Game Thread #49: A's at Blue Jays

Where knuckleballs are politely smashed. - Tom Szczerbowski
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It's opening day in Toronto! The roof is open at Rogers Centre for the first time this year with temperatures in the mid-60s and calm winds expected as the Oakland Athletics face the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of this three-game set. Jays starting knuckleballer R.A. Dickey says he does not care, but the Jays conveniently closed the roof for some of his starts in the middle of summer last year. Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun reports:

In nine starts with the roof closed, Dickey posted a 3.18 ERA (22 earned runs over 62.1 innings pitch). With the roof open, he also had nine starts but allowed 40 earned runs in 54 innings pitched for a 6.67 ERA. He also allowed seven home runs with the roof closed, 16 in the sunshine.

Jesse Chavez starts against the only other club that gave him a chance to start at the major league level. According to the transitive property of facing former clubs (see Steve Tolleson and Donnie Murphy), Chavez should throw a shutout. In case he does not, the bullpen is fully rested thanks to Scott Kazmir's seven innings yesterday.

Bob Melvin is back from his daughter's graduation in New York after keeping tabs on the A's like new parents checking with the babysitter on their first date since the birth of their kid.

Today's Lineups

Coco Crisp - CF Jose Reyes - SS
Derek Norris - C Melky Cabrera - LF
Josh Donaldson - 3B Jose Bautista - RF
Brandon Moss - 1B Adam Lind - 1B
Yoenis Cespedes - DH Edwin Encarnacion - DH
Josh Reddick - RF Juan Francisco - 3B
Alberto Callaspo - 2B Brett Lawrie - 2B
Eric Sogard - SS Josh Thole - C
Craig Gentry - LF Anthony Gose - CF
Jesse Chavez - RHP R.A. Dickey - RHP
  • Catching: John Jaso remains out of the lineup today after missing yesterday with a bad back. Derek Norris will bat second for the second time this year. Jaso is unlikely to be available off the bench.

  • Left field: Yoenis Cespedes is your designated hitter, Craig Gentry will man left field.
  • Middle infield: Eric Sogard makes his first start at shortstop this year with Punto doubtful after left calf soreness worsened as yesterday's game went on. Alberto Callaspo starts at second base for the second time this season. Jed Lowrie still has some neck soreness, but is available off the bench.
  • Matchups vs. R.A. Dickey: Josh Donaldson is 3-for-4 with a walk; Brandon Moss 2-for-9 with a home run; Alberto Callaspo 2-for-6 with a walk. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that Athletics' switch-hitters may consider turning around against the knuckleballing Dickey, though Callaspo was not interviewed for the piece as Punto was expected to start prior to the injury keeping him from the lineup today.
  • The bench: Kyle Blanks and Jed Lowrie.
  • We're going streaking

    • Jesse Chavez goes for his third consecutive victory, which would be a first for his career.
    • Fernando Abad continues to sit on a 14-game losing decision streak dating back to April 9, 2011.
    • Sean Doolittle has not allowed a run in his last ten appearances.
    • Josh Donaldson has reached base safely in the last twenty-eight regular season road games the A's have played dating back to September 28, 2013. Eric Chavez was the last to perform this feat from August 4, 2001 to April 10, 2002. The last Athletics with a longer streak for Oakland belongs to Mark McGwire, lasting fifty-five games from September 3, 1995 to July 26, 1996.
    • Craig Gentry has nineteen consecutive stolen bases without being caught going back to August 14, 2013.

    Streak information courtesy Oakland Athletics Game Notes for today's game.

    Facts about the CN Tower I learned from Wikipedia

    • The CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. It is 1815.4 feet to the stop of the antenna spire, and 1500.0 feet to the roof. The CN Tower was the tallest free-standing structure in the world until the Burj Khalifa's construction passed it on September 12, 2007.
    • The CN Tower belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers. It holds second-place ranking.
    • CN Tower builders used a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter named "Olga" to place the antenna on the roof in thirty-six sections.
    • The CN Tower's glass elevator is the world's highest glass floor paneled elevator at 1,135 feet. It takes you to the world's highest bar, the Horizons Restaurant.
    • The CN Tower's 360 Restauarant is the world's highest and largest revolving restaurant and holds the world's highest wine cellar at 1,152 feet.

    Sit back, relax, and enjoy another day of international baseball!

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