Game Thread #58: A's at Yankees

Tom Szczerbowski

The A's try to keep their momentum after an off day and a cross-country flight. The nine-game roadtrip kicks off at 4:05pm Pacific from the Bronx.

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UPDATE: The start of the game has been delayed due to rain, but it appears that play will begin at 5:15.

***

As much as the constant media hype surrounding the Yankees is ridiculous and deservedly criticized, there's just something about playing in the Bronx that makes games more important than they objectively should be. Having already dropped three-game sets in Boston and Toronto, the A's are on the hunt for their first series victory of the year at an AL East ballpark, and even though the Yankees are 29-27, this series is big.

Scott Kazmir gets the nod in Game 1 tonight, going up against the Japanese righty Hiroki Kuroda. Like most pitchers in the Bronx Bombers' rotation not named Tanaka, Kuroda has seen substantial struggles this year, and currently sits on a 4-3 record and 4.57 ERA. Kazmir has been just the opposite, carrying a 6-2 record and a 2.36 ERA into tonight's contest.

Kazmir turned in one of the best starts of his career in his last outing, a complete-game, one-run gem on Wednesday night. He was credited with the win, but barely — until the 9th inning, it seemed that his efforts would come in vain. Josh Donaldson, with a little help from his teammates, saved the day with a three-run, walk-off home run to end it, leaving Kazmir with a line of 9 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, and 8 SO.

Bob Melvin, as usual, has the lineup stacked with lefties against the right-handed Kuroda. Josh Reddick was placed on the DL today after hyperextending his knee on Saturday evening, so Craig Gentry will man right field. Eric Sogard, who showed major signs of pulling out of his season-long slump on Sunday, will play second base, while Brandon Moss will DH and hit cleanup, John Jaso will catch and bat second, and Derek Norris will sit, available as a late-inning pinch hitter or defensive replacement.

Scott Sizemore, the former Athletic who lost back-to-back seasons at the hands of a cruelly recurrent knee injury, has been called up to the Majors and is in the Yankees lineup — good to see him back in action, though hopefully he doesn't do anything to cost his old team a win.

Lineups, on what should be a warm and potentially rainy night in New York:

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S NEW YORK YANKEES
Coco Crisp - CF Brett Gardner - LF
John Jaso - C Derek Jeter - DH
Josh Donaldson - 3B Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Brandon Moss - DH Mark Teixeira - 1B
Yoenis Cespedes - LF Y. Solarte - 2B
Jed Lowrie - SS Alfonso Soriano - RF
A. Callaspo - 1B Scott Sizemore - 3B
Craig Gentry - RF J. Murphy - C
Eric Sogard - 2B Brendan Ryan - SS
Scott Kazmir - LHP Hiroki Kuroda - RHP
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