Right-hander James Kaprielian hopes to record his first major-league hit before his first big-league loss when he puts his unbeaten record on the line for the visiting Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon against the Colorado Rockies.
The A’s have adjusted well to National League rules in winning the first two games of the interleague road series, accumulating four home runs, one triple and six doubles among 24 total hits.
Saturday’s winning pitcher, Cole Irvin, even got into the hitting act, going 1-for-2 in a 12-hit attack that produced a 6-3 win.
The A’s also had 12 hits in Friday’s series-opening 9-5 victory.
Presuming he’s still in the game when the Oakland lineup card reaches his name no later than the third inning, Kaprielian (2-0, 2.95) is scheduled to make his first plate appearance since high school.
He never batted in a three-year UCLA career, never came to the plate as a four-year minor-leaguer, and hasn’t batted in any of his previous six major-league pitching appearances.
The 27-year-old does have interleague experience, that coming last August when he made his major-league debut in relief in San Francisco against the Giants. He worked the seventh and eighth innings, allowing one run, but never batted as Major League Baseball used a universal DH last season.
Kaprielian never has faced the Rockies.
“I haven’t quite hit my expectations yet to be honest,” Kaprielian noted earlier this week. “Having a little bit of success in the big leagues is great, but I don’t feel like I’ve done anything quite yet. I’m not sure what the Athletics’ expectations are from me, but mine are a lot higher.”
Kaprielian will be facing a Colorado team that has recorded two firsts in the two season-opening losses.
Alan Trejo, a late-game defensive replacement in a double-switch, belted his first career home run off Burch Smith in the seventh inning Friday.
One night later, Brendan Rodgers came up as a pinch-hitter against Jesus Luzardo in the same inning and in the same spot in the lineup and also recorded his first big-league homer, a two-run shot.
Trejo also came on late in Saturday’s game and delivered a pinch-hit single.
“He’s doing everything he can to impact the team and prove that he can play in the big leagues,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “It’s really good to see that type of player do the things he’s capable of doing.”
The Rockies are scheduled to pitch right-hander German Marquez (3-5, 4.13) in the series finale. He has pitched brilliantly in his past three starts, but has just a 1-1 record to show for it.
The 26-year-old has allowed just two runs and nine hits in 20 innings in those starts, which have included Rockies home wins over Arizona and Texas. His lone loss in the run came on the road, 1-0 to the New York Mets.
Marquez has made three career starts against Oakland, going 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA. He is 8-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 23 interleague starts.
The Rockies, who had been 5-0 in interleague play this season before the two losses to Oakland, remain winless in the series despite five hits, including three doubles, by leadoff man Raimel Tapia.
–Field Level Media