The A's and Danny Haren with a 13-11 record and a 3.95 ERA take on the Twins and Francisco Liriano with a 12-3 record and a 2.19 ERA.
In sports, you never know what's going to happen. How else do you explain the Marlins winning the World Series or the Mighty Ducks going to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003? Yet from all accounts of the A's clubhouse after last night's game, the team is pretty deflated right now. And they have to now face a guy who is rapidly becoming the most talked about pitcher in the American League. The A's can beat Liriano, but they need to approach him with a dedicated A's gameplan. That is, get his pitch count up early. I'm guessing he won't be in for more than 80 pitches and the Twins shouldn't have the use of Joe Nathan today (not if they want to have his right arm in tact for the rest of the season).
Danny Haren remains a mystery. One day out he looks like he could go toe-to-toe with any pitcher in the world...the next time out he looks like John Halama. I love the fact that he goes right after hitters, but he needs that splitter to be working effectively if the A's are going to get anything out of this Minnesota trip.
The A's lineup looks like this today:
Here's a fast fact...the A's roster has 23 ABs against Liriano, and in those 23 ABs, they've struck out 10 times. At the same time, they also have a .400 OBP against him. So maybe they can somehow work the count and get to the pen early.
The Twinkies send out this lineup:
The Twins roster, on the other hand, has a .286 OBP against Danny Boy and the guy who has the most hits (Mauer - four) is on the bench today.
So perhaps the A's can rebound from a devastating loss last night against one of the best young pitchers the AL has seen in quite a while. If anything, this series reassured me that I want nothing...absolutely nothing to do with the Twins in October.
LET'S GO A'S!!!!!!!