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Up Next: Blue Jays make their last trip to Oakland to face the A’s

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Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Georges
1 month ago
After winning the final two games of their four game series with the Orioles, the Blue Jays head west to California this weekend to take on the Oakland A’s. Back on April 4th, it was announced that the team would play games between 2025-2027 in Triple-A Sacramento’s ballpark, making 2024 the last season for the club at the Coliseum. That makes this road series the last that the Blue Jays will perhaps ever play in Oakland.
The A’s have have got off to a 25-39 start to the year, which isn’t surprising considering that they have the lowest payroll in the Major Leagues by a wide margin. The A’s have been entertaining to watch at times this year, and actually find themselves above the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West standings. They own a 14-18 home record and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. Let’s take a look at what they bring to the table this weekend.
Nuts and Bolts
Friday, June 7th, 9:40 EST: Chris Bassitt (6-6, 4.13 ERA) vs Hogan Harris (0-0, 3.14 ERA)
Saturday June 8th, 4:07 EST: Kevin Gausman (4-4, 4.60 ERA) vs Luis Medina (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sunday, June 9th, 4:07 EST: TBD vs Mitch Spence (4-3, 3.86 ERA)
Starting Pitching
Thanks to injuries to former Blue Jay Ross Stripling, Alex Wood, and Paul Backburn, the A’s will throw a trio of pitchers against the Jays this weekend with only five combined starts on the season. Toronto will avoid facing lefty JP Sears, who’s strong numbers (3.93 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) have easily made him the team’s best overall starter.
On Friday, lefthander Hogan Harris will get the ball, coming off a start against the Rays where he spun 5.2 one-run innings, striking out seven and allowing four hits. Harris has worked out of the pen on two occasions this year, but will be making just his second start of the season. The Blue Jays did face him last year, scoring four runs off of him in 4.2 innings in Toronto last June.
Saturday’s starter will be Luis Medina, who’s coming off a terrific first start of the year against the Braves, punching out six over 5.2 scoreless innings. Medina made 17 starts for the A’s last season, managing a less than impressive 5.42 ERA and 1.51 WHIP.
Saturday’s starter will be Mitch Spence, who will make his fifth consecutive start after working 11 relief appearances to start the year.  The righthander has pitched around some trouble enroute to a 3.32 ERA as a starter, despite giving up over a hit per inning.
Bullpen
The A’s bullpen has been really good this year, ranking 5th in the Major Leagues in team ERA (3.34).
One of the biggest stories of the young season has been the meteoric rise of closer Mason Miller. The former Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldog made six starts for the A’s last season, but his transition to a full time reliever has unlocked his true potential. Miller averages nearly 102 MPH with his fastball, tying opposing hitters in knots all season long. The flamethrower is actually one strikeout shy of the team leader in K’s in JP Sears (53), despite pitching in 45.2 less innings. His baseball savant page is truly a sight to behold. It will be paramount for the Blue Jays to avoid trailing the A’s heading into the 9th inning this weekend.
Relief pitchers not named Mason Miller have also fared well for the A’s this season. Righthanders Austin Adams, Michael Kelly and Lucas Erceg have all pitched over 20 games, with ERAs south of 3.00. Lefthanded journeyman T..J. McFarland has also been a workhorse reliever for the club, pitching in a Major League leading 32 games this year. It seems likely that multiple members of this bullpen will be trade bait by the end of next month.
Hitting
The A’s offense has been lackluster to start the year, placing 24th in the Major Leagues in team OPS (.670). The biggest standout for the team has undoubtedly been designated hitter Brent Rooker, who’s .898 OPS leads the team by a wide margin. He does have some swing and miss to his game, but the power (12 homers) and patience combo make him one of the more dangerous hitters in the American League this year.
Another standout has been former Miami Marlins top five pick JJ Bleday, who has had a mini breakout in his third Major League season. The lefthanded hitting centerfielder leads the club and is fourth in the Major Leagues in doubles (18), while also pacing the team in walks (28). Another hitter that the Jays will have to be careful pitching to is Shea Langeliers, who’s tied with Rooker for the team lead in homer runs with 12.
A player that many thought would be a blossoming star for the team this year was Zack Gelof, but the young 2nd basemen has struggled mightily in his 2nd season. There has been a lot of swing and miss to his game, as his batting average sits below the Mendoza line entering play this weekend (.189).
Final Word
After a series split with the Orioles, the Blue Jays have to take advantage of an underwhelming A’s team this weekend. Look for the Bluebirds to jump all over the A’s inexperienced starting pitching, as they look to do damage before facing their surprisingly dominant bullpen.

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