Just over an hour away from first pitch here at Angel Stadium. The sun is out, and it’s shaping up to be a perfect night for baseball. But they’re saying rain might hit tomorrow night …
There was a little wrinkle in the A’s starting lineup, with Nomar Garciaparra inserted at first base. That bumps Jason Giambi over to DH, Jack Cust is starting in right field and Travis Buck goes to the bench.
Buck told me before the game he was feeling fine, so this looks like Bob Geren just wanted to get the right-handed hitting Garciaparra in the lineup against lefty Joe Saunders. Throw in the fact that Garciaparra is in his 14th major league season and hit .455 in 13 games this spring, I can see why Geren wants him in there Opening Day.
“Nomar has had a great spring for us,” Geren said. “I’d like to get him in there as much as possible.” He added that Garciaparra will play against “most” lefties, so we’ll probably see him spell the left-handed hitting Eric Chavez at third quite a bit. Chavez has said he can’t play every day yet because of his shoulder anyway.
The down side with this lineup: It weakens the outfield defense w/Cust in right. And interestingly, Garciaparra has hit just .241 (39-for-162) at Angel Stadium, his lowest average at any ballpark where he’s had at least 60 at-bats.
The rest of the A’s lineup:
Braden on the hill …