Athletics righty Joe Boyle looks to make impression in final spring training start

The Oakland Athletics face off against the Chicago White Sox this afternoon

Oakland Athletics Spring Training
Oakland Athletics Spring Training / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics will face off against the Chicago White Sox this afternoon as part of a split squad double header.

In the home affair at Hohokam Stadium, Athletics' righty Joe Boyle is set to take the mound in what should be his last appearance of spring training.

To this point, neither Boyle nor Kyle Muller has placed a firm grasp on the fifth and final rotation spot to start the year. The Athletics have a number of starters facing injuries that will miss time at the beginning of the season and at this point, the race has come down to Boyle and Muller.

Boyle has pitched to a 2.93 ERA so far this spring but his last two starts have left much to be desired. His control problems have returned and he's walked 9 batters in his last two appearances. His BB/9 has crept back up over 7, which is just unsustainable for a major league starter.

This might be Boyle's final opportunity to prove to the A's brass that he's ready to pitch in Oakland. If he can pull together 5+ innings and limit the walks and runs, he has a decent chance of starting the year in the majors.

On the other hand, if he walks a handful of batters today and lefty Kyle Muller looks sharp in his next outing, Boyle might get stuck down at Triple-A to work on solving his problems. Boyle has as much potential as almost any other pitcher on the roster so we're hoping he's able to put the last two starts behind him and move forward today.

Shortstop Nick Allen will lead off and look to prove that his revamped swing is here to stay. He's been hot since his return from a back injury and he'll need to keep it that way in order to win the starting job in Oakland.

His main competitor, Darell Hernaiz, gets the nod at third base. Hernaiz needs to step up at the plate over the next week if he wants to convince the A's front office that he's worthy of a spot on the Opening Day roster.

The scorching hot Hoy Park will look to keep the streak alive. He's recorded hits in 6 of his last 7 games, with 4 of those outings being multi-hit days. He's now hitting .472 with an 1.113 OPS during spring training.

The White Sox will send righty Jake Woodford to the mound this afternoon. Woodford has an 8.74 ERA this spring and is unlikely to make the White Sox roster. He's an NRI and his performance thus far has not warranted consideration for his addition to the 40-man.

First pitch is at 1:05 pm PST today.