The Blue Jays tangle with the Oakland Athletics at the Rogers Centre tonight marking the start of an important homestand for the team. The A's are 30-17 this season sitting atop the AL West by 3.5 games, while the Blue Jays are 26-22, which is good enough for a one game lead in the AL East. When's the last time this happened?
Last time the Blue Jays and Athletics faced each other as first-place teams was April 13, 1994 (7345 days ago) http://t.co/4R8wsuVMeO— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) May 23, 2014
via ESPN Depth Charts
The starter for the A's tonight will be 30-year-old left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir. As you'll remember, Kazmir was a free agent this offseason and signed a two-year $22 million with Oakland. The Texas native has had a great start to his Athletics career, currently sitting at an ERA of 2.39, although he's only allowed two home runs (4.2% HR/FB) which has made his numbers look a little better than they probably should.
Kazmir throws a variety of pitches including a fastball, sinker, changeup, slider, curveball, and cutter. Being a lefty, his changeup is heavily relied on against right-handed hitters, while his slider is heavily used against same-handed hitters. His cutter, slider, and curveball all have similar horizontal movement, but they vary in how much they fall off the table:
Toeing the mound for the Blue Jays will be Australian right-hander Liam Hendriks, who's had a great start to the year with the Buffalo Bisons. In 48.2 innings he has an ERA of 1.48 and has only walked three batters! Hendriks is a heavy sinker, fastball, and slider pitcher that pitches to contact and hopes the defense backs him up (.234 BABIP in Buffalo this year). There's not a ton more to Hendriks who will being hoping to make a good impression with the big squad to stake his claim for more starts in the future.
- Jose Reyes SS
- Melky Cabrera LF
- Jose Bautista RF
- Edwin Encarnacion 1B
- Dioner Navarro C
- Brett Lawrie 3B
- Erik Kratz DH
- Steve Tolleson 2B
- Anthony Gose CF