As they host Jays, A’s know there’s no place like home
The Oakland Athletics will seek their 12th win in 14 home games Wednesday night when they go for a third straight victory against the Toronto Blue Jays.
A’s pitchers have sapped the power from the Toronto bats on the first two nights of the four-game set, limiting the Blue Jays to two extra-base hits — both doubles — in 5-4 and 4-1 wins.
The A’s are 11-8 at home overall this season.
Looking to extend the Oakland pitching dominance on Wednesday will be right-hander Chris Bassitt (2-2, 3.93 ERA), who took a no-decision in a 3-2 win over Detroit in his most recent home start on April 18.
He will look to follow in the footsteps of left-hander Cole Irvin, who silenced the visitors over a career-best eight innings in Tuesday’s win, allowing one run.
Irvin noted after the game that it’s no coincidence the A’s have played well at home of late.
“The fans give us energy,” he insisted. “It’s really fun to pitch with fans in the stands again.”
Bassitt has gone 2-0 in his past four starts, allowing two runs in each. The A’s have won all four of the games.
The 32-year-old never has beaten the Blue Jays, having gone 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts.
Toronto newcomer George Springer has been a particularly painful thorn in Bassitt’s side, bombing him for a pair of regular-season home runs among five hits in 17 at-bats.
Springer sat out the first two games of the series with quad fatigue and remains questionable for Wednesday.
Bassitt can expect to see old pal Marcus Semien, who was the starting shortstop behind a majority of Bassitt’s 67 career starts with the A’s.
Semien signed with Toronto in the offseason and has enjoyed a nice reception in his first return to Oakland in the first two games of the series.
He drove in the Blue Jays’ only run Tuesday with a double, joining Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the only Toronto players with extra-base hits in the series.
Like Irvin, Semien is happy to be able to share this week’s experience with a live audience.
“I’m excited. My parents, aunts, uncles, cousins … everyone’s excited,” the San Francisco Bay Area native said. “They got to see me play every day for six years. And now it’s kind of like, ‘Where’s Marcus?’ So it’s a big series for my family. A big series for me.”
Semien has a hit in both games of the series, going 2 for 7 with a walk.
Seeking to end Toronto’s two-game skid will be left-hander Robbie Ray (1-1, 2.78). The 29-year-old hasn’t faced the A’s in 161 career starts.
Ray has given up three or fewer runs in five or more innings in all four starts this season, although he’s been tagged for a total of three doubles and three homers in his past two outings.
The A’s have scored all nine of their runs in the series on extra-base hits — three on doubles and six on two-run home runs by Stephen Piscotty, Ramon Laureano and Mitch Moreland.
–Field Level Media