Infielders, look alive, because it's a battle of sinkerballers tonight as Kirk Saarloos takes the mound against Derek Lowe, with the A's seeking their 9th consecutive win. As I referenced in my earlier post, Lowe is tough to take deep--he has allowed just 5 HRs in 89 IP--but he has a slow leg kick that may allow the A's to run successfully if they are so inclined. Another way the A's might need to adjust their game is to be aggressive early in the count. Opposing hitters bat just .176 against Lowe after the count has reached 0-1, and have low BAAs on most counts. Perusing Lowe's stats, the only time hitters have had any real success is on the first pitch, where Lowe BAA is .395. So if the first pitch is a strike, take a whack. And if you make it first base, don't hang around too long. Should be interesting to see if the A's modify their approach tonight, and if so whether it brings them success.
Meanwhile, contrary to his reputation Saarloos has gone at least 6 innings in 3 consecutive starts, and in 4 of his last 5. The A's bullpen should be in good shape, with Gaudin and Witasick fresh, and Street finally coming off a day's rest.
Tonight's starting lineups feature the return of Andre Ethier to a place he never was, and have Adam Melhuse listed in the #3 hole--though I fully expect that Jermaine Dye will pinch hit...