Paul Blackburn looks to keep hot streak alive as Athletics take on Nationals

The Oakland Athletics face off against the Washington Nationals this weekend
Apr 6, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) throws
Apr 6, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) throws / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics are set to take on the Washington Nationals in a three-game series starting tonight. The A's come into today's matchup having won 4 of their last 6 games and currently sit in 3rd place in the AL West.

Starter Paul Blackburn will look to keep his hot streak alive, taking the mound this evening for his third start of the year. He's thrown 13 innings in his first two starts without allowing a run and notching 7 strikeouts to just 1 walk.

Blackburn won't remain perfect forever but his performance to this point has been pivotal for the A's. He's been credited with just one win but the A's did beat the Guardians in his first start, making them 2-0 when Blackburn has taken the mound.

The Nationals have some interesting young talent but don't pose a significant threat to make a playoff run this year. This series should be a good opportunity for the A's to lock in a couple more wins in the early days of the season.

Mark Kotsay will throw out a fairly standard lineup this evening, with outfielder Seth Brown getting pushed back to the 5 spot and Ryan Noda hitting down in the order.

Abraham Toro has reached base in 4 of his last 5 starts and he'll work out of the leadoff spot again tonight. He's now hit atop the lineup in 4 of his 7 starts and if he keeps hitting well, he might find himself there more often than not.

Max Schuemann will have to wait at least one more day to earn his first major league start but still stands a chance of getting into the game as a pinch hitter later on.

Right hander Jake Irvin will start for the Nationals tonight. He enters the matchup with a 5.73 ERA in his first two outings. Irvin debuted with the Nationals in 2023 and threw 121 innings with the big league club across 24 starts, pitching to a 4.61 ERA while notching 99 strikeouts.

He was never a top prospect and doesn't have elite stuff, so we'll see if the A's bats can get into a rhythm early on. With Blackburn on the mound, they may not need a ton of runs but we'll see how tonight's matchup plays out.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 pm PDT. You can follow along on NBCSCA and A's cast.