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Open Thread: Game 101 - A's at Baltimore

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Childhood photo of Jonny Gomes?
Childhood photo of Jonny Gomes?

Don't look now (ok now you can look), but the Oakland A's -- yes the Oakland A's -- have the 3rd best record in the American League. However, the wild card races (can we just call them Thing 1 and Thing 2?) are so tight that the A's may well need to win today in order to keep that distinction.

100 games in, Oakland is 55-45 thanks to a remarkable 18-3 July. No big trades yet, but apparently Oakland will send Fautino De Los Santos to the Milwaukee Brewers for recently DFAd (DdFA?) catcher George Kattaras. I too was surprised, and a bit disappointed, to learn that a pitcher as talented as De Los Santos was the bounty for Kattaras, but at the same time you have to look at DLS as being "about 12th on the depth chart" amongst Oakland relievers. Could he be better than any of Evan Scribner, Arnold Leon, Pedro Figueroa, Merkin Valdez, and so on? Yes. Are the A's very likely ever to miss him? Not really.

In Toronto, the A's missed the sweep when they couldn't hold a 3-0 lead in the series finale. Trying to "finish the deal" in Baltimore, Oakland goes for the sweep today behind Travis Blackley, who is opposed by fellow lefty but non-fellow Taiwanese hurler Wei-Yin Chen. Chen comes in 8-6, with a 3.82 ERA, having faced Oakland back on April 28th when he tossed 7 IP of 1 run ball. The A's 7-8-9 that day was Kila Ka'aihue, Luke Hughes, and Cliff Pennington.

Bothered by a tight hamstring, Coco Crisp is out of today's lineup, giving Seth Smith a chance to start against a LHP: