Game 159 wrapup: Last two games aside, A’s have done well vs. top pitchers; It’s rookie hazing day for flight to Seattle

Dan Straily as Wolverine

Dan Straily as Wolverine

This is perhaps an odd time to concern oneself with the Oakland offense, but the A’s have gone from scoring early and often in game after game to having scored one run in the last two starts.

That in itself wouldn’t be too miserable if it were not for the fact that the A’s face Felix Hernandez in Seattle Friday and they haven’t scored a run off the King in two starts this year.

Having three of the final five games before the playoffs start be games in which they haven’t been able to score much is not the tone the A’s want to set.

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Game 88 wrapup: All-Star snub of Oakland suggests contributing to winning isn’t a valued commodity

Maybe it’s that West Coast night games don’t get much play back East.

Maybe it’s that ESPN doesn’t show enough highlights of the Oakland A’s.

Maybe it’s that other teams have a couple of great players and the A’s only have a whole bunch of good players.

Whatever the reason, the American League All-Star team announced Saturday is a slap in the face. Not just to the A’s or to the East Bay. But it’s a slap in the face to putting winning teams on the field

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Game 82 wrapup: Cardinals’ Wainwright, A’s Colon are different in style but the same in results

The first thing you have to understand is that Adam Wainwright and Bartolo Colon are nothing like one another.

Wainwright is 6-foot-7. Colon is 5-11.

Wainwright throws every pitch under the sun. Colon throws fastballs, then more fastballs.

Wainwright pitches in the National League for the Cardinals. Colon, close to being a lifer in the American League, pitches for the A’s.

Wainwright is, at 31, in the middle of his career. Colon is, at 40, close to the end.

But in one instance the right-handers could be twins.

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Game 68 wrapup: Freiman please to share a bit of Young’s big day; Jaso on `Dino’s curse’

Much of the focus around Chris Young’s three-hit, one-walk night Friday was on the home run he hit.

And it was a monster, 419 feet to left field.

But it was his third-inning double that was at least as interesting. As he cruised into second base, he raised both of his fists to cranium level and pumped them in the direction of the A’s dugout.

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Game 2 wrapup: Hiro’s OK for now, Resop in awe of Felix, Young to get first start in outfield

In pre-game workouts, the A’s had two disabled infielders, Adam Rosales and Hiro Nakajima, working out with the team.

Rosales, who has a rib cage injury, isn’t likely to be back soon, but Melvin said that Nakajima was closer and could head out with the team when Oakland flies to Houston Thursday.

That would depend on how Nakajima, dealing with a left hamstring strain, did in workouts this week. And things seemed to go astray when Nakajima walked off the field after only about 10 minutes or so while the rest of his teammates were early into their workout.

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Game 1 wrapup; Sogard’s surprising soft toss, Jaso gets Rolex and double off King Felix

John Jaso shows off new Rolex, a gift from Mariners' Felix Hernandez / AP Janie McCauley

There was no one more surprised than Jed Lowrie when Eric Sogard got his glove on a Jesus Montero grounder in the second inning and flipped the ball out of his glove toward Lowrie.

Sogard was trying to get a double play. It didn’t happen, but Lowrie reacted quickly enough that the A’s at least got the out at first base in what proved to be a 2-0 loss to Seattle.

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Felix rewards A’s Jaso for help in perfecto

John Jaso shows off new Rolex, a gift from Mariners' Felix Hernandez / AP Janie McCauley

Catcher John Jaso was going to have to be thinking about Felix Hernandez anyway, because the Mariners’ ace was Jaso’s opponent in his first start for Oakland on opening night Monday.

The Mariner right-hander had never lost on opening day (3-0 in six starts) and has been tough to score on (1.59 ERA). Thinking about being King Felix is a chore.

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Emerald City rematch for Bartolo Colon and Felix Hernandez

Greetings from the press box at Safeco Field, the only location in the majors where it’s cold enough to hang meat …

So the A’s and Mariners engage in yet another “opening night.” First there was the regular-season opener in Tokyo, then the A’s home opener last week, and now the Mariners’ home opener to begin this three-game series. Word is that a sellout crowd is expected tonight, as Bartolo Colon and Felix Hernandez square off for the second time in less than a week. This is the third start of the season for each pitcher, and they’ve faced the same opponent every time. That is N-U-T-T-Y, any way you slice it.

Josh Reddick and Cliff Pennington are back in the A’s lineup after leaving Wednesday’s game with minor injuries, so it’s a pretty standard Oakland starting nine …

A’s: Weeks 2B, Crisp LF, Reddick RF, Cespedes CF, Smith DH, Suzuki C, Barton 1B, Donaldson 3B, Pennington SS; Colon RHP.

Mariners: Figgins LF, Ackley 2B, Ichiro RF, Smoak 1B, Seager 3B, Montero DH, Saunders CF, Olivo C, Ryan SS; Hernandez RHP.

A’s manager Bob Melvin is still mum on his starting pitcher for Tuesday, the first day the A’s need a fifth starter. Things point toward Tyson Ross getting the call though. He had a pretty good outing Thursday for Triple-A Sacramento, going five innings and allowing three runs on five hits. Most importantly, he didn’t walk anybody, and commanding the strike zone is the biggest key for Ross as far as the A’s brass is concerned. He would be on turn to pitch Tuesday, and that’s a big key here. Jarrod Parker also has been solid in two starts for the River Cats (3.00 ERA, 10 Ks, 2 BB in 12 IP), but Melvin’s comments suggest Ross is the guy. “I think over the course of the season all of those guys are still in play,” Melvin said, presumably lumping Brad Peacock into the mix as well. “I think scheduling, for this turn, may factor into it.”

–I’m being dramatic, it’s not really that cold here at Safeco. I’m sure writers in Minnesota have it much worse this time of year. But they lull you into a false sense of security here, leaving the windows closed and then throwing them open shortly before the game starts. The roof is open tonight, and it’s windy. Time to channel my inner Candlestick toughness. …


All-AL West road trip provides an early test

It’s only April, but any road trip made up solely of AL West foes is important for the A’s. They begin a four-game series against the Mariners tonight, and then play three against the Los Angeles Angels, who found themselves alone in first place beginning play today. “It’s an early run through the division, but you want to fare well,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “It seems year to year that whoever does best in the division ends up winning.”

Not that you would care much about this, but Safeco Field might have the coldest press box in the American League. It’s just big and spacious and there’s not a lot of warmth, so you have to game-plan with what you wear in here. I brought a heavy jacket, but I try to hold off on wearing it until the later innings. Once you put your jacket on, it’s your last line of defense. When you start freezing in your jacket, forget about it. So I try to tough it out as long as I can. Grrrr ….

The A’s draw a hard assignment tonight against Felix Hernandez, who is 5-2 with a 2.26 ERA at home against the A’s in eight career starts (62 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings). He also threw a five-hitter to beat them opening night at the Coliseum. But the A’s counter with Brandon McCarthy, who has been a real pleasant surprise for Oakland at the back of the rotation. It’s a quality pitching matchup to start this road trip …

Hideki Matsui is out of the lineup, with Josh Willingham serving as DH and Conor Jackson getting a start in left field. Matsui is a .207 career hitter against Hernandez with one homer in 29 at-bats. Jackson is hitless in three at-bats against King Felix.

Michael Wuertz will pitch again for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. Wuertz gave up three runs on three hits with two walks in one inning against Reno on Wednesday. “Hopefully he’ll pitch more efficiently,” Geren said. “He hasn’t been sharp yet.” So the five lefties remain in the A’s bullpen …

The lineups, with Daric Barton just announced as a late scratch (no reason given).

A’s – Crisp CF, DeJesus RF, Jackson 1B, Willingham DH, Sweeney LF, Suzuki C, Ellis 2B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Pennington SS; McCarthy RHP.

Mariners – Ichiro RF, Figgins 3B, Kennedy 1B, Cust DH, Saunders CF, Olivo C, Peguero LF, Ryan SS, Wilson 2B; Hernandez RHP.