Welcome to another edition of A's baseball! The A's lost a hard-fought series against the Rangers last week, with the extra inning backbreaker in Game 2 proving decisive. After that, AN collectively demanded that heads roll. Billy Beane happily obliged, cutting game 2 loser Chris Resop (2 HRs in the 10th inning) and Daric "Zombie" Barton. They were ably replaced by Hideki Okajima and Chris Young. A pretty substantial upgrade by anyone's measure.
The A's outfield looks much better than it did in that series, with Coco Crisp and Chris Young back in action. Plus, Yoenis Cespedes seems to be finding his stroke again. Hopefully he will draw a walk from the inexperienced Josh Lindblom. I expect him to be pitched carefully given that the Arlington winds in the Rangers-Tigers series were carrying flyballs all the way to Dallas. Eric Sogard also has picked up his production with the bat, going 4-7 with 3 doubles in his last 3 games. He's coming to the site of one of his four MLB home runs so perhaps he can get lucky.
The Rangers are hitting the cover off the ball but with Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando on the disabled list, their starting pitching is suspect. Lindblom has spent his two-year MLB career as a reliever in the National League and has just been called up from AAA to start tonight. From Evan Grant at the Dallas Morning News:
Rangers RHP Josh Lindblom (first MLB start of 2013) has transitioned well from relief work to the rotation while at Triple-A Round Rock. After a poor spring that saw him lose a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen, Lindblom has been able to get the ball down in the strike zone. The results: a 4-0 record and 2.08 ERA for the Express. He held Triple-A hitters to a .173 average. If he gets the ball up, watch out for homers. He allowed 13 in 71 major league innings in 2012.
Bartolo Colon has also been prone to the longball recently, giving up 5 homers in his last three starts. The key to his start may be going to his secondary pitches slightly more often, and of course, keeping the ball down.
I expect both starters will have a tough time with two solid lineups and perfect hitting conditions. But I'll take my chances with the fat, jolly veteran over the youngster up from AAA making his first big league start.
The biggest news, however, is that certified A's killer Ian Kinsler is injured, paving the way for mega-prospect Jurickson Profar to start at 2B, batting 9th. Lots of fans around baseball will likely be tuning into Profar's first start in 2013.
Here are the lineups. Time for revenge!
|5:05pm Athletics (B. Colon - R) @ Rangers (J. Lindblom - R)|