Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Slap Hitter: A's pre-season begins in reverse

Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 9:14 AM

Only the A's. Let everyone else open Spring Training today with an airing out of their ace from a long winter's rest, it would figure that the Team-that-goes-it's-own-way, would begin their first action by putting their number 5 starters to work. How can you not love a team that puts its worst foot forward?

Obviously there's a method to the Oakland madness. First off, our number one starter Justin Duchscherer isn't that great, so the drop off shouldn't be too pronounced. Secondly, he was hurt most of the summer, so six weeks of spring flinging probably isn't the best way to ready him for the long campaign ahead. And thirdly, why not have the battling back end of the rotation go at it right from the get go.

In one corner today, we have the felicitously named Josh Outman, who was the last (and losing) starting pitcher to wrap up 2008. In the other we have Gio Gonzalez who in his final start of '08 threw 59 pitches and all of them sucked.

The A's crumpled at the end of last season and have had some time to re-imagine their configuration for 2009. It may not be pretty but you've got to give it up to a squad willing to to take their worst shot first. It can only get better from here, right?— Kibby Kleiman

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