By Joe Stiglich
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 at 7:47 pm in Uncategorized.
Wednesday’s walk-off win over the Texas Rangers — courtesy of Brandon Hicks’ ninth-inning home run — was a good way for the A’s to enter a four-game series with the Yankees that starts Thursday. As much news as the A’s hitters have made lately, there’s no doubt their starting pitchers are the real focus of the next four days. The Yankees have absolutely had the A’s number over the years. They have won 30 of the past 37 games between the teams dating back to 2008, including a three-game sweep at the Coliseum earlier this season. A theme over the years has been the A’s impressive core of young starters wilting under the pressure when going up against the Yankees’ vaunted lineup. The A’s will start rookies in the first three of this four-game series (A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker), and those three need to set the tone early and keep the A’s in the game.
Milone has made one previous start against New York and it was impressive — he held them to two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-0 loss on May 27. Griffin and Parker will be making their first career appearances against the Yankees. Griffin, who starts Thursday’s opener, said he’ll try to treat it just like another game. “They always have that prestige about them,” Griffin said. “I just try to detach from the outside stuff and go out there and play ball.” His ability keep his poise has been a strength so far, and he’s got experience pitching before a packed crowd at the Coliseum. Griffin’s big league debut came against the Giants at the Coliseum and he went six innings and allowed just two runs. He repeated that same performance two outings later against Boston. In both games, it was a big crowd and just about evenly split — half rooting for the A’s, half rooting for the opponent. Figure it will be the same situation Thursday night, and the the A’s and Griffin are used to that.
The A’s split their two-game series with Texas to begin this homestand. If they can gain at least a split of the four games against New York, it would be a good way for them to hit the road for a six-game trip next week as they try to remain in the A.L. wild card hunt …