In the span of exactly one week, the A's have gone from one out away of being 4 games out of the AL West and still very much relevant to the post-season picture, to doubling that deficit to 8 games and being swept up in a bad-luck death spiral that seems to have buried any hopes of contention going forward. Whether the recent trades are finally catching up to the team, the continued on-set of injuries is too-debilitating to weather or if the pitching staff is finally coming back down to Earth (I suspect a little of all three) the team seems to be playing behind the 8-ball.
For my money, I am shifting my focus from team-wide accomplishments to individual player performances and milestones. Will Jack Cust break the all-time single season strikeout mark? Will Ryan Sweeney finish the year batting over .300? Where will Huston Street get traded? Will the Duke finish the season with a sub-2.00 ERA AND in an Oakland uniform? Partial answers to these and to many other questions will begin to be answered today, bright and early (for us West Coasters) at Yankee Stadium where the A's will conclude their final EVER trip into the hallowed grounds of "The House that Ruth Built".
The Duke, who's been in the Big Apple now for most of the past week, will look to improve upon his last appearance at the Stadium where he didn't look too sharp while facing the NL's All Star lineup. He's been battling a viral infection since last weekend and is finally getting through it, although as of last night he was still battling the remnnants of the sickness. It would sure be nice if he could even just match his one and only career start against the Yankees where he went 7 innings, only allowed 1 run on 5 hits and struck-out 4 in the process of a beating the Pinstripers. Old Soldier Andy Petitte takes the mound for Yanks opposite Duke sporting some nifty career numbers against the Green and Gold (9-5, 3.42 ERA). Hopefully the lefty-mashers (Murton, E-meal, Murphy) can provide some scoring punch for the A's offense so that this team can depart for Tampa with some semblance of pride...
(Programming Note: for those viewing the game that are not within KICU's broadcast umbrella, the game today is being broadcast nationally on TBS. Thank you Ted Turner!)
07/20/08 10:05 AM PDT
|Oakland Athletics||New York Yankees|
|Mark Ellis - 2B||Derek Jeter - SS|
|Ryan Sweeney - RF||Bobby Abreu - RF|
|Bobby Crosby - SS||Alex Rodriguez - 3B|
|Emil Brown - DH||Jason Giambi - DH|
|Matt Murton - LF||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Carlos Gonzalez - CF||Wilson Betemit - 1B|
|Rob Bowen - C||Melky Cabrera - CF|
|Donnie Murphy - 3B||Jose Molina - C|
|Jack Hannahan - 1B||Brett Gardner - LF|