extended the team’s home winning streak to five games. Rookie Daniel Gossett will try to keep the surge going for the Athletics against Jake Odorizzi, who attempts to help Tampa Bay win for the fifth time in six contests. The Rays left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning of a 4-3 setback at the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, but they hold down one of the two AL wild-card spots after finishing 68-94 last year. Logan Morrison has homered in two straight games to push his career high to 26 for Tampa Bay and teammate Evan Longoria has hit safely in nine consecutive contests, going 13-for-33 with seven RBIs in that stretch.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), NBCSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (5-4, 4.63 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Daniel Gossett (1-4, 6.23)
Odorizzi has allowed three or more runs in each of his last seven outings after giving up seven in 4 1/3 innings against Boston on July 7, and he has recorded only two quality starts in that span. The 27-year-old Illinois native, who served up two homers in the loss to the Red Sox, has surrendered at least one blast in 13 straight starts and 15 of his 16 on the year. Marcus Semien is 3-for-4 with a homer versus Odorizzi, who is 0-2 with a 3.97 ERA in four career starts against Oakland.
Gossett has gone 0-2 while permitting 13 runs in 14 1/3 innings over three starts since registering his first major-league victory on June 24 against the Chicago White Sox. The 24-year-old Clemson product also has had trouble keeping the ball in the park, giving up five homers in his last three games and eight in his six big-league outings. Gossett, who will face Tampa Bay for the first time, is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two turns at home.
1. Tampa Bay OF Mallex Smith went 8-for-14 with six runs scored and four stolen bases as the Rays took three of four from the Athletics from June 9-11.
2. Oakland traded RHP Ryan Madson and LHP Sean Doolittle to Washington on Sunday for RHP Blake Treinen and two prospects.
3. The Rays designated Jumbo Diaz for assignment after Sunday’s game and recalled fellow RHP Andrew Kittredge from Triple-A Durham.
PREDICTION: Rays 6, Athletics 4