By Carl Steward
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 at 11:52 am in 2011 regular season.
Filling in for Joe Stiglich today as he makes the early getaway to Toronto ,.,
Through two games, the A’s bullpen have ERAs that look like menu prices: Craig Breslow 27.00, Brian Fuentes 18.00, Jerry Blevins 13.50. It’s an ominous sign for a team that absolutely needs a stout bullpen to have a successful season. Like the defensive lapses, perhaps it’s an aberration. Two games is not even a representative sample size, but with a tough early nine-game road trip to begin following today’s game, it’s critical that the A’s stop the bullpen bleedings ASAP. Winning today might be a very good idea, too. Not an absolute, but opening up at home being swept by the worst team in the AL West would not set a very good tone for April.
After finishing up with Seattle, the A’s pack up and head out to three games each in Toronto, Minnesota and Chicago. That’s a brutal early swing, particularly if your relievers are having issues. Toronto’s already off to an early longball pace with six homers in its first two games. Minnesota is always tough at home, and Chicago now has Adam Dunn in its lineup to go along with its other sluggers. If Oakland comes through this trip anywhere near .500, they’ll be be fine. But the potential is there for digging a hole it could take a month or two to climb out of.
Anyway, no injury updates today … it’s a day off for Andrew Bailey’s rehab. Bailey and Rich Harden will accompany the A’s on the trip, but there’s no chance they’ll be activated to pitch. The A’s just want to continue monitoring them firsthand.
Here are the lineups for the series finale:
OAK: CF Crisp, 1B Barton, RF DeJesus, LF Willingham, DH Matsui, C Suzuki, 2B Ellis, 3B Kouzmanoff, SS Pennington. P Gonzalez
SEA: RF Ichiro, 3B Figgins, LF Bradley, DH Cust, 1B Smoak, C Olivo, CF Langerhans, SS Ryan, 2B Wilson. P Fister