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7/5: Open Game Thread

First Pitch: 7:05pm PDT


Suzuki, CF                  Stewart, LF Vidro, DH                   Ellis, 2B Ibanez, LF                  Swisher, CF Guillen, RF                 Cust, RF Sexson, 1B                  Johnson, 1B Johjima, C                  Crosby, SS Beltre, 3B                  Scutaro, 3B Betancourt, SS              Kendall, C Lopez, 2B                   Suzuki, DH ---------- ----------

Batista (8-6, 4.63)        Gaudin (7-3, 2.92)

Hey, it's Gomez in lieu of the traveling Jeff. I will actually be gone myself by 5 pm, as I'm meeting an old friend uptown around 5:30 and have no clue when I'll be back. If Deanna is free, she'll hopefully get a chance to throw up the lineups, but if not, anyone can throw them up in the comments.

Living proof that Oakland is pitching heaven: Chad Gaudin running a sub 3 ERA in July and being on pace for a 14 win season, despite also being on pace for 85-90 walks.

As tends to happen, these road series in Oakland are about as make/break as it can get for the M's... but funny thing: it's make/break for Oakland as well. At only two games over .500 and looking up at the MARINERS, go figure, Oakland really needs to at least win this series to have anything resembling a prayer at playoff contention. A series split doesn't help them, but the Mariners taking this series, let alone sweeping it, would pretty much seal Oakland's doom for a change.

If there's one thing going for the embattled Miguel Batista, it's that the green shaded McAfee Cavern, also known to Raider fans as the Black Hole, is offense kryptonite thanks to the heavy seaside Bay air and indecisive winds, and with an Athletics lineup that's about as exciting as CSPAN, all signs point to Batista eating up innings like Vidro getting behind the counter at Baskin Robbins.

That's the good news. Obviously, the bad news is that if this joint kills the A's offense, it will also put a damper on the Mariners offense, which, save for a couple innings in the last 3 days, hasn't been so hot so far under John McLaren's short tenure as a full-timer. This is not his fault, of course, but hey.

Some good news on that front: Kenji Johjima should be back after taking a game off. As mentioned earlier, the injury to his wrist seemed a lot worse than it actually was: years ago, Joh had surgery for an injury, and had a metal plate put into his wrist. The pitch in question struck one of the screws, causing pain to shoot up his arm. He reacted accordingly and the Mariners feared the worst, but he's fine and should be good to go today.