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Open Thread: Game 23 - A's vs. Angels

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So who's up for extras tonight? Anyone?

Pansies.

Well, if the pattern of the previous six games hold, we're in for one of those smiley face nights with lots of pretty pictures at the end of the last thread, as the A's have gone W-L-W-L-W-L since April 26, with an off-day and a rainout sprinkled in.

Tonight they share the field with their old friends from down south, in Oakland's first meeting with the Angels since taking a three-game set in Anaheim to start the season.

Speaking of south, these two teams are in somewhat unfamiliar territory: bringing up the rear in the American League West. Sure it's early, but in a decade dominated by the A's and Angels- one or the other has made the playoffs every year, and only the 2001 Mariners have kept them from having a stranglehold on the division title- it isn't very often that they find themselves staring up at the opposition (believe me; I checked).

In fact, not since the 1996 season have these long-time rivals finished on the wrong side of the standings together. In addition to combining for eight first-place finishes this decade, the teams have placed 1-2 four times, and neither club has had to recover from a last-place showing.

It would be premature to say that the good times have come to an end for the division's California connection, but for the first time in a long while it looks to be anyone's division. Or no one's.

On the hill for the Halos this evening is left-hander Joe Saunders who stifled the A's for 6.2 shutout innings on Opening Night. Brett Anderson, still in search of his first big-league victory, gets the call for Oakland.


Lineup

Los Angeles Angels @ Oakland Athletics

05/04/09 7:05 PM PDT

Los Angeles Angels Oakland Athletics
Chone Figgins - 3B Kurt Suzuki - C
Maicer Izturis - SS Orlando Cabrera - SS
Bobby Abreu - RF Jason Giambi - 1B
Torii Hunter - CF Matt Holliday - LF
Mike Napoli - DH Jack Cust - DH
Howie Kendrick - 2B Bobby Crosby - 3B
Kendry Morales - 1B Travis Buck - RF
Juan Rivera - LF Gregorio Petit - 2B
Jeff Mathis - C Rajai Davis - CF