So much for the Athletics bats waking up. After scoring 19 runs in the last two games, the Athletics were shut out this evening as Mark Buerhle kept them off balance all night. This is exactly what Buerhle does, and is exactly why he gets paid the money he makes. In all actuality, this game was over in the first inning when Jose Bautista took Dan Straily deep to give the Blue Jays an early lead.
Tonight was not Straily’s night by any stretch of the imagination. He lasted only 4.2 innings and allowed 5 runs, although only 2 were earned. He surrendered 6 hits, and walked 2 with 2 strikeouts. It’s a bit puzzling to see Straily struggle as badly as he has in his last two outings after having such a long stretch of quality starts. He appeared as if he had been turning a corner as a big league pitcher, but these two starts have seen him regress back into the habits that made him such an inconsistent pitcher previously.
One has to wonder if these starts might cause Billy Beane to give it one last push to acquire a starting pitcher before tomorrow’s 1PM PST deadline. With Jake Peavy off the market now, the options are dwindling and time is running out. Prior to the deadline, Bud Norris appears to be the only truly useful target for Beane, and who knows how much that would cost the team. But the option remains that a waiver trade could be consummated during the month of August. Last year the A’s got Stephen Drew in August and he proved to be a useful piece in the team’s run towards the postseason. The chances of acquiring a similar caliber player for the starting rotation would have to be pretty good for the Athletics. It’s just a matter of whether or not the team believes they need to make such a move.
The offense struggled to get any kind of momentum going tonight, only Derek Norris and Jed Lowrie recorded a multi-hit games. Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson, and Nate Freiman each had the team’s other three hits on the night.
An intriguing matchup will take place tomorrow afternoon in the series finale as Bartolo Colon (14-3, 2.54 ERA) takes the hill against the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey (8-11, 4.86 ERA). Dickey has struggled with inconsistency in his return to the American League this year, and he’s been tagged with the long ball a number of times. Only A.J. Griffin himself has allowed more home runs. On paper this game should favor Colon and the Athletics, but with a lineup like the one the Blue Jays boast, anything can happen.