Tonight is the matchup that can best be billed as "marquee," with Barry Zito taking the mound against John Lackey. Last time Lackey saw the A's, Jason Kendall was "sticking that f***ing thing out there," and last time Zito saw the mound, he pitched well but the A's got caught in Brandon's Webb and the A's lefty got dinged with a tough loss. Tonight, Zito will try to avoid losing three consecutive starts since his first three starts of 2005, as the A's try to guarantee no worse than a split in the series.
The games right before the All-Star are always interesting, as starting pitchers sometimes become available for short relief. Don't rule out seeing Bartolo Colon at some point. Kirk Saarloos should certainly be available over the weekend, and Esteban Loaiza ought to be available on Sunday as an extra arm. Depending on how long he goes tonight, Zito as Sunday's Super-LOOGY is not even out of the question. With this in mind, Ken Macha might use his "go-to relievers" more freely, perhaps squeezing two innings out of Calero or Street to grab a game that's there for the taking.
Tonight's starting lineups: