The Oakland Athletics kick off what could prove to be a key early season road trip through the American League West. The A's head up to Safeco Field to take on the Seattle Mariners for four games before heading down to Orange County to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (henceforth referred to as the LAAAAAAAs). Divisions are technically not won or lost in April, but if the A's playoff chances come down to the wire in September, a strong performance over the coming week could be the difference-maker.
The A's-Mariners series features all sorts of interesting matchups. Seattle sends out current phenom Felix Hernandez to face Brandon McCarthy on Thursday, and then they send out budding phenom Michael Pineda to face Tyson Ross on Friday. That game will feature Ross making his first start of the season in place of Dallas Braden, who was placed on the 15-day DL with stiffness in his left shoulder. Braden visited with Dr. Lewis Yocum who diagnosed him with basic shoulder inflammation. Ross will likely get in two starts, and maybe a third while Braden recovers.
The A's batters had mixed success against the Mariners last season, and given their current struggles it will be interesting to see if they can get their bats going against any of the Mariners pitchers. The A's will have trouble enough with King Felix, who is 10-4 with a 2.77 ERA in his career against Oakland. Over the course of 504 total plate appearances, the A's have a line of .232/.298/.338. The A's have added new bats this year, but I'm not wildly optimistic that things will be much different in 2011. Fortunately, the A's will have plenty of chances to make things happen the rest of the week.
4 game series vs Mariners @ SAFECO Field
|Fri 04/22 - Tyson Ross vs.Michael Pineda||7:10 PM PDT|
|Sat 04/23 - Trevor Cahill vs. Jason Vargas||6:10 PM PDT|
|Sun 04/24 - Brett Anderson vs. Doug Fister||1:10 PM PDT|