By Jason Wojciechowski on August 11, 2013 at 8:12 AM
Starting pitchers: A.J. Griffin vs. R.A. Dickey
First pitch: 10:07 PT
A's in the West: One game back of Texas
A's in the Wild Card: Leaders for second Wild Card
Baseball Prospectus playoff odds: 37% division, 38% Wild Card
I will frequently not have access to the posted lineup when I do these previews, but today I do, so I can tell you that Jed Lowrie is designatedly hitting with Eric Sogard at shortstop and the lineup is otherwise pretty normal against a right-handed pitcher, though I'd note that some people think against a knuckleballer, you want to go reverse of the typical platoon. Bob Melvin obviously does not feel this way, as he's got Chris Young, Nate Freiman, and Derek Norris on the bench. (Norris is feeling some back tightness, too, though.1) From 2010 to 2013, Dickey has allowed a 650 OPS to right-handed hitters and a 720 OPS to lefties, so the data backs Melvin's choice. Maybe the righty/lefty thing was just Tim Wakefield: from 1995 to 2011, Wakefield allowed a 725 OPS to lefties and a 762 to righties.
Josh Donaldson is the backup catcher today, Melvin confirms.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 11, 2013
Griffin has been adequate but not stellar over his last four games. After eight innings of shutout ball against the Red Sox on July 13th, Griffin has a 5.4 RA/9 mainly because he's giving up two homers every five innings. Literally: 10 bombs in 25 frames is what he's done over his last four starts. Toronto got him for three sockos just two weeks ago. The rest of Griffin's numbers are great: 24 whiffs, only four walks (plus one HBP), a .175 BABIP. But this is where BABIP doesn't tell the story: Griffin's BACON (batting average on contact) is .288, compared to a league average of .321. That is, the BACON is still below average, but it's not as eye-popping as a .175 BABIP (compared to the .295 AL average).
All that said, my prediction is that the A's win.