I’m out here in the beautiful Oakland sun, in the auxilary press box, just waiting for the first pitch. This should be a great day. The weather could not be better — easy for me to say; I don’t have to hit against Barry Zito in the shadows of the late afternoon.
Not a ton of news to come out of the pre-game. The big thing is that the A’s are pitching Harden in Game 3 and pushing Haren back to Game 4. I love that move. If the series goes to Game 7, the A’s will have Harden and his nasty stuff on the mound.
I’m a little surprised that Jim Leyland didn’t take a similar approach and start Verlander in Game 1; followed by Rogers in Game 2 (with that glittering record lieftime at Oakland) and Bonderman in Game 3. The way it stands now, Bonderman will only pitch once in the series and Robertson — today’s starter — will go twice. But Leyland knows his staff best, and probably thinks they need the rest.
Looking for a player to watch in this series? How about A’s second baseman D’Angello Jimenez. The guy barely played for the A’s — just eight games during the regular season and one in the Division Series.
A’s manager Ken Macha put it best before the game — "i really haven’t seen D’Angelo play that much, so it would be unfair for me to judge one way or the other to know what we’re going to get out of him."
Of course, Macha also adds that infield coach Ron Washington is a master of grooming his guys and gives them "the full monty". Got to love it.
Looking for one of the smartest and most underrated players in this series? Check out Tigers shortstop Carlos Guillen. Leyland says the guy has a managing future if he wants one, and Leyland would know.
Everyone ready? Leyland called it a couple of "Meat and Potatoes" teams. Love that. Speaking of that, i’m hungry. So far i’ve just had a six-inch sub from Subway today.
Without further ado, here are your Game 1 lineups.
Granderson — CF (He’s better than you think)
Polanco — 2B (So is he)
Casey — 1B
Ordonez — RF
Guillen — SS
Rodriguez — C (not the same hitter he once was, but still good and a cannon arm)
Monroe — LF
Thames — DH
Inge — 3B
Robertson — P
Kendall – C (love it when a catcher leads off)
Kotsay — CF
Bradley — RF
Thomas (DH and resident Big Hurt)
Payton — LF
Chavez — 3B (finally gets to see what life is like out of the Division Series)
Swisher — 1B (He’ll make a few quoteboards before the end of this series)
Scutaro — SS
Jimenez — 2B
Zito — P (check out that curve as it gets lost in the shadows)