The next two games will provide a new challenge for an Oakland team looking like they need one. The A's will see Tigers' ace, and former Oakland farmhand, Jeremy Bonderman today, followed tomorrow by Twins ace, and reigning league ace, Johan Santana.
In today's series finale, which features Mark Kotsay's return to the lineup, Kirk Saarloos goes for the A's. Usually, the key to a pitcher's success starts with throwing strikes. Today, the key for Saarloos might be not to throw too many strikes. The Tigers are an aggressive and potent, but free-swinging, team that will mash strikes and chase balls. If Saarloos throws his disappearing sinker down around the ankles, the Tigers might play pepper with the A's infielders for 6 innings. But if Saarloos is in the strike zone too much, it could be a long day for the A's and a short one for Los Kirk.
The starting lineups: