GameThread #125: A's vs. Mariners

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray makes his third career start in game 2 of 3 vs. the M's.

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Note from Alex Hall re: the AN Meetup: "If you are going to AN Day on Sept 8 and want to get in on our discounted group tickets, then follow this link and RSVP with Alex Hall TODAY; the tickets need to be purchased this week and if he hasn't received your payment in the next couple of days, then you'll be on your own for tickets (all are still welcome at the pre-game tailgate, though)." (link: http://www.athleticsnation.com/2013/8/13/4619096/athletics-nation-meetup-sunday-sept-8-vs-houston)

Can you say dogfight? The A's and the Rangers are separated by a mere half game atop the AL West, and this race has the makings of one that will go down to the wire, just like last year. With the Rangers facing the lowly Astros, the A's will have to keep the pressure on by playing the Mariners tough.

The A's send the tantalizing rookie Sonny "Oxymoron" (a.k.a. "Tha Ox" a.k.a. "1.00 ERA beeyatch") Gray to the mound vs. Joe "whatever the opposite of tantalizing is" Saunders. As if we A's fans haven't seen him enough already. Saunders has beaten the A's in two out of three starts (yes, this will be his fourth start against the A's THIS SEASON) and is 15-6 in 23 career games vs. Oakland. After seeing Aaron Harang shut them down last night, I'm not expecting much from the A's offense against a certified A's killer. Prove me wrong, boys.

Somewhat mitigating the typical A's - M's yawn factor is our chance to see Tha Ox starting in the pitcher-friendly confines against a punchless Mariners team in the midst of a pennant race. He is coming off an 8-inning, no earned run performance against a similarly weak Houston Astros lineup. No pressure or anything, but could we perhaps get to watch two A's shutouts in a row? Seeing the Mariners' lineup yesterday reminded me a lot of the years when Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Kouzmanoff were middle of the order hitters for the A's. Somehow Dustin Ackley is still starting for that team.

Side note: Sitting by the M's bullpen yesterday I found out that they have Danny Farquhar. He's apparently the closer? If they're interested in other A's trash I advocate sending them Hiro Nakajima for Kendrys Morales (with the hope that Mike Gallego will tell him to slide if he's playing for our team).

Joe Saunders is far better than Aaron Harang, but who knows, baseball is weird and we might get some more offense today. Here's hoping for that because the alternat....zzzzzz.

Here are the lineups:

Looks like Melvin is favoring Sogard vs. lefties for defense (with Lowrie at DH) rather than Moss vs. lefties and Freiman at DH. Clearly the Callaspo/Sogard duo is an attempt to marginally improve defense up the middle vs. LHP.

Let's (Yawn) Go Oakland or whatever.

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