Wed, 27 Sep 2023

Athletics aim for rare sweep in finale vs. Braves

Field Level Media
31 May 2023, 20:40 GMT+10

The Oakland A's will send right-hander James Kaprielian to the mound in search of their first sweep of the season when they host the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in the finale of their three-game series.

The A's won 7-2 on Monday and 2-1 on Tuesday.

Oakland, which has the worst record in the major leagues, has been swept eight times this year. Atlanta, which is tied for the second-most wins in the National League, has been swept twice.

"It's no secret that we've been struggling," said Athletics left-hander J.P. Sears, who pitched well as a starter on Tuesday.

"(Manager Mark Kotsay) has talked about taking the little victories and we've bought into that and that's we did."

Kaprielian (0-5, 8.45 ERA) will be opposed by Atlanta left-hander Jared Shuster (1-2, 5.33).

Kaprielian was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on May 20 for his third stint with the A's this season.

In two starts since being called up, Kaprielian is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA over 10 innings. In his most recent appearance against the Houston Astros on Tuesday, he allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits, two walks and four strikeouts in five innings.

"You think coming back from (offseason shoulder surgery), it's probably going to take a little bit of time," Kotsay said. "Overall, I think he's got some arm speed built back in, which looks better. And overall, like the last two starts, I think he's attacked the zone better as well."

Kaprielian said, "I think we're kind of getting mechanically closer to what I was in the past. Some of the changes made weren't necessarily for the better, so I think we're just kind of getting back to what I do. The velocity is still down, but it's good to be out there, be able to compete with the stuff that I have and be able to get out."

This will be Kaprielian's first career appearance against Atlanta.

The Oakland pitching staff has limited Atlanta to three runs and 10 hits over the first two games.

Atlanta sluggers Ronald Acuna Jr. (0-for-7), Matt Olson (2-for-7), Ozzie Albies (1-for-7) and Sean Murphy (1-for-6) have struggled to get on base. Acuna fouled a pitch off his left instep in the ninth inning but remained in the game.

Shuster, a rookie, has been dependable since being thrust into an Atlanta starting rotation that has been decimated by injuries.

Since being recalled on May 16, Shuster has made three starts and pitched to a 3.94 ERA. In his last outing on Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies, he did not receive a decision after pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on three hits, three walks and five strikeouts.

"It's good to be able to adjust and get my feet back under me," Shuster said. "(The Phillies) did some good things but I'm happy overall. I was able to slow things down and from then on, I felt better."

The Braves made a roster move on Tuesday, recalling right-handed pitcher A.J. Smith-Shawver from Triple-A Gwinnett and designating left-hander Lucas Luetge for assignment.

Smith-Shawver is rated as the organization's No. 4 overall prospect. He has pitched across three different minor league levels this season, combining to go 2-1 with a 1.09 ERA over seven games.

--Field Level Media

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