After assuring themselves of not losing a series for the first time since Joe Blanton and Rich Harden were still with the squad, the A's will look to clinch the 4-game set this afternoon. On paper, the matchup doesn't look particularly favorable to the Green and Gold. Dan "Failing to Inspire" Meyer will take the hill for the A's. Dan previously faced Seattle late last season and gave his customary run-an-inning effort in 4 2/3 innings to take the loss. Dan is the oldest, least promising and least-roster-friendly hurler currently in the A's all-lefty rotation, so at this point in his career he's probably auditioning for a spot on some other team's roster. Hopefully, Dan can just chew some innings today and for the rest of this season, give the A's a chance to win some games and show enough of his former top-prospect talent in the process so that someone might give him a chance next year.
Countering Meyer will be longtime Oakland nemesis Felix Hernandez. King Felix has been kryptonite to A's bats ever since breaking into the majors as a teenager in 2005. He has a 6-3 record and a 2.43 career ERA against the A's. It's not just that Felix is a good pitcher against every lineup (which he is) but also that he's particularly well-suited to dominating the A's since he throws lots of strikes, limits the walks and is very efficient. Every year I approach these matchups with the same thread of optimism, thinking to myself, "Well, most of the Oakland hitters Felix will be facing this time are rookies and maybe this group will finally figure him out." I've been wrong every single time before, and I don't expect to be right this time, although there are a few reasons to be reasonably optimistic today:
- Ziggy is well-rested and should be good to go for another 2-inning save, should the opportunity arise.
- Cust actually had some success against Felix last season, going 2-for-7 with a homer and two walks against him...however that was back when Jack had two good eyes at his disposal.
- Ellis might have singularly signaled a new era in A's injury management after saying (about his shoulder), "When it feels good, I'll be out there"...wow, that sounds nice and simple...I would have like to have heard that from Gallagher and Duke a few weeks ago and Chavez and Harden a few years ago.
- Cliff Pennington gets his first start at shortstop for the A's! Maybe he can make Crosby irrelevant sooner rather than later...
08/24/08 1:10 PM PDT
|Oakland Athletics||Seattle Mariners|
|Eric Patterson - 2B||Ichiro Suzuki - RF|
|Jack Hannahan - 3B||Yuniesky Betancourt - SS|
|Jack Cust - LF||Raul Ibanez - LF|
|Frank Thomas - DH||Adrian Beltre - DH|
|Emil Brown - RF||Jose Lopez - 2B|
|Carlos Gonzalez - CF||Wladimir Balentien - CF|
|Daric Barton - 1B||Kenji Johjima - C|
|Rob Bowen - C||Bryan LaHair - 1B|
|Cliff Pennington - SS||Miguel Cairo - 3B|