It's always a nice feeling knowing that however poorly the A's played yesterday, they still have unbeaten Rich Harden slated to take the hill in the series-deciding rubber game of the series today. In his career, Harden is 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA against the Pale Sox. However, if Rich is still suffering through his self-described "dead arm" period, then you can throw that nice feeling out the window, as it could be another long day full of high pitch counts and early bullpen activity - which surely hasn't been much of a recipe of success for the A's during the past week.
Normally, I would say that the whomever the Sox attempted to match-up with against Harden would be at a decided disadvantage; however, today's Chicago starter John Danks has been pitching fabulously well as of late. Over the past 3 weeks, Danks has consistently lowered his overall ERA in each subsequent outing, and now sits at a sparkling, ironically Harden-esque 2.50, buoyed by the best start of his career his last time out - an 8-inning, 8-strikeout, 1 walk, 1 run masterpiece against the Indians. Danks has also been a better pitcher during day games than night ones (2.31 ERA day, 2.88 ERA night) and a better pitcher versus righties (.225 BAA) than against lefties (.272 BAA). While possessing pretty good overall control, Danks is sometimes afflicted by that young lefty wildness so prominently displayed by Greg Smith last night. Since John hasn't been giving up a lot of hits lately, let's hope the A's can possibly goad him into one of those wild outings, since it might be their best (only) shot at scoring some runs today, especially with another patch-work lineup at work for the Green and Gold.
Speaking of...one look at today's lineup card makes me shudder. Injuries are a terrible, terrible thing ladies and gentlemen.
Today's game, while blacked out completely on MLB Extra Innings channels, will still be shown nationally on TV via the Windy City's ubiquitous WGN network. Go A's!
07/06/08 11:05 AM PDT
|Oakland Athletics||Chicago White Sox|
|Rajai Davis - CF||Orlando Cabrera - SS|
|Mark Ellis - 2B||AJ Pierzynski - C|
|Jack Cust - LF||Carlos Quentin - LF|
|Emil Brown - RF||Jermaine Dye - RF|
|Wes Bankston - DH||Jim Thome - DH|
|Daric Barton - 1B||Joe Crede - 3B|
|Rob Bowen - C||Nick Swisher - 1B|
|Jack Hannahan - 3B||Alexei Ramirez - 2B|
|Gregorio Petit - SS||Dewayne Wise - CF|