Ervin Santana will take the mound for the Royals. Santana has been one of the two best pitchers on the team this year, as he owns a 2.84 ERA over 16 starts. The starter has 89 strikeouts compared to just 21 unintentional walks, giving him a K/BB ratio north of four.
The starter has a 3.53 xFIP and 3.56 SIERA, so he cannot reasonably be expected to pitch at a sub-3.00 ERA level. Still, the team has to feel confident that they have a good chance to win whenever Santana takes the mound.
Alex Gordon returns to the top of the lineup, as he has been cleared by MLB to return. It's good to see Gordon back, as his injury looked fairly scary when it happened. Bob Dutton brings us the full Royals lineup.
#Royals vs. Oak RHP Parker: Gordon 7, Hosmer 3, Butler DH, Perez 2, Lough 9, Tejada 4, Moustakas 5, Johnson 6, Dyson 8 and Santana 1.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) July 6, 2013
Elliot Johnson will fill in for Alcides Escobar at shortstop, but thankfully will not take his No. 2 spot in the lineup. Miguel Tejada is playing second base instead of Johnny Giavotella, while Jarrod Dyson is in center, giving Lorenzo Cain the day off.
Jarrod Parker will start for the Athletics. The right-hander exited his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals with hamstring soreness, so Oakland will need to keep an eye on him.
Parker has struggled this season after a strong rookie season, as he owns a 4.11 ERA and 4.62 xFIP in 17 starts. He had pitched better in the six starts prior to his injury, posting a 2.34 ERA, so the Athletics hope he has put his problems behind him.
Jed Lowrie is out of the Athletics lineup today because he fouled a ball last night off his right calf. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle brings us the Oakland starting nine:
A win today seems like a perfect way to celebrate Gordon's return to the field.
Song of the Day: Tom Petty - Learning to Fly
I was lucky enough to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Sprint Center a few years ago. They still put on a good show, and Petty did a good job mixing in all of his classic hits with some of the new material he had just released.