Game Thread #48: A's at Blue Jays

"See Scotty, if you'd grown a big beard like I told you to, your face would be warm right now." - Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Get ready for the 2014 Home Run Derby, being held this year at the A's/Jays series in Toronto.

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The A's are opening a three-game series against the Blue Jays, marking the final stop on their current nine-game homestand. Things are going well so far, as Oakland is 5-1 on this trip. However, the Jays are in first place in the AL East and they will serve as a serious test for the Athletics' pitching staff.

Toronto leads the Majors in home runs, and the A's are eighth. Rogers Centre is a big-time hitter's park. There will be blood. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but at least one of these games is going to get out of hand. Hopefully that occurs in Oakland's favor.

The A's have Scott Kazmir pitching, and he's had plenty of rest. Hopefully he will be on his best behavior tonight and won't do anything disrespectful like mutter softly to himself or put his hands anywhere near his hips. He should also avoid rolling his eyes, biting his thumb, giving any lip, using his finger and his thumb to make an "L" on his forehead, waggling his fingers and saying "neener neener," or blowing a raspberry with his tongue. Just be cool, Scott.

The Blue Jays counter with Liam Hendriks, and I don't know whether to go with the Australian angle or the Jimi Hendrix references. "Scuse me, while I kiss the sky this poisonous animal and die." Eh, we can do better. As for pitching, Hendriks was bad enough that the Twins decided to pay boatloads of money for the Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey Experience rather than keep him for the league minimum, so there's that. He's never been able to keep his ERA down under 5.50. But on the other hand, he gives up lots of hits and homers and doesn't get a lot of strikeouts, so maybe there's something there after all. He's been awesome in Triple-A this year and the A's probably won't draw a lot of walks against him. They're going to have to swing the bats, which is fine because most teams have found swinging to be a solid strategy against Hendriks.

Today's Lineups

OAKLAND A'S TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Coco Crisp - CF Jose Reyes - SS
Jed Lowrie - SS Melky Cabrera - LF
Josh Donaldson - 3B Jose Bautista - RF
Brandon Moss - 1B E. Encarnacion - 1B
Yoenis Cespedes - LF Brett Lawrie - 3B
Josh Reddick - RF Dioner Navarro - DH
Derek Norris - C Steve Tolleson - 2B
Nick Punto - 2B Erik Kratz - C
Kyle Blanks - DH Kevin Pillar - CF
Scott Kazmir - LHP Liam Hendriks - RHP

Let's Go Oakland!

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