Friday, April 1, 2011

A's Opening Day Preview

Well, some of the baseball world got started yesterday, including the San Francisco Giants, check The Giants Baseball Blog for their recap, but the rest of the bunch get going tonight, including the Oakland A's. The A's will play host to the Seattle Mariners, in a match-up of two of the best young righty's in the game tonight, Trevor Cahill and Felix Hernandez with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 Pacific Time. Here is a preview on the projected lineups with key points to the game after:

Seattle Mariners:

1. Ichiro Suzuki RF
2. Chone Figgins 3B
3. Milton Bradley LF
4. Jack Cust DH
5. Justin Smoak 1B
6. Miguel Olivo C
7. Ryan Langerhans CF
8. Brendan Ryan SS
9. Jack Wilson 2B

P: Felix Hernandez RHP (13-12, 2.27 era, 237 K's in '10)
Oakland Athletics

1. Coco Crisp CF
2. Daric Barton 1B
3. David DeJesus RF
4. Josh Willingham LF
5. Hideki Matsui DH
6. Kurt Suzuki C
7. Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
8. Mark Ellis 2B
9. Cliff Pennington SS

P: Trevor Cahill RHP (18-8, 2.97 era, 118 K's)

This is going to be a good test for the A's bats right out of the shoot. King Felix is the best pitcher in the AL in my opinion, and the A's offense isn't their strong point. Then again, they'll have their ace going up against a much weaker starting 9. I think it's going to be a low scoring affair, and the first team to put a run on the board may be the team that wins this game. The A's need to get into Hernandez's head early. He's mellowing out more and more, but you can still get to Felix and rattle him, and that's how you beat him. Looking forward to seeing how the 3 new A's do in their Oakland debut (Willingham, DeJesus and Matsui) as all will be hitting in the middle of the A's order. Certainly not flashy, but could be the most cost-effective heart of the order in baseball, but they have to perform in order for the A's to go. The A's also need to get a little more pop out of Daric Barton. He's a solid hitter, but doesn't hit many out. If he can hit 15-20 HR's this year, it will really help this offense put runs up. The 2011 A's somewhat remind me of the Giants going into the 2010 season; great, great pitching, but it's anybodies guess as to how many runs they'll put up.

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