Game Preview: A's vs. Angels - June 30, 2004

The A's drew first blood in this three game series with the Angels, winning by a score of 5-4. They look to win the series, as they send Barry Zito to the mound against John Lackey.

Oakland Athletics (42-33) W-1 vs. Anaheim Angels (41-35) L-2

Date: June 30, 2004
Time: 7:05 p.m.
Location: Network Associates Coliseum

Preview: The A's turned the tables on the Anaheim Angels, taking advantage of a shaky bullpen performance from the normally reliable duo of Brendan Donnelly and Francisco Rodriguez to score two runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to take a 5-4 lead. The A's bullpen shutdown the Angels, as Justin Lehr and Octavio Dotel combined for six straight outs, and the A's handed Mark Mulder his 10th win of the season. Rookie Bobby Crosby had the game winning hit, a two-out, two-strike single off of Rodriguez with the bases loaded.

The A's bullpen was playing shorthanded, as it was revealed before the game that both Justin Duchscherer and Arthur Rhodes are battling back problems and were unavailable for the evening's contest. Rhodes will reportedly have an MRI on his back on Wednesday. The A's were also missing Bobby Kielty, who strained a muscle in his side on Sunday. It was also announced that Rich Harden, who partially dislocated his left shoulder on Saturday, will have his next start pushed back, probably until Saturday against the Giants. Kirk Saarloos, who debuted with the A's on Sunday, will take his place in the rotation against the Angels on Thursday. This means that Saarloos, who was pitching out of the bullpen, is also unavailable tomorrow out of the bullpen. It is likely that the A's will once again only have five bullpen pitchers available (Lehr, Dotel, Ricardo Rincon, Jim Mecir and Chad Bradford); therefore, it is imperative that starter Barry Zito last into the 7th inning on Wednesday.

Pitching Match-up

Barry Zito, Oakland, 4-5, 4.55 ERA
John Lackey, Anaheim, 5-8, 5.16 ERA

Barry Zito: Zito is coming off a decent start against the San Francisco Giants. Although he gave up six runs, only one was earned, as a botched doubleplay led to five first inning runs. Zito was once again victimized by the long-ball, as Deivi Cruz and Pedro Feliz took him deep in that first inning. After that inning, however, Zito settled down and appeared to have better control as the game went on. Barry made two starts against the Angels in April with mixed results. His first start against the Halos came in Anaheim on April 18, where he gained the win, going six innings and giving up only one run. His next start against Anaheim came five days later at the Coliseum and he was roughed up for nine runs in only four innings.

John Lackey: Lackey's last start was also against the A's and he continued his lifetime success against Oakland by pitching eight strong innings in a 10-3 win by giving up two runs on seven hits and walking none. In six career starts against the A's, Lackey is 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA but has averaged only 5.2 innings per start. Lackey has struggled away from Anaheim this year as he is only 2-4 with a 7.71 ERA in eight games while allowing eight homeruns.

(Editor's Note: Due to conflicting reports on the probables for the series for Anaheim, this preview of Lackey appeared yesterday.)

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