2

Can Cahill solve his woes against Yanks?

The A’s try to make it two in a row in the Bronx, with Trevor Cahill opposing CC Sabathia. You know Cahill’s story against the Yankees. It ain’t pretty … He’s 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA in four career starts. Sabathia, a Vallejo native, has endured some struggles against the A’s over the years. But he’s 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA over his past seven starts vs. Oakland.

–Alex Rodriguez remains out of the Yankees’ lineup with a sprained left thumb, so that’s one big bat Cahill won’t have to worry about. No Eric Chavez today … Eduardo Nunez draws the start at third in A-Rod’s place.

The lineups:
A’s — Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui LF, Willingham DH, Allen 1B, Jackson RF, Suzuki C, Pennington SS, Sizemore 3B; Cahill RHP.

Yankees — Gardner LF, Jeter SS, Granderson CF, Teixeira 1B, Cano 2B, Swisher RF, Posada DH, Nunez 3B, Cervelli C; Sabathia LHP.

4

Chavez facing the A’s for first time, Kouzmanoff traded, and other updates

Checking in from New York, where the 5.9 earthquake that shook parts of the city generated big news. I did not feel the quake, which was centered near Washington, D.C., and many of the people I’ve talked to are in the same boat — they didn’t know about it until seeing news reports. But when you’re not used to the earth shaking, such an event will make hearts race.

–We’ve got an intriguing storyline for tonight’s A’s-Yankees series opener, with former Athletic Eric Chavez a late addition to the Yanks’ lineup at third base. Alex Rodriguez was scratched after jamming his left thumb. It’s still tough getting used to Chavez wearing pinstripes, and this has got to be a special night for him.

–The A’s traded third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff to Colorado for a player to be named or cash considerations. Check out this update from earlier, and an expanded story should be posted soon.

–A’s manager Bob Melvin said he hopes to get newly promoted catcher Anthony Recker a start in the coming days. It’s an exciting time for Recker, who is getting his first taste of the big leagues at Yankee Stadium, roughly 80 miles from where he grew up in Pennsylvania.

The lineups:
A’s — Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, Allen 1B, DeJesus RF, Pennington SS, Suzuki C, Sogard 3B; McCarthy RHP.

Yanks — Gardner LF, Jeter SS, Granderson CF, Teixeira 1B, Cano 2B, Swisher RF, Chavez 3B, Posada DH, Martin C; Colon RHP.

1

Lineups for getaway day vs. the Blue Jays

Jimmy Durkin in for Joe Stiglich today.

The A’s are getting set for a tough road trip to New York, Boston and Cleveland and will try to salvage a split of the 10-game homestand by winning their third straight against the Blue Jays. Guillermo Moscoso is on the mound for the A’s against Toronto left-hander Luis Perez. The lineups are a little late because A’s manager Bob Melvin met with the media later than normal with the A’s not taking BP on a day game after a night game.

Michael Wuertz threw in the bullpen today for the first time since going on the DL with a thumb injury. Melvin said he expects Wuertz to throw at least one more bullpen session before they send him on a rehab assignments.

Here’s a look at the lineups:

A’s: 2B Weeks, CF Crisp, DH Matsui, LF Willingham, 1B Allen, RF Jackson, SS Pennington, C Suzuki, 3B Sizemore, P Moscoso.

Blue Jays: 2B Hill, LF Thames, RF Bautista, 1B Encarnacio, CF Rasmus, 3B Lawrie, DH Teahen, C Arencibia, SS McDonald, P Perez.

 

1

Gio Gonzalez looks to snap winless streak

A correction to my post below: The A’s started four switch hitters tonight, not three — I left out catcher Landon Powell.

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The wind is blowing pretty good at the Coliseum tonight. I wouldn’t want to be chasing fly balls or pop-ups. …

–It’s an all-lefty lineup for the A’s against Toronto right-hander Henderson Alvarez, though that includes switch hitters Jemile Weeks, Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp. Just regular days off for Josh Willingham, Kurt Suzuki and Scott Sizemore.

An obvious storyline going into the game: Can Gio Gonzalez find the win column for the first time since July 17? A’s manager Bob Melvin mentioned Gonzalez’s focus is on trying to get deeper in the game. He’s gone five starts without completing as many as seven innings.

–The lineups:
A’s: Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Allen 1B, Sweeney LF, DeJesus RF, Powell C, Sogard 3B; Gonzalez LHP.

Jays: Escobar SS, Thames LF, Bautista RF, Lind DH, Encarnacion 1B, Rasmus CF, Lawrie 3B, Molina C, McDonald 2B; Alvarez RHP.

4

Conor Jackson draws start in left field; Hideki Matsui gets rare rest

Here’s your pregame lowdown as the Toronto Blue Jays arrive for a four-game series at the Coliseum …

–Conor Jackson returns to the A’s lineup and he’s playing left field, with Josh Willingham serving as DH and Hideki Matsui getting a day off. So that’s one way for A’s manager Bob Melvin to work Jackson back into the lineup without removing Allen. Beyond today, we’ll see what happens, but I’d expect to see Jackson coming off the bench for the near future, at least until Allen cools off. And I think that makes the A’s an overall stronger team because Jackson’s versatility is valuable off the bench. At this point in the season, it’s all about evaluating young players to see what you have for next season, so Allen needs to stay in there.

As for Jackson’s neck soreness, he said he “feels good enough to play,” an indication that he’s still not back to 100 percent yet.

–It’s just a regular day off for Matsui, who has started 30 of the first 31 games after the All-Star break.

–The A’s placed reliever Trystan Magnuson on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation and recalled lefty Jordan Norberto. The late-inning bullpen situation is something to watch tonight, as Melvin said he was unsure of the availability of Grant Balfour, Andrew Bailey and Brian Fuentes. Bailey has pitched two days in a row and Balfour and Fuentes have been used a lot lately too.

–Check out this story on former A’s third baseman Jack Hannahan and the birth of his son. Pretty good stuff. … Hannahan is now with the Cleveland Indians.

Tonight’s lineups:
A’s — Weeks 2B, Pennington SS, Crisp CF, Willingham DH, Allen 1B, Jackson LF, Suzuki C, DeJesus RF, Sizemore 3B; Cahill RHP.

Jays – Escobar SS, Thames LF, Bautista RF, Lind 1B, Encarnacion DH, Rasmus CF, Lawrie 3B, Hill 2B, Arencibia C; Romero LHP.

5

Brandon Allen playing his way into more starts

The lineups for the A’s-Orioles series finale:

A’s: Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, Allen 1B, Sweeney RF, Pennington SS, Suzuki C, Sizemore 3B; McCarthy RHP.

O’s: Andino 2B, Hardy SS, Markakis RF, Jones CF, Vlad DH, Reynolds 1B, Reimold LF, Bell 3B, Tatum C; Simon RHP.

–The daily storyline with the A’s is whether Brandon Allen remains in the lineup once Conor Jackson is back from a neck injury. It seems clear that Allen has to keep playing based on how he’s performed so far, and judging from manager Bob Melvin’s praise of Allen, I’d expect him to keep getting at-bats even when Jackson is healthy. “We’ll see how it goes,” Melvin said. “There will be some days off for Allen too against left-handers. But he’s doing a nice job right now and deserves some at-bats.” Melvin said he values Jackson’s bat against lefties, and Toronto will start three lefties over the next four games against Oakland starting Thursday. But Allen also has impressed against lefties, showing he can take the ball the other way. And it’s possible we could see Jackson and Allen in the lineup at the same time if Josh Willingham needs a day off — expect to see Jackson in left field and Allen at first in that situation.

With the way Allen is playing — offensively and defensively — it’s tough to imagine how his stock fell in the eyes of the Diamondbacks. It shows you that a change of scenery can work wonders for a guy. But it’s still a very small sample size with Allen, so temper that enthusiasm just a bit.

1

Tuesday night’s lineups

Alex Pavlovic in for Joe tonight. Here are the lineups:

Weeks 2B
Crisp CF
Matsui DH
Willingham LF
Allen 1B
Sizemore 3B
DeJesus RF
Suzuki C
Pennington SS

ORIOLES
Reimold LF
Hardy SS
Markakis RF
Jones CF
Guerrero DH
Wieters C
Reynolds 1B
Andino 2B
Josh Bell 3B

Guillermo Moscoso (5-6, 3.52 ERA) vs. Brian Matusz (1-4, 8.77 ERA)
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1

Conor Jackson remains out; Brandon McCarthy appears ready for Wednesday start

Slow pregame scene for the A’s today, so here’s the lineups and what little there is to report …

A’s: Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui LF, Willingham DH, DeJesus RF, Allen 1B, Pennington SS, Suzuki C, Sogard 3B; Gonzalez LHP.

Orioles: Reimold LF, Hardy SS, Markakis RF, Jones CF, Guerrero DH, Wieters C, Reynolds 1B, Andino 2B, Bell 3B; Hunter RHP.

–Conor Jackson is still out with a sore neck as expected. Manager Bob Melvin says he’s getting better, but no word on his projected return.

–Brandon McCarthy (right knee contusion) made it through his bullpen session fine, so he looks on target for his Wednesday start.

–Scott Sizemore gets a day off, with Eric Sogard playing third.

7

Should A’s play the vets or the youngsters?

Some breaking news we just received: Conor Jackson was scratched from the A’s lineup with neck tightness, so Brandon Allen draws another start at first base. Manager Bob Melvin talked before the game about his first base situation, and the decision between playing Jackson and Allen. Jackson is hitting .313 since the All-Star break, and Melvin thinks that warrants him remaining in the lineup on a somewhat regular basis. So this isn’t a platoon situation at this point. But it does bring up an issue the A’s will face — how do they balance the playing time between veterans and young players who are brought up in the remaining weeks? You figure Michael Taylor and probably Chris Carter will be up in September, and with the A’s entire starting outfield heading for free agency, it stands to reason the younger players should be getting their share of at-bats.

Thoughts? Are you ready for young players like Allen to start getting the majority of starts, or would you stick with veterans who might give the A’s a chance to finish with a better record?

–Coco Crisp is back in the lineup after missing six games with a strained right calf. The A’s will take any lift they can get as they try to stop a seven-game losing streak to the Texas Rangers. Melvin said beating the Rangers is “a hurdle” the A’s need to clear, much like beating the Yankees, learning to win on the road, etc.

–Melvin said he’s confident Brandon McCarthy (right knee contusion) will make his next start Wednesday against Baltimore. But the real test comes tomorrow, when McCarthy is scheduled to throw his regular side session. That will be the big indicator of whether he’s ready.

–The A’s are exploring every avenue for improving their defense, Melvin said. That includes watching video of the good defense they’ve played in the past — “positive reinforcement,” as Melvin puts it. Clearly, the team thinks there’s more that goes into improving things than just taking extra grounders before the game. But I’m hearing there will also be a pitcher’s fielding practice soon, perhaps Monday. That would seem in order, given how much the pitchers have hurt themselves with errors.

The lineups:
A’s — Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Matsui DH, Willingham LF, Sizemore 3B, DeJesus RF, Suzuki C, Allen 1B, Pennington SS; Harden RHP.

Rangers — KInsler 2B, Andrus SS, Hamilton CF, Young 3B, Cruz RF, Napoli C, Moreland 1B, Torrealba DH, Murphy LF; Harrison LHP.