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Open Thread: Game 130 - A's at Tampa Bay

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There are a handful of young pitchers who are just under the radar enough that they make my “wonder if the A’s could get them before anyone really notices how good they are?” short list. Shaun Marcum was one, Jeremy Guthrie another. A third is facing the A’s tonight: James Shields, owner of a plus-changeup and great command (154 Ks, 30 BB in 176.2 IP).

Shields got off to a great start (6-0, 3.04 ERA), then hit the skids, losing 6 of 8 decisions and hitting rock bottom with a 3.1 IP, 10 ER fiasco against the Yankees on July 22nd. Since then, Shields has been back in fine form, including quality starts in each of his four August efforts so far.

Speaking of hidden gems, lefty Lenny DiNardo (8-6, 3.13 ERA) gets the call for the A’s. Among lefties who have worked at least 100 IP, only Johan Santana and Erik Bedard have lower ERAs. Think about what the A’s had to give up in order to get Gaudin (#3 starter), DiNardo (#4 starter), and Cust (cleanup hitter). Not bad.

Tonight’s starting lineups:

DeVanon –CF
Scutaro – SS
Swisher – RF
Cust – LF
Piazza – DH
Johnson – 1B
Ellis – 2B
Hannahan – 3B
Bowen – C

Iwamura – 3B
Crawford – LF
Peña – 1B
Upton – CF
Young – RF
Harris – 2B
Gomes – DH
Navarro – C
Wilson - SS