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A's feeling right about facing lefties

A's feeling right about facing lefties

OAKLAND -- The A's will face a left-handed starter for the third consecutive game Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series against the visiting Tigers.

Facing lefty starters is old hat to the A's by now. Their matinee meeting with Detroit's Nate Robertson will mark the 22nd time they've squared of with a southpaw this season, tops in the American League.

Familiarity hasn't translated to a great deal of success, however. Oakland is four games over .500 (22-16) in games started by opposing right-handers this season, but they are under the break-even mark in games started by lefties.

More telling is that the A's entered Tuesday's game against lefty Dontrelle Willis with the second-lowest team batting average against lefties (.237) in the league, with all but seven of their 40 homers coming off righties.

"I'm note sure the numbers really reflect the quality of the at-bats we've been having against lefties, especially lately," A's manager Bob Geren said. "We did a nice job against Kenny [Rogers of Detroit on Monday], and we've got a few guys who have been doing a nice job against lefties all year."

Unfortunately, two of those guys -- Mike Sweeney (.321 vs. lefties) and Ryan Sweeney (.308) -- are among Oakland's eight players currently on the disabled list. Among the active regulars, outfielder Emil Brown has been the most successful against southpaws. He was batting .303 (20-for-66) against them going into the second game of the Detroit series and singled off Willis in his first at-bat.

Pitching matchup
OAK: RHP Justin Duchscherer (4-4, 2.27 ERA)
Duchscherer, a 2005 AL All-Star as a setup man, has been tremendous in his first full season as a starter. He allowed two runs over six innings against the Rangers in a 3-1 loss on Friday, marking the fourth time in nine starts that Duchscherer has gone at least six innings. Even more impressive, he's allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his nine starts, and he hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his starts. He has never walked more than two batters in 205 career appearances.

DET: LHP Nate Robertson (3-5, 5.92 ERA)
Robertson battled through flu-like symptoms in his most recent outing, Friday at Seattle, to last 5 2/3 innings, and it was long enough to earn a win because the Tigers gave him a seven-run lead before he took the mound for his first pitch. He has alternated quality and non-quality starts over his last five assignments, and after allowing four Mariners runs -- two of them on Adrian Beltre home runs -- he's due for a more effective outing. Problem is, he's 0-3 with a 6.12 ERA in four regular-season starts at Oakland, though he was successful in the East Bay in the 2006 AL Championship Series.

Dribblers ...
Left-hander Lenny DiNardo, designated for assignment Friday, has cleared waivers, declined free agency and accepted Oakland's outright assignment to Triple-A Sacramento. ... Right-handed reliever Andrew Brown, out since May 14 due to an appendectomy, is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for the Class A Stockton Ports at Bakersfield on Wednesday. ... Geren said righty reliever Santiago Casilla's first bullpen session since being placed on the DL on May 16 with right elbow soreness went "real well." Casilla, who threw 30 pitches from the mound Monday, was scheduled to play easy catch Tuesday. ... Although the A's have Thursday and Monday off, Geren said he has no plans to make any changes to the starting rotation. ... Entering Tuesday's game, catcher Kurt Suzuki had three consecutive multihit games for the first time in his career and was batting .378 over his past 11 games. ... Rich Harden passed the 500-inning mark in his big league career in the first inning of Monday's game. ... A's scouting director Eric Kubota, whose staff is gathering in Oakland for Thursday's annual First-Year Player Draft, agreed with the notion that holding the Draft after the conclusion of the College World Series might draw more casual fans. "You could certainly say it could build on that momentum," Kubota said. The A's have the 12th selection in the first round this year.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MLB.TV

On radio
• KFRC 106.9 FM/KYCY 1550 AM

Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Athletics (Joe Blanton, 3-7, 4.27) vs. Angels (John Lackey, 1-1, 1.80), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Athletics (Greg Smith, 3-4, 3.56) vs. Angels (Ervin Santana, 8-2, 3.02), 6:05 p.m. PT

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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