Bartolo Colon went 8 strong innings Wednesday before back pain forced him to take a seat on the Sox…
Series Preview: A's (66-48) @ Sox (60-54)
It will be a challenge for the red-hot Sox hitters, but one they will no doubt be up to this weekend. Probable Pitchers:
Friday: Mark Mulder (15-7) vs. Mark Buerhle (9-11)
Things were going perfect for Buerhle in his last start against Seattle until the fifth inning came. In it, Buerhle walked two of the first three batters before a Willie Bloomquist single loaded the bases. From their, it was all one big nightmare for the Sox lefty who allowed a 2-run single to Ichiro to open the floodgates. Prior to Sunday's loss, Buerhle had won a career-best 7 straight.
Mark Mulder leads the Oakland pitching staff with 15 wins and 118 strikes. His 2.92 earned run average is second only to Tim Hudson at 2.64. Mulder is a perfect 4-0 lifetime against the Sox with a 2.09 ERA in five starts.
Saturday: Ted Lilly (6-9) vs. Jon Garland (8-7)
If there's one game in this series that the Sox absolutely have to win, it would be this one. Lilly has struggled this season in the A's rotation with a 4.88 ERA. He has struggled mightily against the Sox in his career, sporting a 6.06 earned run average over the course of his three starts against them.
Despite a winning mark, Jon Garland still continues to struggle at times with the Sox this year. With a lifetime ERA of over 8.00 against the A's, look for this to be a high-scoring affair Saturday.
Sunday: Rich Harden (3-0) vs. Esteban Loaiza (14-5)
Sunday looks to be the premiere pitching matchup in this series as rookie Rich Harden faces AL-All Star Esteban Loaiza. Loaiza has actually faired pretty well against the A's lifetime. He is 5-4 with a 3.81 ERA. With his 8-3 mark at home this year, he would tend to have an advantage over the rookie Harden.
Harden is a terrific young product of the A's organization who is 3-0 in his four starts with Oakland this year. Harden has a terrific earned run average of 1.33 to go with 22 strikeouts and 9 walks in 27 innings of work this season.
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