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Open Thread: Game 52 (Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox)

Update: Jane Lee of reports that the game will start at 4:30 PM, Pacific Time, as a result of the rain.

What was that, Texas? I can't hear you. Speak up a little.

That's right, the first place Oakland A's are currently sitting high and mighty at 28-24, with Texas right on our heels one game back. We're gonna need an assist from Mark Buehrle and the White Sox, but we can start forging a nice substantial division lead with a win tonight.

Gio Gonzalez (5-3, 3.54 ERA) has put together an outstanding season, averaging over seven strikeouts per nine innings. He's also managed to keep his walk rate just under four per nine innings, which is a significant drop and a career best. John Lackey (5-3, 4.84 ERA), on the other hand, isn't doing Boston any favors with his pitching performance thus far, which represents a career worst in ERA and FIP.

Interestingly enough, both Boston and Oakland committed to a "pitching and defense first" mentality over this offseason. Oakland brought in rangey CFer Coco Crisp and four time All Star Ben Sheets to bolster already an already stout defense and rotation. Boston did even more work over the break, bringing in three time Gold Glove winner CF Mike Cameron, two time Gold Glove winner 3B Adrian Beltre, and the aforementioned John Lackey. The end result of these moves? Oakland is in first place, and Boston has only just rebounded from an abysmal April with a good May. However, they're still sitting in the AL East cellar in fourth place, only above the hapless Baltimore Orioles. Now, granted, the AL East is an extremely strong division and the two teams have similar season records, but Boston has somewhere around three times the payroll. Baseball is a funny game sometimes.

First pitch is at 4:10 PM, unless weather interferes. Uh, Victor Martinez? See that blurry guy off in the distance running everywhere? Good luck. You're going to need it.


Oakland Athletics @ Boston Red Sox

06/01/10 4:10 PM PDT

Oakland Athletics Boston Red Sox
Rajai Davis - CF Marco Scutaro - SS
Daric Barton - 1st Bunt
Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Ryan Sweeney - RF Victor Martinez - C
Kurt Suzuki - C Kevin Youkilis - 1B
Jack Cust - DH David Ortiz - DH
Kevin Kouzmanoff - 3B Adrian Beltre - 3B
Gabe Gross - LF J.D. Drew - RF
Mark Ellis - 2B Bill Hall - LF
Cliff Pennington - SS Darnell McDonald - CF