Tonight, Rich Harden plays the role of a true "stopper," as he faces the rival Angels knowing that the A's have lost 7 of 9 and that more likely than not, the team's closer, and set-up man, are not available to pitch. John Lackey provides the opposing arm, sporting a 2-1 record with a 4.26 ERA, and having issued just one unintentional walk in 19 innings so far this year. Lackey is 6-1 career against the A's.
Oakland is no longer "waiting for Gaudin," as they recalled Chad Gaudin from AAA-Sacramento today to supplement their temporarily beleaguered bullpen. Bobby Kielty might want to invest in an Amtrak monthly pass, as he heads north to Blez country for the second time in as many weeks.
Remember in spring training, when we were jazzed about our team because we had Brad Halsey and Chad Gaudin in the bullpen, with Kiko Calero as our closer? As my doctor said about my last kidney stone, "this too shall pass..."
Today's "fun fact": Though he's batting 5th, Darin Erstad has the poorest career numbers against Harden (2/16), and though he's batting 9th, Adam Kennedy has the best career numbers against Harden (7/19).
Tonight's starting lineups: