Having been suffocated by Dustin May and Clayton Kershaw on consecutive nights, the reeling Oakland Athletics must deal with reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer as they attempt to avoid a winless season-opening homestand when they face the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers one more time Wednesday afternoon.
May and Kershaw combined to limit the A’s to a total of one run on six hits over 13 innings in the first two games of the interleague series, propelling the Dodgers to 10-3 and 5-1 victories.
The ball next will be handed to Bauer (1-0, 5.68 ERA), who began Los Angeles’ current five-game winning streak with 6 1/3 innings in his Dodgers debut, an 11-6 road win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday. He gave up four runs but struck out 10.
The right-hander will take the mound with just a 1-4 career record and 3.72 ERA in eight career starts against the A’s. He is winless in five career starts at Oakland.
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will look to improve upon his season-opening effort against the Houston Astros when he faces the Dodgers for just the second time in his career.
The 23-year-old struck out eight over five innings on Friday but served up home runs to Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel among eight hits that produced five runs.
His only previous experience against the Dodgers came in relief last September in Los Angeles, when he allowed three hits, three walks and three runs in three innings in a 5-1 loss. Luzardo walked in a run during the shaky appearance.
Luzardo will have to deal with a Los Angeles offense that is in top form. Five different Dodgers have hit home runs in the first two games of the Oakland series. Max Muncy and Zach McKinstry each had a three-hit game Monday, and Justin Turner has produced consecutive two-hit games.
For the season, six different Dodgers have homered, with Will Smith, who had one in Monday’s win, leading the way with two.
The Los Angeles offense kept rolling along Tuesday despite missing Cody Bellinger, out after getting spiked in the leg Monday, and Chris Taylor, hit in the left elbow by a Frankie Montas pitch in the series opener.
Edwin Rios took advantage of a rare start to collect two hits, including his first homer, in Tuesday’s win.
Veteran outfielder AJ Pollock warned opponents not to sleep on the young Dodgers, especially McKinstry.
“His bat is definitely going to play in the big leagues,” Pollock predicted. “That guy can absolutely flat-out rake.”
Desperately searching for a positive, A’s manager Bob Melvin observed after Tuesday’s loss that right-hander Chris Bassitt’s outing was better than his Opening Day start against Houston.
However, he interjected, “When you’re not scoring any runs, every bad pitch you make is magnified. That probably was the best outing (for an A’s starter) so far. We just couldn’t support him offensively.”
Elvis Andrus, Matt Chapman and Mitch Moreland combined to go 0-for-11 on Tuesday, extending Andrus’ season-opening slump to 1-for-21, Chapman’s to 2-for-19 and Moreland’s to 2-for-16.
–Field Level Media