In our continuing partnership with "Way Out in Left Field," Patrick Leary previews this weekend's series. Make sure to check out their blog here
Part two? Yeah, this is technically the continuation of the series from Japan. That's why it only lasts two games. Maybe that's common knowledge, or maybe I just solved a problem you'd been intensely grappling with for weeks. Either way, you're welcome (Kobe Bryant voice).
Where were we? Oh right, A's versus M's. Fun stuff. Nine runs in two games in Japan. Wait, Patrick, which team scored nine runs in two games in Japan? Both. Combined. Yeah, that's what this rivalry has become. In 2002, it was the plot of Moneyball. Now, you would get laughed at for trying to film it. No one cares. Baseball cared so little that they outsourced the start of this series to Japan. Oh no, we're doing this for the good of the game and continuing to spread it to Japan. Haha good one. Bullshit. It does help the A's, in that they will have fewer home games and therefore don't have to attempt to sell tickets to as many games as in previous years. Slightly less embarrassing.
OK, but really, those games sucked. The scores were 3-1 and 4-1. The mariners had three hits against Bartolo Colon. Shades of 2009, 2010, and 2011. And Bartolo Colon's Cy Young years. Yeah, that happened. On the bright side, Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak went deep and Felix and Jason Vargas pitched admirably. And that's the end of the bright side pretty much. Both teams are 1-1. Both teams will throw the same pitchers to the mound, except with the matchups flipped. Let's get this over with.
April 6: Jason Vargas (0-0) vs. Brandon McCarthy (0-0)
Both guys looked great in Japan, but every starter looked good now that I think about it. McCarthy contained the M's pretty well, scattering hits and only making one mistake on Ackley's homer. Vargas got the hook with one out in the seventh, and then the bullpen imploded behind him. He's used to that by now though, so that's okay. Both of these guys pitched in their team's losses in Japan. Both will look to continue their momentum. I think each will surrender a few runs, but neither will get lit up, since its still the first week, where nobody hits. Six innings and three runs allowed for Vargas.
April 7: Felix (0-0) vs. Bartolo "the Fossil" Colon (1-0)
These two looked slightly better than Vargas and McCarthy in Japan, and consequently their teams won both of their starts. Colon especially stood out, as he worked eight innings for the win, allowing just one run on three hits. The guy's career was on life support two years ago. Must've had some strong paddles, especially since he's such a fat ass. I don't think Colon can reproduce Japan in his first start in front of his new home fans. Felix, on the other hand, feasts on oakland. He loves pitching against them. He'll roll out another gem. I expect him to go eight innings allowing less than two runs. The M's just need to hit for him.
Three to watch:
Yoenis Cespedes: Making his home debut, Cespedes hopes to garner as much attention as he did in Japan, where he hit the game winning jack against Shawn Kelley, who now plays in AAA. Lost in that success was his complete inability to hit the curveball in that series. That's definitely something to keep an eye on. As a rookie, he'll need to make continued adjustments to major league pitching. I think he has a ways to go, and Felix and Vargas handled him pretty well in Japan. Steady diet of curveballs for Yoenis.
For the rest of this article, including more players to watch and a series outlook, head over to their blog here