The Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics have matching .373 team slugging percentages, but who cares if they're the 98-pound weaklings in the American League when their pitching staffs are about as deep as the rift between Frank Thomas and J.P. Ricciardi? They've got a chance to see who can win the most games by scoring the fewest runs as they meet for three games in Oakland starting tonight. The Blue Jays are coming off a four-game sweep of the hapless Royals and the A's were pretty much treading water until the Red Sox came to town and gave Oakland a sweep of their own.
There are enough storylines in this upcoming series to fill a Grimm collection, but the biggest deal here is that these are the two best pitching staffs in baseball. Let's cut the crap and get right to the matchups:
- Tuesday: A.J. Burnett (R) vs Dana Eveland (L)
- Wednesday: Roy Halladay (R) vs Greg Smith (L)
- Thursday: Jesse Litsch (R) vs Rich Harden (R)
The series is in Oakland where Harden, Eveland, and Smith are a combined 6-1 with an ERA south of 3.00. Must be all that foul territory! Or something. Jack Cust is hot hot hot for the A's, having hit seven tater tots in May versus just one in April, raising his OPS almost 250 points in the process. No Blue Jay is really stroking it (besides
Troy Glaus Scott Rolen, who needs something to do while on the DL) but Lyle Overbay leads all qualified Toronto batters with a .405 slugging percentage. Yecch!
And yes, Frank Thomas will face the team that pushed him out the door after a slow start blah blah blah. J.P. Ricciardi is a failure as a GM blah blah blah. Thomas has raised his OPS about 170 points since signing on with Oakland and is now slugging higher than any qualifying Toronto batter.