Game 22, A’s At Mariners
Vargas vs Cahill, 6:10 pm.
After getting shutout by a couple of power right-handers, the A’s will get something entirely different tonight in Jason Vargas. Vargas is off to a pretty nice start this year, posting a 3.40 xFIP through his first four starts. Interestingly, his strikeout rate is up significantly while his swinging strike rate is actually down over his normal mark – the cause appears to be his big jump in first strike percentage (69.8% so far this year), allowing him to pitch ahead in the count and allocate most of his whiffs to two-strike situations where they’ll result in a knockout. Vargas doesn’t have the stuff to keep striking hitters out at this rate, but if he keeps throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters, he’s got a chance to have another good year.
Bradley’s out of the line-up again and Smoak won’t return to the team until Tuesday, but you’re probably used to this kind of line-up by now: