Game Thread #6: A's at Astros

Just come a liiiiiittle bit closer, Altuve. No one's going to eat you whole. - USA TODAY Sports

Bartolo Colon returns to feast on Houston Astros hitters.

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It's the weirdest thing. After spending months waiting for the baseball season to start, after enduring a 5-week Spring Training, all I could think about was the return of regular season baseball. Now that it's here, I've only actually watched 2 of the 5 games that Oakland has played so far. I work events Tuesday and Wednesday nights every week (yes, that is a euphemism for being a stripper), and I went to the First Friday festival in Oakland yesterday (though I did watch through the 4th inning - nothing cool happened in the 5th, right?). So, through it all, I've only really seen the Opening Night game on Monday, and the game I went to on Thursday afternoon. Worst A's fan ever.

I will repent today alongside my fellow disgraced brother, Bartolo Colon. (Note: We are disgraced for entirely different reasons.) In his final minor-league tune-up before his big start against Detroit on Friday, Colon will face an Astros lineup which features Ronny Cedeno hitting 2nd. Cedeno has a career OPS+ of 71 in 2500 plate appearances, which is really all that you need to know about this lineup. Teasing the Astros almost isn't fun anymore. Almost.

Houston will send Bud Norris to the mound. Norris is a big boy, but he's still about an Altuve short of a full Colon. Norris can strike out a batter per inning, but he also walks batters at an above-average rate and gives up a lot of homers. Let's see what kind of Athletics lineup Norris will be facing:

Oh good, none of Oakland's bad players are in there. Wait, what's that? They don't have any bad players this year? Oh man, 2013 is going to fun. And so is this game, because the A's are going to absolutely tee off against Norris.

I really like Theth Thmith hitting 5th in this lineup. If you believe in lineup protection, then he's not the most fearsome hitter to put behind Cespedes, but if you like high-OBP guys in front of power hitters, then he's a great guy to set the table for Brandon Moss. Derek Norris also gets a rare start against a right-hander, which means that we will probably have at least two Norris vs Norris match-ups tonight.

Prediction: A's win 9-4, with Colon throwing 6 innings and allowing 3 runs, including a homer to Carlos Pena. Moss homers in his return to the lineup. and Sogard gets his first extra-base hit.

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