New goal for the year: respectability. As in, getting back to .500 or close to it by September 28th. To ensure a break-even season, this rag-tag rabble of rookies and old-hands will have to reel-off a record of 31-23 (.574 winning %) over the final month-and-a-half of the season. That's a fairly tall order, but not entirely impossible. The march back to mediocrity starts with winning a series, and since the A's offense couldn't be trusted to score more than a run or two against the Shelton, CT National Little League team, the burden of winning this particular series at-hand will fall squarely on Greg Smith and the A's bullpen.
Last weekend, Saturday was lefty-loonyness day, and this week it's Sunday Southpaw Serenade as Smith will face fellow lefty Nate Robertson. The A's will hope that Robertson continues his un-winning ways, as he's 0-1 with a 10.41 ERA over his past month of action. On the year, Robertson has been hit hard by hitters from both sides of the plate (174 hits in 132 IP), but is a decent pitcher while throwing in front of his home crowd at Coamerica (4.45 ERA). He pitched 6 innings, gave up 5 runs, struck-out 5 and walked 3 in his only outing this season against the A's back on June 4th at the Coliseum.
Smith will look to continue his recent streak of strong outings, as he's gone at least 6 innings in his past three starts while keeping his walks down, limiting the hits-against and keeping the opposition off-balance (all the while padding his league-lead in pick-offs if/when he decides to give up a hit or two along the way).
The Tigers are understandably mortified at the thought of having to face Ziggy twice in one series, so let's all just hope and pray that Smith can go 7 strong and hand off a lead to Brad for another 2-inning save to get this series win in the books.
08/10/08 10:05 AM PDT
|Oakland Athletics||Detroit Tigers|
|Mark Ellis - 2B||Curtis Granderson - CF|
|Frank Thomas - DH||Placido Polanco - 2B|
|Emil Brown - LF||Marcus Thames - LF|
|Bobby Crosby - SS||Magglio Ordonez - RF|
|Carlos Gonzalez - CF||Miguel Cabrera - 1B|
|Kurt Suzuki - C||Gary Sheffield - DH|
|Daric Barton - 1B||Ryan Raburn - 3B|
|Jack Hannahan - 3B||Edgar Renteria - SS|
|-||Dane Sardinha - C|
(The widget doesn't show it, but Swooney is actually leading off for the A's today, Ellis is batting 2nd, and likewise all the way down the lineup.)