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Series Preview: Oakland Athletics @ Seattle Mariners

Seattle: 46-80
Athletics: 57-69


Game 1: Ryan Rowland-Smith* vs Greg Smith*
Game 2: Ryan Feierabend* vs Gio Gonzalez*
Game 3: Jarrod Washburn* vs Kirk Saarloos
Game 3: Felix Hernandez vs ?

Holy lefties Batman, at least five of them this series as we still don't know the starter on Sunday after Bob Geren scratched Sean Gallagher. Greg Smith is a newcomer to the big leagues this season and has been benefiting from quite a bit of good luck/defense as his tRA stands at 5.11 with 21 extra outs given to him. He doesn't throw many strikes and doesn't miss many bats and really really doesn't get any groundballs.

An incredibly high 55.1% of batted balls against Smith go for a line drive or a flyball. This might mean something if our offense cared who they were facing. Smith faces off against our Smith, who is far superior to their Smith at having a longer last name and generally being cooler. At pitching however, not so much. At least so far. RRS has better control but just isn't getting the strikeout figures that he needs. His walk plus hit batter ratio actually exceeds his strikeouts.

Gio Gonzalez, 22, has all of 14.1 innings pitched in the big leagues spread across three starts. They didn't go particularly well. So far he's throwing strikes as often as R.A. Dickey does with his knuckleball and misses bats about as often as well. He has 11 walks and 11 strikeouts so far on the year in Oakland and his ratio in AAA wasn't great either at just 2:1. Keep his age in mind though. This game might be at least mildly interesting to see if Feierabend's velocity returns at all.

Kirk Saarloos hasn't started a game this year, and he only started three the previous year but he's been a near full-time starter for Oakland before. Throws a lot of balls and doesn't get many strikeouts, Saarloos does at least generate groundballs, though his homerun prevention hasn't been too keen in various limited sample sizes. Jarrod Washburn represents a third consecutive lefty for us and oh god I just do not want to talk about Washburn anymore. Make it stop.

? brings a lot of intangibles to the picture. For instance, who is he? I asked around and nobody would give me a straight answer, leading to his mystique. "Why you asking me?" said the guy selling Real Change next to Gameworks. "Got any spare change?" replied the gaggle of youths pandering outside the Cheesecake Factory. "Who the hell is this Felix Hernandez?" was the answer from Ms director of advance scouting John McFakeName. A mystery indeed. I don't know what he throws, but certainly our lineup stands no chance.

Pressured to fit in with his peers and resigned that he's going to lose anyways to the power (or possibly finesse) arsenal of ?, Felix has announced that he will save his arm for the remainder of this season and will pitch this game with his left hand.

Likely Starters:
C Kurt Suzuki
1 Daric Barton*
2 Mark Ellis
3 Jack Hannahan*
S Bobby Crosby
L Jack Cust*/Eric Patterson
C Carlos Gonzalez*
R Ryan Sweeney*
D Frank Thomas

Think our hitters are bad (they are) ? Well, Oakland's are many times worse. A remarkable 48 runs below average.


We're back to 11 games behind Oakland with just 36 games left to play. Anyone out there still want to make a stupid prediction that we finish with a better record?

Oakland's horrible hitters made me look at our various RAA totals by unit and I just wanted to point out that our hitters, while bad, haven't been too awful. 19 runs below average isn't out of range of our expectations for this year. We were always worried where the runs were going to come from. 7 runs below average from the pen was definitely unforeseen.

We did have worries about the loss of George Sherrill but losing Putz as well and having Eric O'Flaherty melt down and Mark Lowe regress makes it little surprise that our pen hasn't been up to snuff. Still though, it's been barely below average and it's been built almost entirely out of spare parts this year. Lesson 32 on why spending money on relievers is stupid.

Anyways, that was all said to say this; it's been the rotation that has killed the team this year. 58 runs below average. From a unit that we are paying a collective $40 million to and spent five solid prospects to acquire. Bad bad bad.


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Bear Republic Brewing. Healdsburg, CA

Pours a murky light brown with orange streaks and a fluffly light tan head it boasts an aroma hinting at strong hop flavoring along with bits of vanilla, brown sugar and caramel. There is a burst of hops on the first taste that quickly subsides to a more subtle combination of light citrus, oak, malts and some berry spices before ending up back with hops. Palate leaves a taste of watered down pine in the mouth.