On Deck: Blue Jays at Athletics

Khris Davis of the Oakland Athletics salutes third base coach Matt Williams while circling the bases after hitting a solo home run on April 12, 2019. (JEFFREY McWHORTER/ AP)

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TORONTO BLUE JAYS at OAKLAND ATHLETICS

 

STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY, 10:07 p.m.

RHP Marcus Stroman (0-3, 1.99 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Brooks (2-1, 4.24 ERA)

Brooks has two quality starts in his three games this season. Over his career, he’s 0-2, 57.86 ERA in two games vs. the Blue Jays, but those were the 2014 and 2015 Jays.

SATURDAY, 4:07 p.m.

RHP Matt Shoemaker (3-0, 1.75 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Fiers (2-1, 7.06 ERA)

Fiers had the honour of throwing the first official pitch of the MLB season on March 20 in Tokyo. He’s 2-0, 0.00 ERA in Oakland, but 0-0, 16.20 ERA in his last two starts, both on the road.

SUNDAY, 4:07 p.m.

RHP Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.86 ERA) vs. LHP Brett Anderson (3-0, 2.63 ERA)

Anderson started seven games for the Blue Jays at the end of the 2017 season. He induces ground balls (1.71 ground outs to air outs) and has allowed only one home run in 24 innings this season.

 

THREE STORYLINES

1. Home run at pay window

Not only does Oakland DH Khris Davis lead MLB in home runs entering play Thursday with 10, he agreed to a two-year contract extension yesterday for a reported $33.5 million. Since the start of the 2016 season, he leads MLB in homers with 143 (Giancarlo Stanton is second at 124).

2. No Estrada this time

The Athletics were an AL wild card team last season, but their starting pitching was only average (4.17 ERA, 17th in MLB). They added former Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada in the off-season, but he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain. Oakland’s pitching strength is in its bullpen with Blake Treinen (six saves and a four-seam fastball which averages 97.9 m.p.h.) and Lou Trivino.

3. At first with Morales

With Davis exclusively at DH, ex-Jay Kendrys Morales has made 11 starts at first base. He’s hitting only .200 with one home run and three RBIs, but he also was a slow starter last season (.160, 1 HR, 8 RBIs at the end of April, before finishing .249/21/57).

 

STACKING UP

(MLB rankings, yesterday’s games not included)

Toronto Stat Oakland

68 (T-22nd) Runs 104 (3rd)

16 (T-25th) HR 37 (3rd)

4 (28th) SB 7 (T-17th)

.215 (25th) Avg. .251 (15th)

.291 (24th) OBP .318 (18th)

3.26 (5th) SP ERA 4.68 (18th)

3.89 (12th) RP ERA 4.15 (14th)

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

INF Eric Sogard, Blue Jays

Sogard began his career with the Athletics, and goes into Oakland hitting 6-for-12 with three RBIs since being called up earlier this week.

OF Ramon Laureano, Athletics

The second-year player has become famous for his outstanding throws. He has five outfield assists this season, tied for most in the majors entering play Thursday. MLB Network’s Robert Flores, a wrestling fan, refers to Laureano as Laser Ramon.

 

DUENCH DECLARES

This is the first of four consecutive road trips in which the Blue Jays have to go to the Pacific or Mountain time zone. They couldn’t have played at Oakland and at L.A.A. on the same trip? Oakland wins two of three.

 

WAR BOARD 

Wins Above Replacement Leaders (yesterday’s games not included)

BLUE JAYS

1. Freddy Galvis 0.9

2. Marcus Stroman 0.8

3. Thomas Pannone 0.5

4. Justin Smoak 0.5

5. Matt Shoemaker 0.4

ATHLETICS

1. Marcus Semien 1.1

2. Matt Chapman 1.0

3. Lou Trivino 0.6

4. Ramon Laureano 0.6

5. Blake Treinen 0.6

MLB LEADERS

1. Cody Bellinger LAD 1.9

2. Mike Trout LAA 1.6

3. Christian Yelich MILW 1.5

4. Jorge Polanco MINN 1.3

5. Paul DeJong STL 1.3

FanGraphs WAR explained: 1-2 season WAR, role player; 2-3 WAR, solid starter; 3-4 WAR, good player; 4-5 WAR, all-star; 5-6 WAR, superstar; 6+ WAR, MVP.

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