"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Oakland A’s

When the Yankees visited Oakland in April, the A’s weren’t scoring very much, but neither were their opponents. Although the Athletics’ roster has been devastated by injuries, not much has really changed. The A’s have the stingiest pitching staff in the AL despite injuries to the top three men in their bullpen and would-be ace Rich Harden, who has been regulated to relief since being activated last week.

Meanwhile, the offense got Mark Kotsay and Dan Johnson back only to lose Milton Bradley and Mike Piazza, the former’s injury problems reaching the point that the A’s decided to designate him for assignment rather than deal with them. Jason Kendall is having a historically awful season (39 OPS+), but is still holding on to the starting catching job. Kotsay and former Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby have been awful (both hitting roughly .240/.290/.350), but Kotsay is still starting over rookie sensation Travis Buck. Eric Chavez is having his worst season since he was a 21-year-old rookie and his third disappointing season in a row, prompting our Toaster colleagues to doubt his commitment to his game. Mix in Shannon Stewart slugging .391 from a corner outfield position and Dan Johnson and Nick Swisher each slugging roughly .450 from first base and right field respectively and you’ve got a pretty tepid offense that’s relying way too much on 28-year-old rookie cleanup hitter Jack Cust. Indeed, the A’s have scored the second fewest runs per game in the AL thus far (though Ryan Armbrust points out that they’ve been better of late–not necessarily good, but better).

What’s changed is that when the A’s and Yankees last met, the two teams were utter opposites: the Yankees scored a ton of runs and gave up a ton of runs, while the A’s did neither. The A’s haven’t changed, but the Yankees have solved their pitching woes only to see their offense stumble. On the just completed road trip, including the eight innings of last night’s suspended game, the Yankees scored 3.22 runs per game and allowed 4.67. The latter number isn’t a far cry from their overall season average (4.57), but the former belies their fourth-place major league rank in runs scored per game. In essence, then, the Yankees will have to try to outpitch the A’s this weekend, which means they’ll likely be helping yet another stumbling team (the A’s are 3-9 in their last dozen games entering tonight) get back on stride.

Tonight Kei Igawa tries to outpitch Joe Kennedy. The good news is that Kennedy has walked more than he’s struck out this year and has a 7.71 ERA over his last three starts. Igawa, meanwhile, will look to build on his four Steve Austin innings from San Francisco.

Oakland Athletics

2007 Record: 40-38 (.513)
2007 Pythagorean Record: 43-35 (.551)

Manager: Bob Geren
General Manager: Billy Beane

Home Ballpark (2007 Park Factors): McAfee Coliseum (96/97)

Who’s Replacing Whom?

Mark Kotsay (DL) replaces Milton Bradley
Jack Cust replaces Mike Piazza (DL)
Dan Johnson (DL) replaces Todd Walker
Kurt Suzuki replaces Adam Melhuse
Lenny DiNardo replaces Rich Harden in the rotation
Santiago Casilla replaces Huston Street (DL)
Colby Lewis replaces Justin Duchscherer (DL)
Ron Flores replaces Kiko Calero (DL)
Dallas Braden replaces Jay Witasick
Ruddy Luggo replaces Bobby Kielty (DL)

25-man Roster:

1B – Dan Johnson (L)
2B – Mark Ellis (R)
SS – Bobby Crosby (R)
3B – Eric Chavez (L)
C – Jason Kendall (R)
RF – Nick Swisher (S)
CF – Mark Kotsay (L)
LF – Shannon Stewart (R)
DH – Jack Cust (L)


R – Marco Scutaro (IF)
L – Travis Buck (RF)
S – Kurt Suzuki (C)


R – Dan Haren
L – Lenny DiNardo
R – Joe Blanton
R – Chad Gaudin
L – Joe Kennedy


L – Alan Embree
R – Santiago Casilla
L – Jay Marshall
R – Rich Harden
R – Colby Lewis
L – Ron Flores
L – Dallas Braden
R – Ruddy Lugo

15-day DL: R – Mike Piazza (DH/C), L – Chris Snelling (OF), R – Huston Street, R – Justin Duchscherer, R – Kiko Calero, R – Connor Robertson
60-day DL: R – Esteban Loaiza, S – Bobby Kielty (OF), R – Chris Denorfia (OF)

Typical Lineup:

R – Shannon Stewart (LF)
L – Mark Kotsay (L)
S – Nick Swisher (1B)
L – Jack Cust (DH)
L – Eric Chavez (3B)
R – Mark Ellis (2B)
L – Dan Johnson (1B)
R – Bobby Crosby (SS)
R – Jason Kendall (C)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver