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Athletics vs. Mariners, Starting Lineup Preview: Brandon McCarthy Meets King Felix Hernandez

Editor's Note: Daric Barton is a late scratch with an illness. Sweeney into lineup, Jackson to first.

The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners open up their four game series at Safeco Field with a battle of an ace and a rebounding starter. The Mariners send out the usually dominant Felix Hernandez to face an A’s offense that has been inconsistent at best this season. They’ve struggled to get timely hits and it has left their dominant starting pitching with a thin margin for error…a recurring theme thus far.

The A’s send out the resurgent Brandon McCarthy who is making his fourth start of the season. McCarthy was out of the majors for all of last season but has returned to the form that had him highly touted coming out of the minors. He’s 1-0 with a 2.45ERA thus far and has gone at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his first three starts. If he can remain healthy, he could be an ideal fourth starter for a team featuring a dominant 1-2-3. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Big Three Days when they’d have Hudson, Mulder and Zito and then quietly the fourth starter would put together a strong showing each year. Dating back to 2000, the A’s have rolled out guys like Cory Lidle and Ted Lilly who both were key parts to the rotation. Brandon McCarthy could be a repeat in that vein if he can stay healthy in 2011.

Oakland Athletics
1. Coco Crisp, CF
2.  David DeJesus, RF
3.  Josh Willingham, LF
4.  Conor Jackson, 1B
5. Ryan Sweeney, LF
6. Kurt Suzuki, C
7. Mark Ellis, 2B
8. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Seattle Mariners
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Chone Figgins, 3B
3. Adam Kenny, 1B
4. Jack Cust, DH
5. Michael Saunders, CF
6. Miguel Olivo, C
7. Carlos Peguero, LF
8. Brendan Ryan, SS
9. Jack Wilson, 2B