Sweeping another team on the road is really hard. I promise. If you've been following the A's lately, though, it wouldn't seem like such a tall order.
After winning four in a row in Cleveland, the A's were swept by the visiting Angels in the Coliseum. Before the dust even had a chance to settle, they are on the verge of returning the favor with three wins in Seattle. If the Athletics can take this last game, then three of their last four series will have involved the visiting team sweeping the home team...and the fourth series involved the A's sweeping the visiting Red Sox in Oakland. A win today would mean four straight sweeps for the A's, three of which will have gone in their favor.
Or, Seattle could ruin everything like the party poopers they are. Look at the dejected guy in the Lookout Landing logo. He doesn't want to party or enjoy any fun, quirky statistics. He just wants to be sad. Poor guy.
In the interest of not doing anything exciting, the Mariners are sending Jason Vargas to the mound. That just sounds like the most boring thing ever. Vargas is the perfect combo of non-star-power (anonymity), non-flash (junk-balling lefty with an 88mph fastball), and perfectly average performance (97 ERA+, low strikeouts, mediocre peripherals). There is literally nothing interesting about him. He is the definition of an Average Joe, except that his name is Jason. Average Jason. Of course, Average Jason has dominated the A's this year, with a 1.98 ERA in 4 starts (27.1 innings, 22:6 K:BB), but he also hasn't faced them since early July, so has he really faced the A's yet this year?
The A's will counter with literally the same pitcher, except that his name is Tommy Milone. He's also a soft-tossing, junk-balling, lefty with a 101 ERA+, but he has the edge in K:BB ratio (3.81). They both throw their league-leading change-ups about 25% of the time. Milone has struggled lately in the twilight of his rookie season, and a lot of folks are starting are to get really down on him, but I still maintain that he is good and that he will be a star. He's starting to wear out a bit, and is allowing some hard contact, but I chalk that up to the normal regression of rookie starters more than anything else (having said that, his ERA-by-month this season has ranged from a low of 3.55 in July to a high of 3.96 in August - consistent!). He still eschews the walks, and his strikeout rate continues to rise. I like him. That's my opinion.
Gomes gets the start against the lefty, Reddick still bats 3rd, and Drew continues to fall lower in the order despite hitting better and better. If he could hit 10th, he'd probably go 4-for-4. Carter is absolutely going to homer today.
|Athletics (T. Milone - L) @ Mariners (J. Vargas - L)