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Game Thread #88: A's vs. Blue Jays

"Sure, kid, I'd be happy to show you what a real mustache looks like."
"Sure, kid, I'd be happy to show you what a real mustache looks like."
Jason O. Watson

It's looking more and more like a tandem leap: The Blue Jays are joining the San Francisco Giants in total free-fall. Two teams that started the season playing like baseball's best are crashing to earth with an epic thud, and in Toronto's case their defense has looked strikingly familiar to those of us with kids in little league. Now Edwin Encarnacion appears headed to the DL, as Toronto finds itself looking up at a 1 game deficit to the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.

However, there is no time for sympathy in baseball. The A's have been like sharks, grabbing the first 3 games of this 4-game series, holding the Blue Jays to 2 runs in 30 innings so far. Speaking of sharks ... That is the nickname ascribed to wide receiver turned Cubs starting pitcher turned A's shiniest new toy, Jeff Samardzija. Not only does Samardzija give you quite the bounty if you can lay the 'z' across a triple-letter score, he also strikes a lot of people out.

Samardzija gets the ball today for his Oakland debut, matched up against fellow household name Drew Hutchison. At 6-6, 3.81 ERA, Hutchison does boast 3x as many wins as the 2-7 Samardzija, but that's about where the good news ends for Toronto. Hutchison has thrown just 6 "quality starts" out of 17, though interestingly in 5 of those Hutchison did not allow a run. So he appears to be somewhat "feast or famine" -- while the A's are banking on their Shark to be "feast and feaster!"

With Coco Crisp on an "on again, off again" schedule, this day game after a night game features John Jaso in the leadoff spot, with DP-specialist Alberto Callaspo carefully slotted in at #2. And with the A's roster compromised by Brandon Moss' day-to-day ankle injury, even against a RHP both Nate Freiman and Craig Gentry can be found.

The lineups:

Today's Lineups

Jose Reyes - SS John Jaso - C
M. Kawasaki - 2B A. Callaspo - 3B
Melky Cabrera - LF Yoenis Cespedes - LF
Jose Bautista - 1B Josh Donaldson - DH
Adam Lind - DH Stephen Vogt - RF
Colby Rasmus - CF Jed Lowrie - SS
Juan Francisco - 3B Nate Freiman - 1B
Cole Gillespie - RF Nick Punto - 2B
Josh Thole - C Craig Gentry - CF