Ok, I'm no numerologist, but the fact that today is game #124 (which adds up to lucky 7) HAS to mean something, right? [Did I say that out loud and has my emotional state really sunk THAT low? Apparently.]
Let's start over. Friday night: Graveman hurls his first shutout as the A's bats literally force James Shields to hang his head multiple times as he no doubt contemplated his off-season to-do list: Check reviews on local moving companies; call family friend who can start house appraisal comps now; etc. etc. Excellent evening for the A's. Saturday:
A's spit on the shutout and use their barrels to bat in two and walk away with their heads held up. Chad Pinder debuts and we are left thinking, "Not bad kid. We will look for your first hit tomorrow. Not to worry." (See TuffBuffs game summary of Pinder at bats.) So here we are, Sunday. An 11:10 PST start. This will not be the start most expected, however, as Jesse Hahn was scratched yesterday due to his continuing shoulder issues.
So on the mound today is Zach Neal. Signed by the Miami Marlins in 2010, he's paid his dues to get to the show. He has been with the Jamestown Jammers, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Jupiter Hammerheads, Jacksonville Suns, Midland Rockhounds, Sacramento River Cats, Stockton Ports, and the Nashville Sounds.
Neal's most recent start on August 14th versus Seattle was a bit painful, getting tagged for 5 runs in 5 and 1/3 innings. His has a 7.98 ERA as a starter in contrast to his 3.15 ERA in relief. Overall the right hander is 2-2, 5.19 ERA, with 12 strikeouts. This is in contrast to his opponent, LHP Jose Quintana who is seeking win number 10 with his season stats of 9-9, 2.85 ERA and 136 strikeouts.
Billy Butler, to many an A's fan's relief, will be out again today with stomach issues. Might these be fan sympathy-pains, knowing what we have endured from him this season? Low blow, I know, but I can't help it. Even in the wake of some consistent hitting, he still makes the stomach churn almost every game!