It seems appropriate as of late that the Oakland Athletics play their home games at the Overstock.com Coliseum. . .because, lately, they really have been all about the "O."
The Athletics, as a team, are hitting .315 since the All-Star break, and have collected at least eight hits in every game in that stretch. That includes the twelve they racked up on Saturday night in the process of thumping Nick Blackburn and the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 8-3.
In an attempt to win this three-game series, the Twins will send right-hander Carl Pavano (6-7, 4.60 ERA) to the mound. Pavano was blistered in his last start on Tuesday, allowing eight runs on nine hits in just five innings of work against the Texas Rangers, but wound up with a no-decision as the Twins' furious comeback got them a 9-8 victory. He has faced the Athletics twice this season, and has been pretty successful. On April 8, Pavano worked eight solid innings, allowing just one run on four hits at Target Field in Minnesota's 2-1 win. On May 18 at the Overstock.com Coliseum, Pavano allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits in seven innings, but got a no-decision in a 4-3 Minnesota victory.
He will be opposed by Oakland right-hander Brandon McCarthy (3-5, 3.52 ERA). McCarthy has only made 14 starts this season, having gone on the disabled list on May 20 with a shoulder injury and not returning until July 4. In his last start, he was great against the Tampa Bay Rays, giving up just one run on six hits in eight innings in Oakland's 6-1 victory. He has started twice against the Twins this season, and has also fared relatively well. On April 10 at Target Field, he pitched 7.1 solid innings, giving up two runs on nine hits in a 5-3 Athletics win. He also started opposite Pavano in the May 18 match-up mentioned earlier, and also got a no-decision, allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings.
First pitch from Oakland is scheduled for 3:00 PM Central time. Be sure to keep an eye on Twinkie Town for the party that is the Game Thread, and we'll be here for the recap when the game is finished.