Game Thread #17: A's vs. Astros

Sorry tarp. - Thearon W. Henderson

It's Josh Donaldson Diorama Bobblehead Day as the A's try to win two in a row against the Astros in their first visit to the Coliseum.

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Whenever one team cites an unwritten rule that is designed to limit the offensive choices of the other team that has the lead, the trailing team has conceded the game. When a manager comes out and yells at opposing players citing an unwritten rule, I'd like to think that's a concession of the series.

As Jed Lowrie said to reporters after the game,

I don't know what it shows but not a lot of confidence in his own team, point blank. I don't want to make a big deal of it, but it's the first inning and every run is important.

Or as Athletics Nation commenter vacafan put it,

7-0 in the first inning has now become "game over?" Really?! I tell you what, Bo, you promise to not try and score any runs for the rest of the game, and we won't either.

To characterize Astros manager Bo Porter's behavior last night I used the word "chippy," which one dictionary defines as "resentful or oversensitive about being perceived as inferior." Of course, SBNation has an entire category of the GIF Oracle devoted to the Astros, so I can see where he's coming from.

But heck, they're trying their best! They could even win seventy games this year!

Pre-Game Notes

Today's game features a Josh Donaldson diorama bobblehead giveaway. The item depicts Donaldson after his famous "tarp catch" last season. Donaldson is standing on the tarp preparing to throw the ball back into the infielder, and the diorama portion of the bobblehead displays the fans behind him cheering.

Today's ceremonial first pitch will be tossed by Marcos Garcia, the brother of the late Diego Garcia. Diego, 25, of Pinole, was a life-long A's fan and killed by a suspected drunk driver while Diego went for a jog on the evening of February 6.

Kate Longworth and Casey Pratt of CSN California ran a story on last night's A's Pregame telling Diego's story with interviews of his family as well as Sean Doolittle, who worked behind the scenes to ensure that Diego and his family were honored with today's first pitch.

Today's Lineups

HOUSTON ASTROS OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Jose Altuve - 2B Craig Gentry - CF
Dexter Fowler - CF Jed Lowrie - SS
Jesus Guzman - 1B Josh Donaldson - 3B
George Springer - RF Yoenis Cespedes - LF
Chris Carter - DH Derek Norris - C
Matt Dominguez - 3B Alberto Callaspo - DH
L.J. Hoes - LF Josh Reddick - RF
Carlos Corporan - C Nick Punto - 2B
Jonathan Villar - SS Daric Barton - 1B
Brett Oberholtzer - LHP Scott Kazmir - LHP
Starters: Oberholtzer, HOU vs. Kazmir, OAK

Brett Oberholtzer (0-3, 3.50) has been the victim of terrible run support in his three losses. In his last start against the Texas Rangers at the Arlington Bandbox, he took the loss giving up just one run in seven innings, throwing only eighty-nine pitches.

In 2013, he had a 2.76 ERA in 71.2 innings, with an xFIP of 4.27, a K/9 of 5.65, and a BB/9 of 1.63.

Scott Kazmir, OAK (2-0, 1.40) has been fantastic in his three starts for Oakland. In his last start, however, he left after only eighty-two pitches and six innings after his velocity dipped and he began to feel slight triceps tightness. Beyond the Box Score looks at the importance of the triceps brachii in relation to Kazmir's injury history.

Bullpen Watch

Paul Clemens managed to keep the Astros relatively fresh for today, but he's probably not available. If the A's can knock Oberholtzer out early, it could seriously impact the Astros for the Easter Sunday finale.

Houston Astros
Pitcher IP ERA Yesterday Recent Use
Chad Qualls 4.2 3.86 Not used Last used April 11
Josh Fields 7.0 2.57 20 pitches 3 of last 4 days
Matt Albers 8.0 1.13 20 pitches 2 of last 3 days
Anthony Bass 8.1 3.24 Not used Last used April 17
Jerome Williams 9.0 8.00 Not used Last used April 16
Paul Clemens 7.1 3.68 76 pitches 31 pitches Wednesday, started 4/8 for OKC
Raul Valdes 0.2 13.50 27 pitches 2 of last 3 days, including 4/16 for OKC
Oakland Athletics
Pitcher IP ERA Yesterday Recent Use
Sean Doolittle 8.2 3.12 Not used Last used April 15
Luke Gregerson 9.2 1.86 Not used Last used April 16
Ryan Cook 4.1 2.08 20 pitches 3 of last 4 days
Jim Johnson 8.1 7.56 Not used Last used April 15
Dan Otero 8.0 1.13 Not used Last used April 16
Fernando Abad 7.1 0.00 24 pitches 2 of last 3 days
Drew Pomeranz 8.1 2.16 Not used 26 pitches on 4/16, 41 pitches on 4/15

TV/Radio

First Pitch - 1:05 pm

TV - CSN California (Channel numbers)

Radio - Oakland Athletics Radio Network (Flagship - 95.7 FM KGMZ)

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