162 games and six months worth of baseball all lead up to this. The A's go into an armpit of a baseball park to take on the Twins. The A's send Barry Zito who finished the season 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA to the mound to take on 2006 Cy Young winner (yes, I'm declaring it) Johan Santana and his 19-6 and a 2.77 ERA.
We all know the A's first round history, so I'm not going to rehash it, but hopefully this team is better equipped to deal with postseason baseball.
The A's send out this playoff lineup:
I don't like a couple of things about this lineup. First, to not have Bobby Kielty in there is a travesty. Kielty is one of two A's to actually have hits off of Santana this year. And Kotsay? Well, he had three strikeouts against Santana. I also don't like Macha deviating from the lefty-lineup he's used all year, which means Payton hitting behind Thomas, not Chavez. We'll see if either of these decisions cost him, but the A's need to have Kielty in there against lefties. It's just a fact.
The Twins send out this lineup against Zito:
Zito had a brilliant start against the Twins earlier this year in June when he went seven innings, giving up only four hits and striking out five. He did not allow a run in that game. Of course, that was at the Coliseum and the Twins are very comfortable hitting in the Dome. Strange things always happen there.
This could potentially be Zito's last start as an Oakland Athletic, so hopefully he goes out on a high note.
LET'S GO OAK-LAND!!!!!!!