A’s pregame update — Sunday

A few pregame tidbits as the A’s finish what must feel like a very loooong first half …

–After his big homer last night, Rajai Davis gets a start in right field. Extended punishment for Ryan Sweeney for not running out a pop-up? Bob Geren wouldn’t say that. He said he wanted to get as many right-handed bats as possible in the lineup against Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields. Righties actually fare better against Shields and his nasty change-up than lefties (rh’s hitting .280 compared to .262 for lh’s). Nomar Garciaparra gets a start at first base, with switch-hitting Landon Powell catching. Kurt Suzuki is the DH. Jack Cust, who struck out four times last night, sits as he’s 2-for-15 against Shields.

–Geren had planned to play Garciaparra at first today over Giambi all along, but Geren said Giambi should be available to pinch-hit with his bruised right elbow.

–With the A’s coming out of the All-Star break with 28 straight games, Geren said Powell will have to spell Suzuki more often, and he wanted to squeeze in a start for him before the break so he wasn’t too rusty when the A’s return to the field.

–Someone who deserved mention from last night’s game — reliever Michael Wuertz. He struck out the side in his one inning of work and has 20 strikeouts in his past 10 2/3 innings (8 games). His 50 strikeouts are tied for second among AL relievers. The league leader, of course, is his All-Star teammate, Andrew Bailey (59).

–Geren listed his rotation coming out of the break. Dallas Braden will start the opener of a four-game home series against the Angels on Thursday. He’ll be followed by Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez. Geren said he wanted to try to maximize the rest for his young starters. Braden is going on regular four days’ rest, but Geren said that’s OK because the lefty just had a 10-day layoff.

The lineups:

Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston CF
Holliday LF
Garciaparra 1B
Suzuki DH
Powell C
Davis RF
Ellis 2B

Anderson LHP

Upton CF
Aybar 2B
Longoria 3B
Pena 1B
Zobrist RF
Burrell DH
Bartlett SS
Kapler LF
Hernandez C

Shields RHP

Joe Stiglich

  • Hoosier

    Seems odd that Geren is pitching his two RHPs on consecutive days

  • True … I think the A’s are looking more at getting guys rest than strategically mapping things out. They want Anderson to get extra rest, particularly after his back acted up. So he goes fourth. Braden had about 10 days off while on bereavement leave, so they wanted to pitch him tonight so he doesn’t get rusty. As for Gio, he’s the No. 5 guy among this group, and the No. 5 guy usually gets pushed back whenever possible. That leaves Cahill and Mazzaro second and third in the rotation. … Probably a much longer answer than you needed, huh?