Game Thread #87: A's vs. Blue Jays

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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The Oakland Athletics (53-33) will try to make it three in a row against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays (47-41) in the third game of this four-game set. A pair of lefties takes the hill today, Scott Kazmir for Oakland and Mark Buehrle for Toronto.

Buehrle (10-5, 2.50, 67 K, 17 starts) is coming off an eight-inning two-run effort against the Chicago White Sox on June 29, ultimately taking the loss in the middle of Toronto's June swoon. Coco Crisp, leading off tonight, has been generally successful against Buehrle: 16-for-55 (.291) with three strikeouts, eight walks, and three home runs.

Including an at best split against the Athletics, the Jays have won only two series out of their last nine. Since being swept by the Blue Jays in Toronto from May 23-25, the A's have won seven of their last 11 series, and six of their last nine.

Kazmir (9-3, 2.61, 91 K, 17 starts) only managed 5⅓ innings in a one-run effort on June 30 against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, where he earned no decision. In his start against Toronto at Rogers Centre on May 23, Kazmir went seven innings and conceded three runs. The Blue Jays roster collectively has only about 100 plate appearances against Kazmir. The most experienced is Melky Cabrera, who is 9-for-25 (.360) with five strikeouts, no walks, and one home run. He bats second tonight playing left field.

Today's Lineups

TORONTO BLUE JAYS OAKLAND A'S
Jose Reyes - SS Coco Crisp - CF
Melky Cabrera - LF Craig Gentry - LF
Jose Bautista - DH Yoenis Cespedes - DH
Edwin Encarnacion - 1B Josh Donaldson - 3B
Dioner Navarro - C Derek Norris - C
Colby Rasmus - CF Nate Freiman - 1B
Brad Glenn - RF Jed Lowrie - SS
Juan Francisco - 3B Alberto Callaspo - 2B
Munenori Kawasaki - 2B Stephen Vogt - RF

Brandon Moss will not be available tonight after injuring his left ankle Friday, and remains day-to-day. Stephen Vogt will take his duties in right field while Nate Freiman bats against the left-handed Buerhle. Yoenis Cespedes is your designated hitter today and Craig Gentry plays in left field.

On the bench are left-handed hitters Eric Sogard and John Jaso, and switch-hitting Nick Punto.

Bullpen watch

Every reliever except Jim Johnson pitched in yesterday's 12-inning affair. With Tommy Milone optioned to Sacramento today to make room for Jeff Samardzija, Brad Mills is listed as an eighth reliever for this evening's game. The Blue Jays have received some remarkably deep starts over the last week, with no starting pitcher throwing under six innings, and five starts of at least seven innings pitched.

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Notable notables

From today's Oakland Athletics Expanded Game Notes:

  • Chasing history: The A's 53-33 start is tied for Oakland's fifth best (56-30 wins in 1971). A win tonight would mark a tie for Oakland's fourth best start (the best is 56-31 in '71).
  • Shutouts galore: Yesterday's shutout was the A's eighth of the season, and the 12th extra-inning shutout in Oakland history.
  • Weird anniversaries: The A's protest on July 3 was the A's first since a protest exactly 11 years prior. The A's victory without an RBI (the 15th in Oakland history) on July 4 came exactly one year after the A's previous one, against the Cubs. Perhaps today the A's can match their performance 18 years ago today on this date, when they scored 13 runs in the first inning against the California Angels.
  • Strikeouts galore: A's pitchers have 660 strikeouts, the most in Athletics history before the All-Star Break. Last year's 650 strikeouts before the break was the previous record.
  • Outfield assistance: The A's 24 assists are one short of their total from last year.
  • Rickey gonna Rickey: This day in 1993, Rickey Henderson became just the second player in Major League history to lead off both games of a double header with a home run. This day in 1994, Rickey Henderson became Oakland's all-team leader in games played when he played his 1411th for the Green and Gold.
  • Hitting streaks: Crisp - 2 games; Freiman - 2, Vogt - 5. Hard to keep a streak going when your team scores only one run.

First pitch is at 7:05 pm Pacific Time. Let's go A's!

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