Game Preview: Toronto v. Oakland - Frankie Returns

The A's are riding a seven game home winning streak into Thursday night's game against Toronto. The A's last four wins at home have come via a walk-off hit in extra-innings. Former A's clubhouse clown Frankie Menechino returns to Oakland with the Blue Jays for the first time since his trade to Toronto last month.

Toronto Blue Jays (24-29) vs. Oakland Athletics (28-23)

Date: Thursday, June 3, 2004
Time: 7:05 P.S.T.
Place: Oakland, CA - Network Associates Coliseum

Preview: The A's will try to use their momentum from their two-game sweep of the previously red-hot Chicago White Sox to take on the streaking Toronto Blue Jays in a four-game weekend series. Two dramatic walk-off homeruns have helped the A's continue their seven-game home winning streak despite All-Star Eric Chavez being placed on the disabled list with a broken hand and having no set closer to come in at the end of close games. Toronto has won 8 of their last 10 games including a recent three-game sweep of the Anaheim Angels and series victories against the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners. Barry Zito will square off against Miguel Batista in the opening game with both pitchers coming off good starts.

With Oakland's main slugger on the disabled list, the key to the series may depend on the health of the Blue Jays slugger first-baseman, Carlos Delgado. Amongst a few minor injuries, Delgado has an irritated ribcage and has sat out the past few games. In 108 at-bats against the current A's pitching staff, he is hitting .241 with 14 RBIs, 6 HRs (4 of which are off of Tim Hudson), and 22 walks. It is predicted that Delgado will sit tonight's game and try to go Friday night against Rich Harden, but if he has a good batting practice session before tonight's game expect to see him in the lineup.

Pitching Matchup:
Toronto – Miguel Batista (3-4, 5.13 ERA)
Oakland – Barry Zito (3-3, 4.86 ERA)

Comments: Batista is 3-1 in his last 5 starts while his ERA has risen from 4.99 to 5.13… Zito is 1-0 in his last 5 starts as his ERA has dropped from 6.17 to 4.86… In Batista's last start against Texas, he threw 123 pitches in 8 innings while giving up only 2 earned runs and striking out 9 while picking up the win… Zito is coming off his best start of the year when he threw 8 shutout innings and striking out 7 against Cleveland… Batista gets in trouble when he relies too much on his fastball… Left-handers are hitting a staggering .354 against Zito while right-handers are only hitting .265… Batista is a groundball pitcher and has only given up 6 homeruns in 66.2 innings…

Who's Hot:

Toronto –
Reed Johnson, RF – Hitting .483 this last week with 5 RBIs and 4 runs
Vernon Wells, CF – .357 BA in last 6 games while blasting 2 HRs,driving in 5 runners, and scoring 5 runs
Jason Frasor, RP – 0 ERs in last 10 appearances covering 13 innings picking up 2 Ws and 3 SVs while allowing only 5 hits

Oakland –
Mark Kotsay, CF - .524 BA with 5 runs scored and 1 GW HR in last 6 games
Jermaine Dye, RF – With 2 HRs in the last 2 days, Dye is hitting a cool .318 in his last 6 games with 4 RBIs, and 6 runs
Erubiel Durazo, DH – Batting .360 with 4 RBIs in last 6 games
Justin Duchscherer, RP – In his last 20 IP he given up only 2 ER while allowing 0 HRs and striking out 20

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