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Game Thread #58: Blue Jays @ A's

The Swingin' A's look for their first sweep of the campaign as they host the Blue Jays on Getaway Day at the Coliseum.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Coming in to this afternoon's Getaway Day matchup against the Blue Jays, the A's find themselves in a unique group of five teams (including the Tigers, Padres, Giants, and Marlins) who have yet to earn a series sweep this season.

The A's, though, will have an opportunity today as they look for the 3-game sweep of Toronto prior to a trip to Florida that begins on Friday against the Rays.

The A's will send Jharel Cotton (3-6, 5.11 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) to the hill to face a Blue Jays lineup that has managed just 3 runs off A's starting pitchers in the first two games of the set. In Cotton's previous start against Cleveland, the right-hander was witness to Oakland's most embarrassing loss of the season as A's hitters struggled at the plate to the tune of 17 strikeouts while A's fielders committed a total of 3 errors that lead to 4 unearned runs.

There's some reason to believe that Cotton could pitch well today. Since returning from Nashville, Cotton has made two road starts, and though both of those were losses, they were due in large part to the aforementioned defensive woes against the Indians; and prior to that start, Cotton maintained a no-hitter into the 6th inning at Yankee Stadium before facing his final hitter. Of course, that final hitter was Matt Holiday and he'd capitalize on a poorly located pitch by hitting a 2-run home run that ultimately gave Cotton his other loss.

What Cotton does need to do in order to be successful against Toronto, though, is to maintain his control. Although Cotton may have been less at fault for those two losses, his control since his promotion back to the major league roster has been less than stellar: he's walked 7 hitters and hit one in just 11 1/3 innings. Despite not allowing a hit through nearly 6 innings against the Yankees, he had his highest pitch count of his career (107 pitches) with little left in the tank.

Cotton has never faced Toronto and the only Toronto hitter that has faced him was Kendrys Morales (0-2, 2Ks, BB) when he was a member of the Angels.

The Blue Jays will counter with Francisco Liriano (3-2, 5.94 ERA, 1.80 WHIP), who unlike Cotton, has had extensive work against current A's hitters. Despite Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie's combined 1-for-10 lifetime against the left-hander, the A's hitter have a 1.040 OPS in the rest of their at-bats against him, blasting 6 home runs in 71 ABs.

Trevor Plouffe (4-for-7, 3 HRs), Khris Davis (5-for-14, 2 HRs), and Rajai Davis (9-for-30, 3 doubles) have had the most success against Liriano.

In Liriano's previous 3 starts since May 5th, he's walked 10 and allowed 12 earned runs in just 10 2/3 innings pitched.

Bob Melvin will sit Matt Joyce for the third straight game while Chad Pinder handles the duties in right field and will bat second in the lineup. Plouffe and Ryon Healy will man the corner infield positions, giving Alonso the day off.

First pitch is 12:35 PST.

Today's Lineups

Kevin Pillar - CF Rajai Davis - CF
Josh Donaldson - 3B Chad Pinder - RF
Jose Bautista - RF Jed Lowrie - 2B
Kendrys Morales - DH Khris Davis - DH
Justin Smoak - 1B Ryon Healy - 1B
Troy Tulowitzki - SS Trevor Plouffe - 3B
Russell Martin - C Mark Canha - LF
Chris Coghlan - LF Josh Phegley - C
Ryan Goins - 2B Adam Rosales - SS
Francisco Liriano - LHP Jharel Cotton - RHP