Game Preview: A's vs. Cardinals - June 17, 2004

The A's aim to break their five game road losing streak, as they send ace Tim Hudson to the mound to face veteran Jeff Suppan.

Oakland Athletics (37-26), L-2 vs. St. Louis Cardinals (38-27), W-3

Date: Thursday, June 17, 2004
First Pitch: 5:10 P.S.T.
Place: Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO

The A's look to avoid the sweep tonight in St. Louis as they dropped their second straight game, 6-2. Starter Rich Harden pitched well but allowed a Jim Edmonds homerun and a two-run double by the pitcher, Jason Marquis. Oakland looked like they might come back and steal one from the Cardinals when Jermaine Dye and Scott Hatteberg hit back-to-back homers in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 3-2. Unfortunately for the A's, the bullpen got rocked again as Arthur Rhodes gave up a two-out, three- run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to Reggie Sanders to make the score 6-2.

Oakland will send ace Tim Hudson to the hill to try to stop the bleeding, squaring off against right-hander Jeff Suppan. Luckily for the A's, Texas and Anaheim also suffered defeats on Wednesday as the power has swung toward the National League in inter-league play by moving the games to National League parks. Suppan is in his tenth season and played for Boston and Kansas City before moving to the National League. The A's will need Hudson to go deep into tonight's game to give the battered bullpen some rest and to restore some order to the pitching staff. Pitching Matchup:
Cardinals - Jeff Suppan, RHP (6-5, 3.53 ERA)
Athletics - Tim Hudson, RHP (7-2, 2.80 ERA)

Jeff Suppan -
The A's are catching Suppan at a bad time as the 10-year veteran is in a groove winning three of his last four starts. During that stretch he has lowered his ERA from 3.83 to 3.53 and his only loss was a 3-2 setback against the Astros where he went seven innings while only giving up three runs. The surprising statistic about Suppan is that his record at home is a dismal 1-5 with a 5.09 ERA and he is only averaging 5.2 innings pitched per start in St. Louis. The A's must be patient as his pitch count has been hovering around 100 pitches all season, but he has averaged only 1.7 walks in his last ten starts. His three main pitches are a low-90's fastball, a slider, and a changeup. Except for his first start and one against Philadelphia, the most earned runs Suppan has given up in a game has been three. Of the 29 earned runs allowed this year, a large amount have come via the long ball as he has given up 12 homeruns on the year.

Tim Hudson -
Since his blow-up in Boston, Hudson has bounced back in dominant fashion by averaging eight innings per start and only giving up three earned runs. Hudson is 2-0 over those last three starts, including a complete game shutout against Toronto. While Hudson has an awesome 1.34 ERA at home this year, he is much more susceptible on the road as he has a 4.20 ERA in seven games with a 3-2 record. Hudson hasn't given up a homerun since May 8th against Minnesota and has only walked four batters since he added a slight hesitation to his pitching motion.

Pitcher v. Batter Matchups:
Hudson v.:
Cedeno, R - 6 for 6 - 1 RBI, 1 BB
Anderson, M - 1 for 3
Womack, T - 1 for 10
Mabry, J - 2 for 10 - 2 K
Sanders, R - 2 for 7
Edmonds, J - 1 for 2 - 1 2B, 1 BB

Suppan v.:
McLemore, M - 10 for 28 - 2 2B, 2 3B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K
Hatteberg, S - 1 for 3 - 1 2B
Kielty, B - 1 for 9 - 1 BB, 2 K
Kotsay, M - 2 for 8 - 3 BB
Dye, J - 1 for 6 - 1 RBI, 1 K

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