The Toronto Blue Jays welcome in the Oakland Athletics for a three-game set at the Rogers Centre starting on Tuesday night
Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays
Oakland committed seven errors over its weekend series against Seattle that caused the team to drop two of three games in its opening series. “Our defense has been stinking up the field and the clubhouse,” center Coco Crisp stated. The Athletics now head out on the road for the first time this season, which could add to the team’s problems due to the squad going 34-47 on the road a season ago. Oakland is beginning an important nine-game road trip and will look to keep pace early with AL champion Texas in the West. The average age on the A’s opening roster is 28.96 years, which is nearly two years older than last year (27.16). Oakland is 69-93 on the road the past two-plus seasons.
Athletics starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy is set to make his first start with the franchise and first since October 2, 2009. McCarthy was limited to 22 starts over the past three seasons because of shoulder problems. “It’s a pretty solid rotation I’m joining and it’s exciting to know I have to do my part to hold up my end of the bargain,” McCarthy stated. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.62 ERA in eight career appearances (five starts) against the Blue Jays.
Toronto homered six times in its two wins and once in its loss against Minnesota in its season-opening series. The Blue Jays power game is led by outfielder Jose Bautista, who has gone 5 for 11 with two solo homers this season, after hitting a major league-leading 54 homers and 124 RBIs last season. His early season success may hit a snag when facing the Athletics pitching staff, considering his .115 average against Oakland was his worst against an AL opponent. Toronto has enjoyed the backing of its fans in the early going this season, as the announced attendance for the first three games of the season was 110,683. “It’s a great atmosphere,” said utility player Jayson Nix. “Being in the dome, it’s pretty loud. The fans get into it and they’re pretty energetic fans.” Toronto is 92-73 at home over the last two-plus seasons.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes makes his first start with his new team tonight after spending the last four seasons on and off the Braves’ pitching staff. Reyes has dropped 10 consecutive decisions since his last win, which came on June 13, 2008, in an interleague game against the Angels. He is coming off a strong Spring Training that earned him this shot at reviving his career. In 23 exhibition, he compiled a 3.52 ERA and a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 18-8.
Bettors will likely back the Blue Jays due to their 8-2 home record, while the Athletics are 23-49 following an off day.