06/28/08 6:05 PM PDT
|San Francisco Giants||Oakland Athletics|
|Fred Lewis - LF||Mark Ellis - 2B|
|Ray Durham - 2B||Kurt Suzuki - C|
|Randy Winn - RF||Jack Cust - DH|
|Bengie Molina - C||Bobby Crosby - SS|
|Aaron Rowand - CF||Carlos Gonzalez - RF|
|John Bowker - DH||Emil Brown - LF|
|Rich Aurilia - 1B||Jack Hannahan - 3B|
|Jose Castillo - 3B||Rajai Davis - CF|
|Omar Vizquel - SS||Daric Barton - 1B|
All signs point to tonight's penultimate interleague game being a low-scoring affair: we've got two excellent pitchers (the A's AL ERA leader Justin Duchscherer and the Giants' impressive Tim Lincecum), two poor-to-average offenses (with the A's missing two of their best hitters in Chavez and Sweeney, both of whom are expected to sit out the series), extremely limited exposure of each offense to each respective opposing pitcher, and cool and humid conditions prevailing for an evening game at the Coliseum. Heck, even if the sun were to peek out, that might make conditions worse for hitters, since it would exacerbate the twilight shadows thanks to the 6:05 start time.
That said, I'm actually quasi-confident about the prospects for the A's offense this evening. Yes, Lincecum is a bona fide ace, but he was very hittable his last time out (against the Royals), and he's not the prototypical never-faced-him-before slop-tossing AAAA journeyman against whom the A's usually just lay down and die. I think the key for the A's hitters will be to look to swing relatively early in the count against Lincecum -- to jump on the first, best hittable pitch he offers.
The key for Duchscherer, on the other hand ... will be to make sure that no one in the Commissioner's Office changes the schedule at the last minute to force the A's to face an actual Major League offense. (Yeah, Bochy, post that on your corkboard.)