Justin Duchscherer, who hasn’t pitched since 2008, will look to continue the A’s strong pitching. Last night, Dallas Braden struck out a career high 10 en route to an A’s victory over the Seattle Mariners in extra-innings.
Duchscherer, who is 1-3 with a 4.37 ERA as a starter against Seattle, will counter the Mariner’s Ryan Rowand-Smith, who is 2-1 with a 3.11 ERA lifetime against the A’s.
The A’s hope Duchscherer can last six innings, especially after last night’s 10 inning affair. The A’s offense, however, will need to be much more productive. A’s catcher, Kurt Suzuki, who hit 15 homers last season, belted the A’s first homer of the season last night. Last season, the A’s hit a total of 135 homers. The A’s will need to see more production from Ryan Sweeney, Kevin Kouzmanoff and new full-time DH, Eric Chavez.
Sweeney went 0-for-5, with two strikeouts last night. Kouzmanoff, who cost the game for the A’s on opening night, went 2-for-4 last night. Chavez, who was in a 0-for-20 stretch dating back to last season, went 1-for-5 last night. Chavez, who is coming back from an injury plagued season, actually looks healthy. A notorious slow starter, Chavez showed last night that he still has some power left in the bat, as he flew out deep to opposite field. Once he gets his timing down, Chavez should be able to turn on a few pitches.
After a shakey Opening Night, the A’s defense seemed a lot better last night during their 2-1 victory over Seattle. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Cliff Pennington both made nice plays, and Rajai Davis made a crucial diving catch in the top of 10th inning last night. Collectively, the A’s defense should be one of their biggest strenghts, and hopefully they’ll continue their solid play when Duchscherer takes the mound later tonight.
In other news, former A’s ace, Barry Zito dominated the Houston Astros to notch his first win of the season. Zito credits his performance to his new found focus. The Giants No.2 starter has said that he feels hungry for the first time in a long while. As a big Zito fan, I would love to see him pitch well this season for the Giants, especially since he’s making over $18 million this year.
Coco Crisp, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract this offseason with the A’s, will be back in six to eight weeks. A fracture usually takes time to heal, and Crisp who fractured his finger during a slide against the Giants in an exhibition game, should be back sometime in May.
Former A’s player, Rich Harden will get the start today for the Rangers as Texas hosts Toronto for game two of their opening series.