The A’s are heading back home after a tough 10-game road-trip, which would sound like a good development but the Coliseum hasn’t exactly been Home Sweet Home this season either.
Add to that the quality of the two teams we’re facing this week and it could be a case of enjoying the 4th of July Fireworks tonight, praying for the best with Frankie Montas’s shoulder injury, and anything else being a bonus.
The Blue Jays come into the week on a 44-36 win-loss record and have just slipped behind the Boston Red Sox into third place in the AL East after losing three in a row to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Toronto have been a team of two halves over the past 30 days. Whilst their batting line-up has been excellent, leading the Majors with 171 runs scored during that span, their pitching has been hit by injuries and some ineffectiveness.
Their pitching staff’s combined ERA over the past 30 days of 4.70 ERA is the eighth worst across the Majors and, although they’ve not been terrible throughout that stretch, it’s the part of their game that they need to improve in the second-half of the season if they want to be true play-off contenders.
Probable pitching match-ups are as follows:
Game 1: Alek Manoah – Cole Irvin
Game 2: Yusei Kikuchi – Adrian Martinez
Game 3: José Berríos – James Kaprielian
It’s always a treat to welcome the Astros to the Coliseum, of course, and this series will be no exception.
The Astros have won 14 of their past 17 games, including six on the spin heading into this week. Their 51-27 win-loss record is second only to the New York Yankees (58-22) and they already have a 13.5 game lead over second place in the AL West, so there’s no doubting they are the class of the division by quite a margin.
They’ve got a four-game series at home against the Kansas City Royals Monday to Thursday before heading out west to face us over the weekend, so we can probably forget the idea that their confidence might take a dent before we face them.
Perhaps they may just get bored of winning and we can take a couple from them! Probable pitching match-ups for the series are as follows:
Game 1: José Urquidy – Paul Blackburn
Game 2: Framber Valdez – TBD
Game 3: Jake Odorizzi – Cole Irvin
Our nemesis Justin Verlander is currently on schedule to start on Thursday against the Royals, so we should miss him this time around. That potential good news gets balanced out by the potential bad news associated with our scheduled starter for Saturday.
We should hear more about Frankie Montas’s injury status later today after he lasted just one inning on Sunday against the Mariners. The initial reaction from Frankie was that he and the team were erring on the side of caution, but the MRI scans today will tell the tale. Even the best case scenario makes it likely that he’ll skip a turn in the rotation to ensure he can get a couple of performances in before the trade deadline is reached at the end of July.
It’s sad to write that maintaining Frankie’s trade value is the most important thing for the A’s right now; however it’s sadly true.