Oakland Athletics' righty Paul Blackburn set to face off against Giants

The Oakland Athletics will face off against the San Francisco Giants this afternoon

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics will take on the cross-bay rival San Francisco Giants this afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm PST, with righty Paul Blackburn set to take on Giants' right-hander Jordan Hicks.

Blackburn struggled his last time out against the Royals. He allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings pitched on Sunday afternoon, getting just 2 strikeouts on the day. His spring ERA sits at a paltry 6.00, in part due to the 2 home runs he's given up.

The Athletics need Blackburn to stay healthy for the full season, something he's never done previously. His career high innings mark is 111.1 which he posted in 2022. He's yet to make more than 21 starts in a season but with any luck, that'll change in 2024.

He's been a decent pitcher when healthy. He has a combined 4.35 ERA over the last two seasons, though the 4.09 FIP suggests he's gotten a bit unlucky. He's not a power pitcher in the modern sense of the phrase but he was able to strike out a touch more than a batter per inning in 2023 and will look to improve upon that mark this summer.

Due to the lack of depth in the A's system, Blackburn is essentially locked into a rotation spot. He's proven to be good enough to stick in the top five but seeing as he's already 30 years old, he really needs to take a step forward if he wants to have an extended major league career.

Blackburn will be a free agent after the 2025 season and there has been some speculation about whether the Athletics would try to move him in a trade. For now, GM David Forst has put those notions to rest. But depending on his performance this summer, those discussions could come back to the surface as we get closer to the trade deadline.

Elsewhere, Miguel Andujar was scratched again today due to a lingering calf issue. It's the second day in a row that he'll sit out. It's still being described as a minor injury that won't affect his availability for opening day but we'll see how it plays out.

Tyler Soderstrom gets the start at DH today. He still has a couple weeks to pick up the pace but things have not gone well for him this spring. He's still showing poor plate discipline and he's not impacting the ball on contact.

We'll see if the Athletics can get back on track after a lackluster offensive performance yesterday. First pitch at 1:05 pm PST.