The Oakland Athletics will get a chance to host Elvis Andrus for the first time as a member of the Chicago White Sox when the clubs duel in a four-game series beginning Thursday night.
The teams will meet in their second and final series of the season, with the White Sox having taken two of three at home at the end of July.
Andrus was Oakland’s starting shortstop in the earlier series, going 4-for-12 with a double and a homer. The long ball came in a 7-3 win in the series opener. Two days later, he struck out in both of his at-bats against right-hander Dylan Cease, the White Sox’s scheduled starter Thursday, during a 4-1 Chicago victory.
After Andrus played in 252 games over two seasons for the organization, the A’s released him in August. He was snatched up two days later by the White Sox.
The 34-year-old hit .237 for Oakland this season but is batting .284 for Chicago.
The A’s made the move to clear space for the player they hope will be their shortstop of the future, Nick Allen. The 23-year-old has hit just .206 so far.
The Oakland lineup did little damage against Cease the first time around, when he limited the A’s to one run and four hits in six innings. The Athletics’ run came via a Ramon Laureano homer.
Cease (13-6, 2.13 ERA) has never pitched in Oakland. He has a 1-0 lifetime record and 3.00 ERA in two starts against the A’s.
The American League Cy Young Award candidate is coming off a shutout win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday in which he lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. He settled for a one-hitter with two walks and seven strikeouts. It was the first nine-inning shutout in his career.
The A’s (50-87) got a heavy dose of quality pitching in a two-game home sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves to start the week, when they had to deal with Kyle Wright and Spencer Strider.
Oakland manager Mark Kotsay patted his guys on the back after the two defeats, especially the Wednesday game, when the A’s trailed just 3-2 going to the seventh before falling 7-3.
“We’ve played this team really well,” he said of the defending World Series champions. “They are one of the better teams that we’ve come across.”
The A’s will get another chance to play spoiler against the White Sox (69-68), who came away with a much needed 2-1 series win over a fellow playoff contender, the Seattle Mariners. Chicago posted a 9-6 road triumph on Wednesday afternoon.
Chicago has gone 6-3 since manager Tony La Russa left the team for medical reasons last week. There has been no announcement on his condition or possible return, meaning he could miss out on a homecoming at a place where he led the A’s to three straight World Series appearances from 1988-90 and a world championship in 1989.
“We have to do it for him,” proclaimed Miguel Cairo, who has moved over from bench coach to run things for La Russa, 77. “He cares about this team. He really loves the Chicago White Sox. We have to do it for him.”
Looking to temporarily stall Chicago’s playoff pursuit will be lefty JP Sears (5-1, 2.37), who was acquired from the New York Yankees one day after the A’s left Chicago.
The rookie has never faced Chicago. The only current member of the White Sox he has faced in the majors is Andrus, who grounded out twice in an A’s-Yankees game on June 28.
Sears is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in five starts since joining the A’s.
–Field Level Media