Good moooooooooooooorning Athletics Nation! It's time for some AM baseball.
The A's made short work of the Fake Yankees yesterday (c'mon, that's not a real New York Yankees lineup), as A.J. Griffin shut down a group of hitters who would have been fairly intimidating in 2005. With C.C. Sabathia out of the way, Oakland faces Phil Hughes, who is off to a pretty good start this year (8.3 K/9, 5.00 K:BB) if you don't count home runs (5 in 27 innings). Hughes just shut down the Rays and Jays in his last two starts, but it turns out that neither of those feats are very impressive in 2013. In Hughes' only start against Oakland last year, he posted a quality start (7.2 innings, 2 runs) in a July game which the A's won 2-1.
Oakland counters with Bartolo Colon, and the A's are yet to lose a game with Big Bart on the mound. He got a bit roughed up in his last start against the Orioles, but he's still sporting a ridiculous 20:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 32 innings this year. Colon faced the Yankees twice last year, failing to post a quality start either time, but this will be a very different lineup than the one he faced in 2012. To illustrate my point:
|Athletics (B. Colon - R) @ Yankees (P. Hughes - R)|
That lineup looks promising until you get to the #3 spot. Ichirold is hitting 5th. The #6 hitter (Nelson) has played in parts of four seasons for Colorado (2010-2013) and both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs agree that he's been below replacement level in each individual season (for a WAR total of -2.2 and -1.7 in 212 games, respectively). Chris Stewart has a 64 OPS+ for his career.
Meanwhile, Oakland gives Lowrie a half-day off as the DH, and Adam Rosales keeps his hot bat in the lineup.
Let's Go Oakland!