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5 Questions with Athletics Nation

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The Yankees take on Oakland tonight at Yankee Stadium to open a four-game series. Here's a quick set of '5 questions' with '67Marquez' of our Oakland blog, Athletics Nation, to help you get to know the A's a bit.

Pinstripe Alley: The Yanks always seem to struggle against pitchers they aren't familiar with. Who are the A's throwing in this series that fits that description?

Athletics Nation: Well if that is truly the case, that can only be good for the A's. You get Vin Mazzaro on Thursday, who is making his 10th career start. The Yankees beat Friday's starter Brett Anderson in April, but he's been terrific of late: a 2-hit shutout at Fenway (you're welcome) and 6-2/3 perfect innings against the Angels. Then there's Gio Gonzalez on Saturday, and Dallas Braden on Sunday. The former, like Mazarro, has never faced New York, and the latter has pitched to 15 Yankees in 3 relief appearances.

PA: Are the A's going to be sellers at the trade deadline? If so, does it bug you that despite having good teams a lot of years Oakland always seems to be getting rid of guys?

AN: We've probably seen the last of Matt Holliday, but it's hard to wax nostalgic over a guy who just got here. I can lie and say as an A's fan, I've gotten used to it, but you never really do. Best thing to do is not to get attached in the first place. But I am envious that- although it's a lot more rare in this day and age- some teams have been able to keep their stars for the duration; Ripken Jr.and Gwynn for example.

PA: Catfish Hunter should be remembered as an Athletic or a Yankee? Why?

AN: Ah Catfish, our first to leave for greener pastures, if you know what I mean. No matter what the Hall-of-Fame cap says (or in his case, doesn't say), he is an A. Threw his Perfect Game here, won a Cy Young here, 3 led World Series champions here; I think you understand where I am going with this.

PA: I know we won't see Jason Giambi this series because he is hurt. But, is he really as washed up as his .193 batting average would seem to indicate?

AN: Jason is done. It happens to everyone. It's too bad. I was hoping for a more memorable swan song. I've always liked him. Sure it hurt to see him leave, especially for the Yankees, but I could not help pull for him.

PA: This season is, obviously, not turning out well for the Athletics. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about their ability to contend again in the next couple of years? Why?

AN: I believe you will get a glimpse of the future this weekend with our young arms. They are why we remain optimistic that better days are ahead.

-- Don't forget to check out my answers to AN's questions.

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