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Open Thread: Game 162 - A's at Angels

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Is it here already? Can this truly be the last game of the season? For six months, we've counted from one to one hundred and sixty-two, and through many twists, turns, and unexpected surprises (some good, some bad), we find ourselves here.

But unlike previous seasons, 2006 baseball does not end with today's game. In fact, today's game ushers in a new beginning; one that erases the past. The best part about October baseball is that no one quite knows what to expect; anything can happen, and usually does.

Taking the mound today will be Rich Harden, in his final tuneup of his short season. I've heard it mentioned that Harden should have skipped the game today and started Game #2 instead, but I feel that today's game is needed. I want Harden to have every opportunity to raise his comfort level on the mound, and it is quite possible that Game #3 might be just as pivotal as the one before. If all goes well today, I'd pen in Harden as my Game #3 starter, and I wouldn't give it a second thought.

Look for a pitch count of about 90 today, as our secret weapon hones his skills against a team that I am so very glad is not joining us in the playoffs.

Athletics:

Kendall
Kotsay
Bradley
Thomas
Chavez
Payton
Swisher
Scutaro
Ellis

Angels:

Izturis
Willits (CF)
Salmon (DH)
Kennedy
Quinlan (3B)
Morales (1B)
Pride (LF)
Mathis
Murphy (RF)