American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, August 4th
(All times Eastern)
Toronto Blue Jays (51-55) at Oakland Athletics (58-48), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Toronto - Ricky Romero (8-8, 5.69)
Oakland - A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.51)
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics will have a
quick turn around after last night's extra-inning affair when the two squads
resume a four-game series at the Coliseum this afternoon.
Coco Crisp's sacrifice fly brought in Jemile Weeks, who led of the inning with
a triple, in the bottom of the 15th to give the A's a 5-4 victory Friday
night. It was the 13th walk-off win of the season for the A's.
Travis Blackley pitched three scoreless innings to pick up the win for
Oakland, which used seven pitchers in the contest.
Oakland led the game, 4-1, going into the ninth inning thanks to a pair of
solo home runs from Jonny Gomes and Chris Carter. However, in the ninth
Toronto's Jeff Mathis launched a three-run home run that tied the game and
after a scoreless bottom of the frame sent the game to extra innings.
Taking the loss for Toronto was Aaron Loup, who was one of six pitchers used
by the Blue Jays in the loss which extends the teams season-long losing streak
to six games.
Oakland, meanwhile, has won back-to-back games and continues to hold onto it's
lead in the AL Wild Card standings.
One of the biggest reasons for Oakland's hot summer has been the pitching of
rookie A.J. Griffin, who starts on Saturday afternoon.
The former 13th-round draft pick is 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in seven starts this
season. His 0.98 WHIP and 3.5 K/BB ratio are also impressive, despite the
small sample size. Even more importantly, the Athletics are 6-1 in games that
Griffin has started.
The 24-year-old had a solid outing in his last start. He allowed three runs
on five hits over seven innings of work while striking out six. It was the
longest start of his short career and was also the second-highest strikeout
total he has recorded this season.
The previous start for Griffin came at home, where he is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA
on the season in four starts. On the road he has done better with a 2-0 mark
and 1.50 ERA in three starts.
Griffin has some experience already against Toronto early on in his career. In
the start before his last, Griffin pitched six shutout innings and surrendered
just three hits while striking out a career-high nine batters against this
same Blue Jays club.
On the other side will be Ricky Romero. The ace of the Blue Jays staff in
2011 has had a disastrous 2012 campaign highlighted by a morbid streak he will
try to put a stop to on Saturday.
The former 17-game winner has lost seven straight starts entering Saturday's
game -- the longest such streak by a Blue Jays pitcher since Josh Towers also
lost seven straight in 2006.
Although he didn't pitch particularly well in his last time out, it was a
marked improvement from the start before. Romero allowed four runs, three
earned, on eight hits while striking out seven in six innings of work.
In the start before that, which coincidentally came against the same Oakland
club he will face Saturday, Romero was blasted for eight runs on four hits and
six walks in just 1 1/3 innings of work. It is the fourth time during his
seven-start losing streak he has allowed six or more runs.
The struggles are even more pronounced when examining Romero's season totals.
He is currently 8-8 on the season with a 5.69 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. Romero also
currently leads the league in earned runs allowed at 82.
The difficult outing Romero suffered his last time out against Oakland was
much different from when he faced them in May. Romero allowed just two runs
over six innings of work while tying a season-high with seven strikeouts. In
his career, Oakland has normally been an opponent he can handle. He is 4-1
with a 3.30 ERA in seven career starts against the Athletics.
Also positive news is the change in the month. Romero has excelled in his
career in August where he is 10-3 with a 3.60 ERA in 18 career starts. The 10
wins make it the only month in which he has accumulated a double-digit win
total so far in his career.
Oakland has won five of the seven matchups between these teams this season.
08/04 10:34:17 ET