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Open Thread: Game 25 - A's @ Mariners

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So I was all ready to spend a nice Saturday afternoon listening to the A's on the radio whilst sipping on a pina colada outside on a lounge chair basking in the 90+ degree Southern California sunlight. Instead, I fired up the ol' computer this morning and came to the realization that, inexplicably, today's game is actually tonight's game...beginning at the thoroughly inconvenient and non-sunbathing-conducive time of 6:05pm. Why not just make it 7:05pm, Seattle, so I can dinner BEFORE listening to the game? I'm flabbergasted...guess I'll just turn to the Kobe Bryant-Denver Nuggets trash-talk soap opera to keep me going this afternoon...

Taking the hill for this evening's twilight especial are two physical specimens that have had more hip problems in the past 10 months than both your crazy aunt and senile second cousin combined. While Duchscherer addressed his hip issues late last season after undergoing hip-correction surgery, he nevertheless returns from the DL tonight a lingering health question mark after missing his last two turns in the rotation with biceps issues. Erik Bedard of the M's, in contrast, seems to be just beginning his hip odyssey as he returns from his own DL-stint which began at the beginning of this month.

Duchscherer will be on a strict pitch limit (75-80 total) for tonight's game, but he hopes to get through six strong innings nevertheless, which is certainly possible if he is as efficient as he was in his first and only start of the season April 4th against the Indians, when he went 5 innings on 72 pitches. Bedard will also be on a pitch limit in his first start back from the DL. Bedard, as a strikeout specialist, might have a tough time being as efficient as Duchsceherer with his pitch limit.

Thus, look for the A's to be highly selective early in the game against Erik. While A's hitters have historically found it very difficult to make solid contact off of him (whiffing 37% of the time against him last season) let alone get actual hits off of him (mustering a meager .203 batting-average-against him in the past few years) Bedard's likely to be a bit rusty and wild, since he's already walked 8 in 11 innings so far this season. So hopefully the A's top of the lineup can just take their counts deep, wear a rusty Bedard out and get to the bullpen quickly.

Super Lineup in the house!

Suzuki - C

Ellis - 2B

M Sweeney - 1B

Big Hurt - DH

Brown - RF

BoCroz - SS

Denorfia - LF

Murphy - 3B

Davis - CF

MARINERS

Ichiro - CF

Lopez - 2B

Ibanez - LF

Beltre - 3B

Norton - DH

Sexson - 1B

Wilkerson - RF

Burke - C

Betancourt - SS