The Jays commence a west coast road trip tonight in Oakland for the first of a 3-game set against the Athletics.
The affable southpaw’s last outing, last Tuesday versus the Cincinnati Reds, resulted in a no-decision in which he surrendered 3 runs on 3 hits over 4 innings of work, while striking out 3 and walking 3.
The organization was left with limited options as to who would start last Tuesday, and elected to go with Happ even though he was only able to get one rehab start in prior to joining his teammates at the major league level.
Fans and the organization no doubt hope last year’s 20-game winner and Cy Young contender can build off his last start, show better command and control, and thus move that much closer to his dominant 2016 self.
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Manaea is no slouch either though, racking up 9 K’s over 7 frames against the Indians in his last start, so the Jays will definitely have their work cut out for them against a formidable opponent.
Tuesday night’s game will feature Marco Estrada (4-3, 3.86) against Jesse Hahn (1-4, 3.81). Estrada hasn’t looked as sharp as one would expect lately, his change-up certainly not fooling the Yankees on Thursday, who chased Marco out of the game after only 3 2/3 innings in which he allowed 7 runs on 9 hits. Estrada should be able to bounce back from that uncharacteristic start though, against an A’s team that currently sits at 8 games under.500.
The caveat however, being that the A’s are not without dangerous bats lurking in their lineup. Jed Lowrie, Yonder Alonso, Kris Davis and Ryon Healy are a few to watch out for in particular, most of whom can be found sprinkling the leader boards.
Also of note, in the A’s last 2 games leading into tonight’s contest, they managed to put up 10 runs in each game against the mighty Washington Nationals, yesterday and on Saturday.
Francisco Liriano (3-2, 5.94 ERA) takes the hill for the finale on Wednesday afternoon before the Jays head north to Seattle. Frankie is coming off a solid outing last Friday against the stripes in which he tossed 5 innings, while allowing 2 free passes and 2 earned runs, good enough to collect the win. Another decent showing from yet another of our hurlers fresh off the DL. As of this writing, Oakland hasn’t declared their starter for the series finale.
Oakland Colliseum is considered a pitcher-friendly park with its cavernous dimensions and unusually large amount of ground in foul territory around the infield, which invariably results in more easy outs. That is however just a reality of baseball – each venue has its quirks and dimensions and the Jays are no doubt fully aware of the pitfalls in Oakland.
This west coast swing could be the road trip that finally pushes the blue birds over .500 ball, as they currently sit just 1 game under.500 with a 28-29 record.
Coming off a very hot May at the plate, the hope is that the team will continue to thrive, especially with Josh Donaldson’s return, not missing a beat and clubbing 4 home runs last week since his return from the DL, including the go-ahead home run in the 8th inning of Sunday’s matinee win against the Yankees.
Fortunately concerns over the health of our scorching hot second baseman Devon Travis need not be too worrisome. Travis took a Luis Severino offering off his left hand/wrist area yesterday but reports have surfaced that x-rays came back negative.
First pitch tonight is at 10:05 eastern standard time.