[EDITOR'S NOTE]: The start of tonight's game is being delayed by rain. Expected time for first-pitch is around 5:35PDT.
Rich Harden clone-except-he's-left-handed-and-throws-10MPH-slower Joe Kennedy takes the mound tonight against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. In a 4-games series, I think you aim to take 2 out of the first 3 so you can go for a series win having guaranteed no worse than a split. The A's now have two days to accomplish phase one of Operation Series Win. A series win, if the A's could pull it off, would go a long way to heal the wounds recently inflicted by the Angels, Yankees, Mariners, and Indians.
While the Red Sox match up well with the A's in almost every way, Oakland has a big edge in one area: the bullpen. The A's bullpen has an ERA a full 2.00 lower than that of the Red Sox, so any time a game is decided after both starters have left, the advantage should switch over to the A's. That's one way the A's can hope to win with their "6th starter" on the mound tonight: Wakefield runs hot and cold, and if his knuckler is not on then even if Kennedy is fallible, or can't go deep into the game, the A's can hope for a game that is decided by the bullpens.
Today's "fun fact": Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, John Olerud, and Tony Graffanino are a combined 6/55 lifetime against Kennedy, while Manny Ramirez and Kevin Millar are a combined 15/33.
Tonight's starting lineups: