2023 Opponent Preview: Oakland A’s

2023 Opponent Preview: Oakland A’s

The Reds head to Oakland this weekend for a three game series against the A’s, kicking off a six-game west coast trip. The two teams last met in 2019 in Cincinnati, with Oakland taking two of three.

  • Friday, 9:40 pm EST
  • Saturday, 4:07 pm EST
  • Sunday, 4:07 pm EST

Oakland, much like the Reds, is fully entrenched in a rebuild. They finished 2022 with the worst record in the American League, at 60-102. 2023 hasn’t gotten off to a strong start either, with their 5-21 record ranking as the worst in the Majors. Notably, if they would maintain that pace over a full season, they’d finish the season with a 31-131 record, so it’s clear the only direction they can go from here is up. The Reds hope to capitalize on Oakland’s struggles and leave with at least a series victory, something that has been hard to come by on the west coast for the Reds in recent years.


The A’s had a fairly quiet offseason that was headlined by one key trade. They traded top catcher Sean Murphy to the Atlanta Braves in a three-team trade with Milwaukee that saw the A’s acquire outfielder Esteury Ruiz, catcher Manny Pina, and pitchers Kyle Muller, Freddy Tarnok, and Royber Salinas. The A’s also traded pitcher AJ Puk to the Marlins for outfielder JJ Bleday in a swap of young, unproven Major Leaguers, and traded starter Cole Irvin to Baltimore for a minor league infielder.

They also made a few small major league signings, adding infielders Aledmys Diaz, Jace Peterson, and Jesus Aguilar, and pitchers Trevor May, Shintaro Fujinami, and Drew Rucinski. The most impactful offseason acquisition so far seems to be the waiver claim of Brent Rooker from the Kansas City Royals. Rooker has posted a 205 wRC+ in 72 plate appearances so far, hitting seven home runs.

Position Players

Here are the preseason projections for A’s hitters, per Fangraphs.

Clearly, a few of the players on the current roster were not expected to have any impact on the 2023 team, with projections listing three of the current bench players with less than 80 plate appearances. Rooker in particular has outperformed his projections, already matching his projected HR total. The long story short is that the A’s lineup was not ever expected to be good, and with two starters in Ramon Laureano and Seth Brown currently on the IL, the Reds are catching them at an even better time.

The A’s offense ranks 20th in the Majors this year with a 95 wRC+, though five of the hitters currently on the roster have a wRC+ below 75, and Ruiz is below average as well at a 95 wRC+. Still, the offensive performance thus far is a nice improvement on the 29th-ranked 84 wRC+ they posted last season.


Here are the A’s pitching stats through Thursday.

It’s clear pitching has been the biggest struggle for the 2023 A’s, especially when it comes to walks. The entire bullpen except for Sam Moll and Domingo Acevedo have walked at least 10% of batters faced, and their strikeout rates are far too low to make up for any downfalls. The best Oakland pitcher has been rookie Mason Miller, who has impressed in his first shot at the Majors despite limited professional experience. The Reds will avoid facing Miller in this series, so it should be a good chance to get the bats going.

Oakland pitchers rank dead last with an 8.01 ERA this year, more than two full runs worse than the next worst. FIP and xFIP each have them at least one full run worse than the next worst team. While they ranked in the bottom third of the Majors in each of these categories in 2022, it’s clear they’ve taken a step backwards.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday: Luis Cessa against TBD

Saturday: Hunter Greene against Kyle Muller

Sunday: Nick Lodolo against Ken Waldichuk


This weekend is a big opportunity for the Reds to get back on track against a struggling team. If they can take advantage and come out of the series with a sweep, and a six game winning streak, it could provide some much-needed momentum. At worst, the Reds are likely looking for a series victory to help get them back on track.

Featured Image: Twitter

Kyle Berger

Kyle Berger is a lifelong Reds fan who has lived in the Cincinnati area for his entire life. Kyle has always been interested in the analytics side of baseball, and recently graduated from Miami University with a degree in Business Analytics. You can follow him on Twitter @KB_48, where most of his Tweets are about the Reds or baseball in general.