Game Preview: A's vs. Blue Jays - July 19, 2004

The A's are looking to continue their strong second half, as they take on the struggling Toronto Blue Jays at home.

Toronto Blue Jays (39-52) L-6 v. Oakland Athletics (50-40) W-1

Date: July 19, 2004
Time: 7:05 P.S.T.
Place: Network Associates Coliseum – Oakland, CA

Preview: Toronto stumbles into town for a quick two-game series after being swept by Texas to receive their sixth straight loss. The A's took three of four from Toronto earlier in the season that jump-started their most successful homestand in franchise history. The Blue Jays have a little more firepower this time around as slugger Carlos Delgado is back in the lineup after being on the disabled list for about a month. Toronto has not helped the A's lately as their six consecutive losses have come against division rivals, Anaheim and Texas.

Oakland is hoping to also cash in tonight, but won't find it easy considering that Toronto's starter, Josh Towers, beat them earlier this year in a 6-1 loss. The A's are hoping that having Eric Chavez back in the lineup will help against Towers as Chavez is 6 for 9 with 2 homeruns and 3 RBI against him. Toronto ranks second to last in the majors in homeruns with 69 while the A's are 11th at 102. In the category of team ERA, Toronto is 22nd in the league with a 4.69 ERA while the A's have slipped to 10th at 4.10.

Pitching Match-up:

Toronto – Josh Towers, RHP (3-3, 5.40 ERA)
Oakland – Kirk Saarloos, RHP (1-0, 0.68 ERA)


Josh Towers: Towers pitched seven strong innings against the A's earlier this year as Toronto pulled away late to win 6-1. In three of his last six starts, he has gone exactly seven innings while giving up one run. In two of his three other starts he was roughed up early for six runs both times but he picked up a win in his last start by going 6.1 innings and giving up four runs in a 12-4 victory over Seattle. The 27 year-old is a groundball pitcher but opponents are batting .337 against him with lefties and righties batting at almost the same clip.

Kirk Saarloos: Saarloos has exceeded expectations so far as a replacement for All-Star Tim Hudson. In his two starts, he has not allowed an earned run in 11.2 innings of work and has given up just seven hits. In his last start in Cleveland, he left in the seventh inning with a 4-1 lead and 15 of the 18 outs he was responsible for came via the groundball. The A's are still a little wary of letting him go too deep into ballgames as his pitch counts so far are 75 against Anaheim and 88 against Cleveland.

Pitcher-Batter Match-up:

Saarloos v.:
Catalanotto, F (DL) – 1 for 1 – 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB

Towers v.:
Hatteberg, S – 3 for 9 – 1 2B, 1 RBI
Dye, J – 3 for 9 – 1 HR, 2 RBI
Chavez, E – 6 for 9 – 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Durazo, E – 2 for 5 – 1 HR, 1 RBI
Byrnes, E – 1 for 4 – 1 2B
McLemore, M – 2 for 3
Miller, D – 1 for 3 – 1 2B, 2 K
Kotsay, M – 0 for 3
Scutaro, M – 1 for 3
Crosby, B – 1 for 2
McMillon, B (DL) – 1 for 1 – 1 HR, 3 RBI

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