After getting swept by the Royals, the A's open up a three-game set tonight at Camden Yards at 4:05 p.m. Pacific Time. Dallas Braden faces off against fellow lefty Chris Waters of Baltimore.
Braden, who has been the team's best starter over the past month, hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his past five starts. Conversely, Chris Waters has spent the last five starts looking a lot like the Dallas Braden of '07 - fairly suckish. Since his sterling 8 inning, 1-hit major league debut on August 5, the 28-year-old Waters has allowed 20 earned runs in 25 innings.
The A's and Bob Geren are relying on another good performance from Braden tonight especially, because tomorrow features the team's 2nd doubleheader in three days, and a starting pitcher that remains TBD.
In case you missed the news, Justin Duchscherer suffered a setback with his hip in a bullpen session yesterday and was scratched from tomorrow's start. He's scheduled to meet on Monday with the doctor who operated on his hip last July.
I'm starting to hate the phrase "Duchscherer's hip" the way that major league pitchers hate hearing "Dr. James Andrews." The words that follow both are almost guaranteed to be negative.
Greg Smith is scheduled to start the first game tomorrow, and I'm guessing we'll see an extended outing (~4 IP?) on short rest from Kirk Saarloos as well as a slew of relievers in the second game.
At this point, I hope Duchscherer is shut down for the remainder of the season. He and the team have nothing to gain from making one measly start in late September, and they have a lot to lose. I wouldn't be surprised if the team puts him on the 60-day DL by tomorrow afternoon so that they can purchase of the contract of another pitcher in AAA like Brad Kilby for reinforcements in the doubleheader.
But if you want to try and find a positive in Duke's setback, here it is: It's very unlikely that he gets traded in the offseason at this point. Teams didn't give up enough to meet Beane's price when Duke was dominant two months ago; surely the offers won't be impressive when he's coming back from injury. If he's healthy, the A's are looking at an opening day '09 rotation of Duke-Eveland-Smith-Braden-Gallagher, with Gio the obvious 6th guy if Duke or someone else opens '09 on the DL.
In other injury rehab news, Sean Gallagher threw five scoreless innings yesterday to lead the Rivercats to a win in Game 2 to tie up their playoff series against Fresno at 1-1. Keeping in mind Dan Meyer's latest meltdown last night, the schedule lines up perfectly for Gallagher to mercifully take Meyer's turn in the rotation on Tuesday at home against the Angels, where he hopefully would reinact the magic he produced the last time he faced them in his A's debut. Gallagher hasn't been announced as next Tuesday's starter, but it certainly seems logical, especially if the Rivercats are eliminated in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.
Rivercats third baseman Jeff Baisley has six hits (including two homers) in the first two games of the AAA playoffs. By next week he could be starting at third for the A's.
|R. Sweeney cf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.287|
|B. Crosby ss||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.246|
|E. Brown lf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.247|
|J. Cust dh||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.228|
|K. Suzuki c||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.287|
|D. Barton 1b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.224|
|J. Hannahan 3b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.219|
|A. Cunningham rf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.300|
|E. Patterson 2b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.197|
|B. Roberts 2b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.297|
|A. Jones cf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.275|
|N. Markakis rf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.306|
|R. Hernandez c||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.258|
|K. Millar 1b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.243|
|L. Scott dh||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.269|
|O. Salazar 3b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|L. Montanez lf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|J. Castro ss||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.207|