The new-look A's (Joe Kennedy, Jay Witasick and Jay Payton - minus Eric Byrnes) and Rich Harden with a 5-4 record and a 2.53 ERA take on the Texas Rangers and Chan Ho Park with an 8-3 record and a 5.46 ERA.
It looks like Kenny "Assault and Battery" Rogers needed an extra day off from his All-Star beating from both the crowd and Andruw Jones. Nonetheless, this is a great matchup for the A's to test how far along they've really come. The Rangers have owned the A's over the last little while. The Rangers have won nine of the last 12 against Oakland and are 4-1 against the A's so far this season and swept the Athletics at home early in May. That signaled the A's descent.
Since then, the A's pitching has vastly improved and Bobby Crosby has returned to help spark the offense. But if the A's really want to get back into this thing, they need to climb the teams directly in front of them and that includes the Rangers. The Rangers have 147 home runs already, the third highest total EVER before the break. The A's, by contrast, have only 68.
The A's lineup against Ho Park is:
Payton doesn't make his debut tonight and the A's go with a lineup that's helped them be very successful over the past month and a half.
The Rangers counter with this lineup:
The A's real season starts tonight.
LET'S GO A'S!!!!!!!