Athletics prospect Max Schuemann set to make first career start against Nationals

The Oakland Athletics are set to take on the Washington Nationals this afternoon
Washington Nationals v Oakland Athletics
Washington Nationals v Oakland Athletics / Loren Elliott/GettyImages

Oakland A's prospect Max Schuemann will make his first career start just one day after making his big league debut as a pinch runner and scoring the winning run in Friday's matchup with the Nationals.

The 26 year old will get the nod in center field, giving JJ Bleday his first day off all season. He's gotten starts at every position except catcher throughout his minor league career, bouncing around in whatever role he's been needed.

A's manager Mark Kotsay commented about his versatility back in spring training and it looks like that's finally going to pay off for Schuemann.

He hit well in the minors in 2023, posting a .276/.402/.430 line in 116 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He was on the verge of making the opening day roster thanks to a strong spring training but the A's chose to start him at Triple-A Las Vegas.

After Brent Rooker was transferred to the 10-day IL due to a rib cage strain, Schuemann got the call. His lone appearance in the majors came last night, pinch running for outfielder Seth Brown in the bottom of the 10th.

Schuemann came around to score on a walk-off single by Lawrence Butler. Schuemann will get his first crack at a major league hit this afternoon. Depending on how the injuries play out, Schuemann could get an extended look in the majors.

After some bad luck in his first two starts, A's righty Joe Boyle will look to get his season turned around against a struggling Nationals offense. Boyle has pitched to an 8.22 ERA and posted a 10:7 strikeout to walk ratio so far.

With lefty Kyle Muller pitching well in relief and having experience in the rotation, Boyle will need to pick up the pace if he wants to stay in Oakland. GM David Forst should give him a decent amount of leeway but if he can't reign in the command issues, he could find himself back in Triple-A before the start of June.

The Nationals will send lefty MacKenzie Gore to the mound. Gore has put up a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings, striking out 12 while walking 4.

Gore was solid in his first true season as a full-time starter last year, pitching to a 4.42 ERA in 136.1 innings. He's struck out just over a batter per inning in his time in the majors and kept the walks in check.

His fastball velocity is up a couple mph over 2023. He's currently averaging 97.3 mph on the four seamer. He'll mix in a slider and curveball to keep hitters on their toes and has been throwing his changeup more often this spring.

We'll see if the A's are up to the challenge. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 pm PDT today.