Athletics lefty Kyle Muller looks to keep momentum going against Giants

Athletics lefty Kyle Muller continues his push for a spot in the starting rotation
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers / Masterpress/GettyImages

Oakland Athletics' lefty Kyle Muller is set to face off against the Giants this afternoon in Scottsdale. First pitch is at 12:05 pm PST.

Muller has been battling for a spot in the starting rotation and has looked strong so far in spring training. In his previous two starts, he's compiled a 1.80 ERA in 5 innings, picking up 7 strikeouts and allowing just 1 walk.

Martin Gallegos of reported earlier in the offseason that Muller has adjusted his delivery, apparently raising his arm slot and tweaking his windup. So far, it seems to be working.

It's a small sample size and diminished competition, to be sure, but if Muller is able to keep the forward momentup going into the start of the year, he could find himself starting games for the Athletics early in the season.

With injuries to Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk putting their respective availability on opening day in doubt, and Ross Stripling struggling thus far in spring training, there could be an additional open spot in Oakland.

We'd assumed that Muller would start the year in the bullpen but if he and Joe Boyle look this sharp as we approach opening day, the Athletics will have some interesting decisions to make.

Elsewhere, Lazarito gets a start in left field today as he looks to impress the A's brass. He's gotten a bit unlucky at the plate this spring but has notched his first home run and has shown solid plate discipline, walking twice in his 10 plate appearances.

Shea Langeliers will get some reps at DH, while veteran Carlos Perez takes the start behind the plate. Perez is a dark horse to make the roster out of camp but with Tyler Soderstrom still having trouble at the plate, anything could happen.

Max Schuemann looks to keep the hot streak going after a multi-hit effort against the Brewers yesterday, and Jordan Diaz will try to kick his spring into gear after hitting just .095 with a .351 OPS in his first 24 plate appearances.

The Giants counter with the newly acquired Jordan Hicks on the mound. Hicks spent the last several years in the Cardinals bullpen but signed with the Giants, who agreed to let him work as a starter. Hicks is known for his triple-digit fastballs and nasty breaking pitches but has struggled to a 8.31 ERA in his two starts this spring. We'll see if the Athletics can get to him early.