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Open Thread: Game 70 - A's at Arizona

In the first of two big tests, the A's go up against Brandon Webb (11-2, 2.73 ERA), throwing their own sub-3.00 ERA man in Justin Duchscherer (6-4, 2.20 ERA). Tomorrow the A's get Danny Haren, and I think the A's would have to be satisfied just to split the first two games of the series.

In general, I am seldom in favor of bunting with just a runner at first and nobody out, but tonight there are specific reasons why the A's might want to be more open to the sac bunt as opportunities (hopefully) arise. Neither offense is robust to begin with and if both pitchers are on, there is the real likelihood of a game in which runs are at a premium and each single run could make the difference. Furthermore, Webb is a sinkerballer and the DP will always loom large. If I were Oakland, I would strongly consider bunting with, in approximate descending order, Suzuki, Crosby, Barton, R. Sweeney, and Ellis. And this is especially true should the A's get the first two runners on in an inning, because I want the inevitable grounder to SS or 2B to score a run (second and third, one out), not break the back of a rally.

Today's "fun fact": One year ago tomorrow, the A's had a record of 37-31, almost identical to their current record of 38-31. However, at this time last year Oakland was about to embark upon a road trip (vs. the Mets, Indians, and Yankees) that would start 1-7 as Oakland would go 39-55 to finish the season.

Tonight's starting lineups:

Ellis - 2B
R. Sweeney - RF
Cust - LF
Chavez - 3B
Crosby - SS
Gonzalez - CF
Suzuki - C
Barton - 1B
Duchscherer - P

Young - CF
Drew - SS
Hudson - 2B
Jackson - LF
Tracy - 1B
Reynolds - 3B
J. Upton - RF
Snyder - C
Webb - P