Game Threat: J.A. Happ, can you stop the bleeding? Blue Jays (8-10) vs. A’s (10-7)

Well, yesterday was pretty rough. After dropping two really, really winnable games against the Dirty Birds at Camden Yards, the Jays retuned to Toronto to face the hottest team in baseball, the Oakland Athletics. And of course, before that, we learned that Chris Colabello was suspended 80 games for using a performance enhancing drug, which was certainly bizarre. 

At least it can’t get much worse, right? RIGHT?! 

Yesterday 

I saw the Oakland Athletics on the schedule earlier this week and thought “that’ll be a good way to kick off a homestand, Oakland is pretty bad.” Evidently not. The A’s are on fire right now, and their lineup that seems to feature laundry at a glance put a beating on Aaron Sanchez last night, pushing their winning streak to six games. 

That was probably the story of the game, Sanchez having a rough time. Before last night, he had thrown 20 innings, allowing just three earned runs, limiting his walks to only seven, and averaging a strikeout per inning. But underneath that success, Sanchez’s splits against lefties were still pretty terrible, so the bubble was bound to burst eventually, and it made sense that Oakland’s lineup featuring a glut of left-handed and switch hitters would be the ones to do it. 

Sanchez went just four-and-a-third innings, allowing six earned runs on ten hits and a walk, capitalized by a three-run home run to Chris Coghlan in the second inning. So yeah, there isn’t much positive to grasp from this start at all. 

Since Oakland had Sonny Gray on the mound, it was hard to imagine the Jays being able to claw back after digging themselves a 5-0 hole in the first two innings, but they actually managed to get some chances to blow it open. In the bottom of the sixth, they got the bases loaded with nobody out, but could only manage one run off of a Jose Bautista sacrifice fly. They also had a late rally to bring the game to within one in the eighth, but the comeback was murdered when Roberto Osuna allowed two runs in the top of the ninth. 

In the middle of the not-so-great pitching performances, lefty reliever Chad Girodo had an excellent showing in his Major League debut (he was called up yesterday to fill Colabello’s roster spot). He relieved Sanchez in the fifth, and pitched two full innings, allowing just one hit and no earned runs. 

News and Scuttlebutt 

Like I said, yesterday was pretty rough. A lot of things happened, but the biggest one was obviously Colabello’s suspension. Along with that, the Jays also called up Drew Hutchison to make a start on Sunday, pushing Marcus Stroman back to Monday, and they signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league deal. 

If you want to read about what went down in more detail, Stoeten did a post earlier this morning about everything. 

Today

I heard the J.A. in J.A. Happ stands for Jays Ace, so this is perfect opportunity for him to live up to that billing and stop the bleeding. In his first three starts of the season, Happ has a 1.89 ERA over 19 innings, which is excellent, so hopefully he can keep that going and shut down this frustratingly successful Oakland lineup. 

On the other side is Chris Bassitt, who’s also been good this season. In his first three starts, he’s tossed 19.1 innings, posting a 2.79 ERA, but he hasn’t managed to earn his first win yet. He’s struggled a little bit against righties this season so far, so that could bode well for the Jays, who are stacked with right handed power hitters. 

Blue Jays 

Ezequiel Carrera (L) LF
Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
Jose Bautista (R) RF
Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH
Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS
Justin Smoak (S) 1B
Russell Martin (R) C
Ryan Goins (L) 2B
Kevin Pillar (R) CF

Athletics

Billy Burns (S) CF
Mark Canha (R) RF
Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
Billy Butler (R) 1B
Khris Davis (R) DH
Coco Crisp (S) LF
Marcus Semien (R) SS
Josh Phegley (R) C
Chris Coghlan (L) 3B