|A's look to again silence Judge, sweep Yankees|
The Oakland Athletics hope to continue to hold the upper hand over Northern California legend Aaron Judge on Thursday night when the visiting New York Yankees seek to salvage one win in their three-game series.
Veteran right-hander Tanner Roark (7-8, 4.01 ERA) will get a shot at pitching the A's to a three-game sweep in a rematch of last year's American League wild-card game, which the Yankees won 7-2.
Batting second, Judge followed a walk to Andrew McCutchen with a two-run homer off A's opener Liam Hendriks in the wild-card game, giving New York a lead it never relinquished.
The clubs are meeting for the first time since that October duel this week, and so far the A's have been the better team.
And one of the keys to that is Oakland's ability to limit Judge -- he has one hit in nine at-bats, a solo home run in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 6-2 loss with the Yankees down by five runs at the time.
After Tuesday's loss, Judge cited bad luck as a contributing factor to the fact that his average had dropped to .260.
"I've felt good; I've felt good for a couple of months now," Judge assured reporters. "The hits just aren't falling; that's about it. So just keep having quality at-bats and I just have to get on base for Gio (Urshela) and all those guys behind me. They make my job simple."
Judge then went 0-for-5 in Wednesday's 6-4 loss, striking out in arguably the most important single at-bat of the game.
Facing Hendriks for the first time since the wild-card game, Judge struck out with two outs and runners on first and third in the eighth inning, with the Yankees down by two.
The strikeout was his fourth of the series for the native of Linden, Calif., a Sacramento suburb that is located about 80 miles east of Oakland.
Predictably, Judge has been supported well in his annual Bay Area homecoming.
He's faced Roark just three times in his career, those plate appearances coming in June 2018 when the Roark was pitching for Washington. Judge lined out, flied out and walked against Roark in that game.
That was the only time Roark has faced the Yankees in his career. He'll take a 0-1 record and 4.50 ERA against New York into the series finale.
The A's have managed to beat up on Yankees pitching for a total of 12 runs and five home runs in the series despite going without 21-homer center fielder Ramon Laureano, who is out with a stress fracture in his right shin.
The defensive ace has pushed manager Bob Melvin to put him back in the starting lineup, but that's unlikely to happen at least until the weekend.
"I just want to play," Laureano assured reporters before Wednesday's game. "I don't need a rehab assignment or anything. I want to go out and play right away."
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (9-6, 4.56) will get the ball in an attempt to end New York's three-game losing streak. He's lost just once in his last 12 starts.
Tanaka has started five games in his career against the A's, going 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA. He's 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts in Oakland.
--Field Level Media