It's nice to be the team 4 games up, in that while this is an important series for the A's, it is a more important series for the Angels. That being said...This is an important series for the A's, who are going head to head with the only division rival whose starting rotation is Oakland's equal--and perhaps superior. If you want to know who's going to be there in the end, fighting for the division, look to see who has the starting pitching to sustain success over time. That policy will rarely fail you.
Tonight it's Esteban Loaiza against Kelvim Escobar, in a battle of starters whose performances have not always lived up to their stuff--but who can be a handful on the right (or wrong, as the case may be) day. Since the A's last saw LAA, with Lackey in a Kendall headlock, Orlando Cabrera--he of the 62 game "always get on base at least once" streak--is batting third. Meanwhile, the A's trot out a lineup noteworthy for two things: It is pretty close to the original plan (give or take a Bradley), and it actually makes sense. How `bout that?