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Open Thread: Game 19 - A's vs. Angels

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Living in Los Angeles certainly has its advantages. The weather, the beach, the outdoor activities during November, the convenience of wearing flip-flops to church...or to a bar, but one major disadvantage to the fun and the sun is the baseball commentator Rex Hudler. We can call him `Weed' for short. Kids, ask your parents.

From all I've heard of Hudler, he seems like a very nice guy; he has a special-needs child and is heavily involved in many different children's charities around the Southland. But the man absolutely does not understand anything about the game of baseball. Hearing him and Steve Physioc call a game is like listening to two drunken fraternity brothers trying to explain quantum physics. To a toddler.

Here's something I've learned from them this week. Did you know that the Moorpark Angels of Ventura County actually choose when to get hits? It's true. I was watching a game the other night where every one of their runs was scored with two outs. They flashed the obligatory `clutch hitting' statistic on the screen, talked about how the Angels led the league last year with 2-out hits with RISP, and Rex Hudler says something to the effect of, "That's how good these Angel hitters are; they know when get their hits to make `em count."

Without even entering the clutch hitting debate, can I please point out how ridiculous that statement really is? He really thinks that the Angels' hitters purposely wait for two outs and men on base to get a hit, meaning...what? They go up in every other at-bat not trying to get a hit because they want to `save' their hits for when it really counts?

Vlad: "Hey Scoscia, I know I just grounded out, but don't worry. There was no one on base, and I wasn't about to become a meaningless baserunner. You know I won't try to hit unless there are runners in scoring position...oh look!...Are there two outs?! Cool, NOW I can really focus on getting a hit!"

Give. Me. A. Break.

<throws soapbox>

Anyway, this afternoon, the A's try to take the first series of the year between the two division rivals. Taking the mound for the A's is Estaban Loaiza, coming off his best start of the year, where coincidentally, his pitching line almost equaled Rich Harden's worst start of the year. Loaiza showed definite signs of improvement in his last start, but I think he'll be helped if he stays away from Garret Anderson. Oh, and Vlad. Oh, and the other five members of the Angels who own him. Oh boy.

Facing off against Loaiza will be the Angels' Kelvim Escobar, who is off to a pretty good start, but similarly, the A's have hit him hard in the past.

Today's game is brought to you by the letters R-U-N-S, something the A's need to take the pressure off Loaiza and to jumpstart their admittedly terrible offense.

Starting Lineups:

Anaheim:

Figgins RF
Cabrera SS
Guerrero DH
Anderson LF
Erstad CF
Izturis 3B
Quinlan 1B
Molina C
Kennedy 2B

Oakland:

Kotsay CF
Swisher LF
Chavez 3B
Thomas DH
Bradley RF
Melhuse C
Ellis 2B
Johnson 1B
Perez SS