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Athletics vs. Twins: Brandon McCarthy Looks To Move A's Further Above .500

The Oakland Athletics open up a brief two-game set with the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night at the whatever you want to call it Coliseum. The A’s are coming off a two-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels that has propelled Oakland into a first place tie with the Texas Rangers. Their 14-0 demolition of the Angels Tuesday night gave them a share of first place for the first time since June 3, 2010.

The A’s now host a Minnesota Twins squad that is struggling mightily, sitting 13.5 games back of the first place Cleveland Indians. The Twins were expecting big things this season, but instead it’s been a nightmare as they’ve dealt with numerous injuries and other problems. Even their season highlight, Francisco Liriano’s no-hitter came amidst his own monstrous struggles.

The A’s will send out Brandon McCarthy and Tyson Ross as they look to build on the momentum they’ve gained in climbing into first place. The A’s have reached a pivotal point as the Rangers and Angels are both dealing with numerous injury concerns. The A’s have somehow managed to avoid the injury bug to a large extent (big knock on wood) with Dallas Braden being their only major injury and Andrew Bailey working his way back in good measure. Now would indeed be a good time for a lengthy winning streak so the A’s can build some kind of cushion while the Rangers and A’s work their way back to health.

The A’s will be giving Coco Crisp Wednesday night off as they get Ryan Sweeney into the lineup for a few at bats. In limited play, Sweeney has been the team’s most consistent hitter, putting together a line of .315/.403/.407. David DeJesus will hit in the leadoff spot, while Sweeney hits sixth behind Kurt Suzuki. Mark Ellis is in the seventh spot as he looks to build on his strong showing the last few days that has gotten his batting average above the Mendoza line (.200).

Oakland Athletics
1. David DeJesus RF
2. Daric Barton 1B
3. Josh Willingham LF
4. Hideki Matsui DH
5. Kurt Suzuki C
6. Ryan Sweeney CF
7. Mark Ellis 2B
8. Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
9. Cliff Pennington SS

Minnesota Twins
1. Denard Span CF
2. Trevor Plouffe SS
3. Jason Kubel DH
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer RF
6. Danny Valencia 3B
7. Ben Revere LF
8. Drew Butera C
9. Alexi Casilla 2B