Okay, Oakland. Fans, players, coaches, grounds crew. Let's pull it together. The A's need us...and a great pitching performance...and some offense...and a win today. We need to see something from Blanton, who has been less-than-great so far this year. If it means anything, Joe has been very tough against the Royals in the past. Can that continue today?
As far as injuries go:
According to early reports, Ellis has a broken thumb and will be DL'd. Lovely. Well, someone has to say it; at least it wasn't Chavez. Chavvy's in the lineup today, but let's continue to be honest; the game probably will be decided by Joe Blanton. If he can pitch well, and well into the later innings, I'd give the A's a good chance to win. If he gets knocked around, I think the Royals will complete the sweep.
The Royals are throwing Scott Elarton today. Obviously he hasn't won a lot of games, but his ERA is almost a run and a half lower than Blanton's, so mock at your own risk.
And if you can all pretend you're on a bus for a second, I'll open the thread with this caveat: Everybody--including people who don't watch baseball and people in countries who have never heard of baseball--knows that the A's are struggling. We don't need posts in the game threads about how the A's suck. Obviously, they suck. They're trying to avoid a sweep by a team that probably won't win fifty games all year. Half of the pitching staff is injured, and the other half can't remember how to pitch with any effectiveness (save Barry Zito). The Oakland DL is going to start requiring reservations, and the only real semblance of consistent offense can be summed up in two words: Swisher, Nick. Am I leaving anything out?
That being said, like it or not (and believe me, there's not been much to like the last couple of weeks), this is our team; our beloved Athletics, flaws and all. If you're sticking around AN, root for the A's, dammit. Real fans are not made when everything is going right; when the team is firing on all cylinders, and everyone is performing above their abilities. Real fans are made when their team is trying hard and failing, hurt and broken, still figuring out its place in the ever-changing game of baseball. Real fans show up game after game, night after night, loss after miserable loss, because although we're sure playing like it right now, we are not the Royals. We have a light at the end of the--admittedly very dark--tunnel. We have the personnel to have a successful season, and the players to make it a special year. 162 games are played for a reason, and like much of life, things can turn on a dime. We've said everything there is to say about this team right now, and if you want to give up, there are 29 other teams doing better than the A's right now for you to root for. But for most of the people on this site; and the AN community that I consider a family, we can do nothing else right now but root, and root hard, for the Oakland Athletics. So do.
Here's your starting lineups:
I give it two thumbs up. No, really. I love this lineup, as much as I can like anything right now. It's the one I would have picked.
All together now: LET'S GO OAK-LAND!