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Open Game Thread: Game 56 - A's vs. Red Sox

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The A's, off a big win over possibly the best pitcher in baseball, face the best team in baseball in the Boston Red Sox. Things don't get easier for our lovable muppets anytime soon.

Although the good news is that Danny Haren, fresh off winning his first Pitcher of the Month Award and getting a new 52-inch Sharp Aquos LCD for his accomplishment (I mean, do millionaires really need to get cars for winning MVPs at All Star games and huge HDTVs for winning monthly awards?), brings his 6-2 record and an AL-leading 1.62 ERA to take on the Red Sox and Julian Tavarez and his 3-4 record and a 5.40 ERA in the opener.

The Red Sox have been dominant so far this year and have a billion-game lead on the hated Yankees while the A's are trying, sometimes in futility, to keep pace with the Angels in the AL West.

The A's lineup looks like this tonight:

Stewart
Buck
Swisher
Johnson
Chavez
Crosby
Kotsay
Ellis
Kendall

I do like this lineup and I think it will be even more effective once Kotsay gets about a month under his belt and Piazza is back. Remember, Kotsay wound up not really having a spring training because of his back surgery and it will probably take him at least a couple of weeks to get the feel for MLB pitching again. It'll be even better if Fragile Milton Bradley can ever stop pulling something and Piazza can come back and offer some offense out of the catching position.

The Red Sox counter with the following lineup:

Pedroia
Cora
Ortiz
Ramirez
Youkilis
Drew
Crisp
Mirabelli
Hinske

As long as the Red Sox have Ramirez and Ortiz in their lineup, they will be a scary proposition for any opposition. And the Greek God of Walks is showing why Billy Beane was so active in pursuing him years ago. He's offering protection to those two. We'll see if the Golden Danny Boy can keep them down and continue his mastery of the mound.

LET'S GO A'S!!!!!!!!