The Toronto Blue Jays are brimming with confidence right now, winners of nine in a row and fortified by a flurry of trade deadline moves that improved their roster.
In short, they don’t need any added assistance from opponents. But the A’s were more than willing to help out in a 4-2 loss at the Rogers Center on Tuesday, contributing two errors along with some other shaky defensive moments in a three-run second for the home team that proved the turning point.
If you’re wondering where the A’s can draw their motivation from in the dog days of August, this seven-game road trip should provide some. They play three against the Blue Jays and four against the Orioles, two teams chasing the Yankees in the American League East and squarely in the Wild Card hunt.
Even with a post-trade deadline roster that doesn’t strike a ton of fear, the A’s have enough talent to still hang with contenders. They showed that in taking three of four from the Astros last weekend. But they won’t be playing “spoiler” against anybody with the caliber of performance they turned in Tuesday.
The Blue Jays switched up their pitching rotation for the final two games of the series, with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey now pitching Wednesday night and lefty Mark Buehrle going in Thursday morning’s series finale.
The A’s saw Dickey about three weeks ago, but perhaps they’ll be in a better frame of mind in the rematch. Back on July 23, they got stunned by the morning news of Scott Kazmir’s trade to Houston. What a strange dynamic it was, as Kazmir said goodbye to his Oakland teammates on a day he was originally supposed to pitch for them. Dickey wound up limiting the A’s to two runs over 8 1/3 innings that day to get the victory.
Regardless of who the Blue Jays were planning to start Wednesday, it seems a given that Danny Valencia will be in the A’s lineup for the fifth consecutive game. Valencia was a factor again Tuesday, lining an RBI double in the first inning to give the A’s an early lead. He is 8-for-20 (.400) with six RBI in five games since the A’s claimed him off waivers from the Blue Jays.
Closer Sean Doolittle, making his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Nashville, gave up a homer but struck out three in one inning of work against Iowa. He also threw a scoreless inning for Single-A Stockton on Friday.