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Open Thread: Game 128 - A's at Texas

"If you're gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle and a bullpen..." Yup, trips to Texas are always a bit unnerving, from the sudden-impact explosiveness of Young, Teixeira, Blalock, and Co., to the way the ball carries--or to be more specific, the direction it tends to get carried. It's a good time to have a complete game on Wednesday and an off-day Thursday, because a team's success in Arlington often correlates highly with the success of the bullpen.

The A's post-All Star Break series in Arlington have been significant the past two seasons. It was last July that the A's exceeded their wildest dreams by sweeping a 4-game series, a series most memorable for Jason Kendall's tag on Michael Young to end an 11-10 thriller. No, the A's did not go on to win the AL West, but their solid position mid-September was certainly much cemented by this series. In 2004, the Rangers dealt the A's a crushing blow, sweeping a 3-game series capped by a blown save by Octavio Dotel that ended with Jermaine Dye trying to make a game-saving catch and instead allowing the winning runs to score. The A's hung in there until the final weekend, but that series was both crippling and prescient, as the A's and their pitching ran out of gas down the stretch.

Tonight, the A's come into Texas in the best position of any of the past three seasons. Their closest competitor is 5.5 games behind them and the Rangers sit 7 games back. It's not really a "must-win" series for Texas; it's a "must-sweep" series or try to make up 6+ games with just 32 to play. Expect Buck Showalter to "pull out all the stops"--fortunately, for the A's, you need pitching to have stops to pull out.

The starting lineups for this matchup of Barry Zito vs. Edinson Volquez:


Hairston Jr.

NOTE: The game, listed on the schedule as a 5:05pm start, begins at 5:35pm. The management regrets any inconvenience it may have caused us to make this announcement.