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Open Thread: Game 106 - A's vs. Royals

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Hoping to shed himself of the nickname "The Nibbler," Greg Smith gets the call tonight against Royals ace Gil Meche. In Smith's last outing, the lefty retired his first nine batters, then later followed up a disputed HBP by surrendering back-to-back HRs in a loss at Tampa Bay.

Don't look now (ok you can look now), but Carlos Gonzalez is batting .280 and the more he's hitting the fewer strikes he's getting and the more he's walking. Gonzalez' line now stands at .280/.318/.429 and he is batting in the clean-up spot tonight. And rather remarkably, Oakland's #2 and #3 hitters are both .300 hitters. If there is reason for optimism in the coming years, tonight's 2-3-4 goes a long way to providing it.

The lineups:

DeJesus - CF
Aviles - SS
"Grudzie" - 2B
Guillen - LF
Butler - DH
Gordon - 3B
Teahen - RF
J. Buck - C
Gload - 1B

Patterson - LF
R. Sweeney - RF
Suzuki - C
Gonzalez - CF
Cust - DH
Ellis - 2B
Hannahan - 1B
Crosby - SS
Conrad - 3B