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Open Thread: Game 160 - A's at Land Of Big Mouse

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As you watch a blend of A's starters and reserves--the former tuning up for games that will matter soon and the latter enjoying a rare chance to swing the lumber--you'll be humming along until right around the time that one starter (Blanton) relieves another (Loaiza). And that's when it will truly feel like March 29th, not September 29th. Such is the purgatory that exists between a pennant race and the playoffs. The Angels are playing for pride, while the A's are "just getting their work in".

In the playoffs, you tend to see starters like John Lackey and Ervin Santana more than you tend to see starters like Hayden Penn and Joel Pineiro, so it might be wise for the A's to prove they can hit at least one of them, at least once. Today's "fun fact" is not so fun if you bleed green and gold: Combined, this season, Lackey and Santana have pitched 57.1 innings against the A's, allowing all of 32 hits and a 2.04 ERA. Santana takes the mound tonight against Esteban Loaiza, in ELo's final tuneup for what will likely be a start in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Here are the lineups--chances are you won't mistake the A's third-baseman tonight for the four-time gold-glover:

Kendall
Kotsay
Bradley
Thomas
Swisher
Payton
Melhuse (3B)
Jimenez
Perez

Izturis
Cabrera
Salmon
Anderson
Kendrick
Kennedy
Figgins
Mathis
Murphy