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Open Thread: Game 18 - A's vs. Angels

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It bugs me when broadcasters, writers, fans, etc. say, "This is a big game" 25-30 times throughout the course of a season. They can't all be big, so I'm going to use restraint and say last night's game, which felt big because the team was in a funk, and the Angels were in town, and 2 games back feels icky, was not all that big, really. But within the context of the 17-game-season-so-far, it was the biggest game of the season, and the A's took it. Nice.

But...let's be honest, you cannot, should not, do not expect the Angels to issue 11 freebies (HBP included), turn two pop-ups into drop-ups, and make the 27th out by neglecting to do nothing. The A's will have to play better today than they played last night in order to win--because surely the Angels will play better today than they played last night.

Danny Haren, coming off a stellar effort against the Rangers, will try to keep the ball in the park today by keeping it away from Milton Bradley's glove. On the mound for the Angels is "Southern Loaiza," a high-priced free agent pitcher with a history of inconsistency, who is sporting an 0-2 record. This one goes by "Jeff Weaver".

Today's "fun fact": Weaver's career splits against left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters are dramatic: lefties hit .288 with a HR/6.9 IP, while righties hit .249 with a HR/12.4 IP.

The starting lineups:

Figgins
Cabrera
Guerrero
Anderson
Salmon
Erstad
Kotchman
Molina
Kennedy

Ellis
Swisher
Kotsay
Chavez
Bradley
Payton
Scutaro
Kendall
Johnson