Game Thread #96: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels

Thearon W. Henderson

BASEBALL!!!! BASEBALL!!!! BASEBALL!!!!!! It's BACK!

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Update: Cespedes was scratched from the lineup late tonight. We'll find out why soon, I imagine.

Wow, was that a long break. I guess it's all in perspective; the team that is red-hot, with walk-off pie wins spends the entire All-Star break jonesing for baseball (yours truly), while teams that have struggled seemingly can't wait for the break. Obviously, the A's were as good as it gets before the break, and as you no doubt know by now, the season is more than half over; this will be game #96.

The A's are in my neck of the woods this weekend, but rather than watch the game from the 5 freeway, I'm bringing all the live action to you right here tonight. You're welcome, and also, thank you.

This is the series that the A's need to win, and not in small part because the Angels flat-out need this series to really get back in the race. A.J. Griffin will take the mound for the A's first game back, fresh off his brilliant start in Boston. The Angels are going to be tough; the A's face Weaver tonight and Wilson tomorrow, so they will need to continue the top-of-their-game play that they exhibited against Boston before the break. The A's lead the Angels by 11 games in the West, and they would like to see their perennial rival even further back going into the home stretch of the season.

The A's are playing with a little more swagger these days, almost like they are 17 games above .500. In contrast, they were exactly at .500 during last year's break. The A's are hoping that Yoenis Cespedes can pick up some swagger of his own after being crowded the Home Run Derby champion last week, in a moment that still feels like a dream. If the A's can jump-start Cespedes and Reddick, this could be an epic second half.

But first, the A's need to beat Jered Weaver tonight and continue to put some distance between them and the rest of the AL West. A.J., are you ready? Oakland fans, are you ready? Let's play some second-half ball!

Here are your lineups:

LET'S GO OAK-LAND!

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