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Open Thread: Game 72 - A's vs. Rockies

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As the Colorado Rockies come down to earth (literally - look at the altitude in Denver!) A's fans hope for the same thing on the field over the next three days. Given their struggles in interleague play this season they could certainly use two or three wins this weekend. Heading into the series they're just 5-10 against the NL West. This year that's tied for the second worst interleague record with Milwaukee; Philadelphia and Cleveland are both 4-11. Conversely, the Angels have gone 11-4. The worst the A's have finished in interleague play is 8-10 so only a sweep will prevent them from establishing a new low mark since the format was introduced.

In the 19 games the A's have played Colorado they're 10-9, going 7-1 at home (winning every game since losing their first back in 1997) and 3-8 on the road. Many of us probably remember the 18-3 loss on 7/18/00 in which Mark Mulder got lit up early and Frank Menechino took part in the slaughter as well, getting an inning on the mound and finishing with an ERA of 36.00. If you don't remember or managed to purge that from your mind, sorry.

This is also just the second time since the 2001 season in which the A's have faced Colorado (2006). Before MLB opened it up to mixed-division matchups, the teams squared off every year from 1997-2001. The last time the A's were in Colorado they actually got shut out in consecutive games. I don't know if even our offense could pull that off. In that series someone by the name of Matt Holliday went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in the first game before going just 1-for-9 in the last two.

Speaking of Holliday and the others involved in the trade this past offseason, it is the first and only chance they'll have to see each other this year. Huston Street has rounded back into form as Colorado's closer, most of his numbers in line with his 2006-07 seasons in Oakland even though he's allowing more homers (5 already with his career high 6 last year). Carlos Gonzalez tore it up in Colorado Springs but has been slow to carry that over to the big club while Greg Smith has thrown a total of just 20 innings between three levels in the minors due to injuries. His most recent outing with Double-A Tulsa a few days ago was not a good one: 8 hits and 5 ER in just 3.1 innings against Northwest Arkansas, with no walks and a strikeout. Prior to that he'd had two starts in Single-A Modesto and one in Triple-A Colorado Springs, pitching well.

As for Holliday, he's gone cold again since looking like he'd turned things around. After six 2-hit performances in seven games from May 31 to June 6, he's had a pair of hits just twice since, batting 12-for-61(.197) with no homers and 2 RBI since June 7, all but the first five of those games coming against NL West teams. Add in the series against Arizona and he's just 14-for-57 (.246) with 1 homer and 3 RBI against his old division. So much for familiarity helping. Looks like he's part of the problem once more.

The Rockies have been as hot as can be under new manager Jim Tracy, having won a remarkable 17 of 18 games before dropping their last two to the Angels. Street racked up eight saves during that run including four in a row from June 8-11. Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton lead the offense. While Ubaldo Jimenez has been recovering from a horrible start to the season, the A's will miss (or not, I guess) him this series along with Jason Marquis, who has 9 wins.

Brett Anderson had been scheduled to start tonight but due to inflammation in the biceps he's been moved to Monday. That makes our matchups as follows:

Tonight: Dallas Braden vs. Jason Hammel, who is undefeated this month and pitching well overall, without a loss since May 19
Tomorrow: Trevor Cahill vs. Jorge De La Rosa, who has not had a good month statistically but is now 3-7 since losing his first six decisions
Sunday: Vin Mazzaro vs. Aaron Cook, who has been very good this month and most of May as well after a rough April, winning his last four starts

Of course, that information isn't much of a surprise when you've been playing .850 ball for the last three weeks, is it? We could be in for three more well-pitched games to close out interleague play.

Remember, tomorrow's game is a 6:05 start with the beer festival that afternoon for those of you who need an easy excuse to drown your sorrows away, or more like sampling different beers in small cups for a few bucks.


Lineup

Colorado Rockies @ Oakland Athletics

06/26/09 7:05 PM PDT

Colorado Rockies Oakland Athletics
Dexter Fowler - CF Adam Kennedy - 2B
Ryan Spilborghs - LF Jack Cust - RF
Todd Helton - 1B Matt Holliday - LF
Garrett Atkins - DH Jason Giambi - DH
Brad Hawpe - RF Kurt Suzuki - C
Troy Tulowitzki - SS Orlando Cabrera - SS
Chris Iannetta - C Ryan Sweeney - CF
Ian Stewart - 3B Daric Barton - 1B
Clint Barmes - 2B Jack Hannahan - 3B