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Oakland A’s II: Padding The Lead

Posted By Cliff Corcoran On July 23, 2009 @ 4:55 pm In Cliff Corcoran,Game Thread,Series Preview | Comments Disabled

The O’s could hit a little, but not pitch. The Yankees swept them. The A’s, who have a nearly identical record, can pitch a little, but not hit. The Yankees welcome them to the Bronx tonight for a four-game set that has the Bomber faithful salivating at the thought of their team extending their perfect 6-0 second-half record and building on their two-game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East and game-and-a-half lead over the red-hot Angles for the best record in the league.

The A’s arrive with the third weakest offense in the American League, and one which just lost ex-Yank Jason Giambi to the disabled list via a strained hamstring. Not that Giambi was hitting (.193/.332/.364 on the season), but he was tied for second on the team in homers with 11 and would have had fun trying to lift balls into that jet stream to right field (you just know J-Bombs is miserable over missing these games). Matt Holliday is doing what everyone expected he’d do, hit like his career road split, which is still good enough to make him the A’s best bat. His closest rival is replacement third baseman Adam Kennedy, who was released by the Cardinals in February, dumped on the A’s by the Rays after spring training, and spent April in the minors.

As for the A’s pitching, it’s typically park influenced. The A’s staff has a 3.83 ERA at home, but a 4.75 mark on the road. Accordingly, the A’s are a .391 team outside of Oakland. The A’s rotation currently consists of three lefties and four rookies, but the most effective left-handed rookie starter they’ve had this season, stirrup socked fashion plate Josh Outman, has been lost to Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees will face Brett Anderson, the most heralded of the rookie lefties, tomorrow. Anderson gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings in the Yankees 16-inning win over the A’s in April, but has turned it on of late and enters tomorrow’s contest with an active streak of 21 scoreless innings and a 0.34 ERA and 0.68 WHIP over his last four starts. Saturday brings rookie lefty Gio Gonzalez, part of Oakland’s return for Nick Swisher. Gonzalez is Outman’s replacment and his four major league starts this season have been evenly split between decent and disaster, his last seeing him cough up 11 runs on on ten hits, including four homers, in just 2 2/3 innings against the Twins. Sunday brings non-rookie lefty Dallas Braden, who is the ripe-old age of 25. Braden has been the A’s most consistent pitcher having delivered quality starts in 14 of his 20 starts and maintaining his 3.40 ERA both at home and on the road. He’ll face Sergio Mitre.

Tonight, the Yankees will face one of the A’s two rookie right-handers in 22-year-old Vin Mazzaro, a Hackensack, New Jersey native and graduate of Rutherford High School who relies on a hard, heavy, mid-90s sinker. Mazzaro joined the rotation in June and got off to a fine start with four quality starts, but things have gone downhill from there, bottoming out with the eight runs he allowed in three innnings against the Angels his last time out. The A’s have lost Mazzaro’s last seven starts, with Vinnie taking the loss in six of them. In fact, the A’s haven’t won a game in which Mazzaro has given up a run all year (Mazzaro’s first two starts, both wins, saw him pitch 13 2/3 scoreless innings).

Maz has his work cut out for him tonight as he’s facing not just the major league’s best offense in a hitting-friendly environment, but CC Sabathia coming off seven shutout innings against the AL Central-leading Tigers his last time out. CC wasn’t as good as his numbers in that last start, however, as he walked three, hit a batter, threw 51 pitches in the first two innings, and had just two 1-2-3 innings. CC who started against Anderson in that 16-inning monster back in April and had one of his worst starts of the year, allowing seven runs in 6 2/3 innings while walking five. He’s come a long way since those early struggles, however, and will be looking to build some second-half momentum tonight.

Tonight’s lineup includes Hinske in right, Gardner in center, and Matsui at DH.

Oakland Athletics

2009 Record: 40-53 (.430)
2009 Pythagorean Record: 43-50 (.462)

Manager: Billy Beane
General Manager: Bob Geren

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (93/93)

Who’s Replaced Whom:

  • Daric Barton (minors) has replaced Jason Giambi (DL)
  • Adam Kennedy has replaced Eric Chavez (DL)
  • Scott Hairston has replaced Travis Buck (minors)
  • Gio Gonzalez and Vincent Mazzaro (both minors) have replaced Josh Outman (DL) and Dana Eveland (minors)
  • Craig Breslow and Edgar Gonzalez have replaced Sean Gallagher (minors) and Dan Giese (DL)
  • Andrew Bailey has replaced Brad Ziegler as the closer

25-man Roster:

1B – Daric Barton (L)
2B – Mark Elllis (R)
SS – Orlando Cabrera (R)
3B – Adam Kennedy (L)
C – Kurt Suzuki (R)
RF – Ryan Sweeney (L)
CF – Scott Hairston (R)
LF – Matt Holliday (R)
DH – Jack Cust (L)

Bench:

R – Nomar Garciaparra (IF)
R – Bobby Crosby (IF)
R – Rajai Davis (OF)
S – Landon Powell (C)

Rotation:

L – Brett Anderson
L – Gio Gonzalez
L – Dallas Braden
R – Trevor Cahill
R – Vin Mazzaro

Bullpen:

R – Andrew Bailey
R – Brad Ziegler
R – Russ Springer
R – Santiago Casilla
R – Michael Wuertz
R – Edgar Gonzalez
L – Craig Breslow

15-day DL: 1B – Jason Giambi (strained quad)
60-day DL: RHP – Justin Duchscherer (elbow surgery), RHP – Joey Devine (TJ), LHP – Josh Outman (TJ), RHP – Dan Giese (TJ), 3B – Eric Chavez (back surgery)

Typical Lineup:

L – Adam Kennedy (3B)
R – Orlando Cabrera (SS)
R – Scott Hairston (CF)
R – Matt Holliday (LF)
L – Jack Cust (DH)
R – Kurt Suzuki (C)
L – Daric Barton (1B)
L – Ryan Sweeney (CF)
R – Mark Ellis (2B)


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