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News » Athletics-Blue Jays Preview 2009-04-19

Athletics-Blue Jays Preview 2009-04-19

Athletics-Blue Jays Preview 2009-04-19
After a hot start, the Toronto Blue Jays' bats have cooled off this weekend. It's bullpen, meanwhile, has gotten plenty of work.

The Blue Jays look to win their fourth straight series Sunday afternoon when they close out a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics.

The last time Toronto (9-4) began the season winning its first four series was in 2001. The Blue Jays are off to another good start this year, beating Detroit, Cleveland and Minnesota to begin the season, and averaged 7.0 runs while hitting .317 in the first 11 contests.

Toronto's hitting has dropped off this weekend against Oakland (5-6), though. It's batting just .181 in this series after coming in having hit .344 in a four-game set with Minnesota.

On Saturday, the Blue Jays managed seven hits, but emerged with a 4-2 win in 12 innings after Lyle Overbay hit a two-out, two-run homer off Oakland reliever Dan Giese. Overbay had scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the sixth after Jason Giambi's RBI double had given the A's a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning.

Overbay is batting .429 (6-for-14) with six RBIs in his last three games after opening the season hitting .176 (3-for-17) with five strikeouts.

Saturday was another busy day for both bullpens. Oakland relievers have pitched 11 1-3 innings the last two games, allowing two runs and three hits, while Toronto's bullpen has logged 12 innings, yielding three runs and four hits. Brian Tallet, typically a reliever, pitched 5 1-3 innings for Toronto in place of the injured Jesse Litsch on Saturday for his first start since 2006.

"Both bullpens did a great job, they just got the big hit," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "We only had five (hits) for the day. Five in 12 innings is not going to win too many games."

With each team among the leaders in innings pitched by a bullpen this season, they'll be looking for some extended innings from Sunday's starters.

Ricky Romero (1-0, 2.57 ERA) will try to continue the impressive start to his major league career when he takes the mound for Toronto.

Romero has pitched very well in his first two outings, although he was unable to come away with a victory his last time out. The 24-year-old left-hander pitched eight innings against Minnesota on Tuesday, allowing two runs and eight hits in a 3-2, 11-inning loss.

"I take the mentality of a bulldog when I am out there, not letting anything bother me," Romero said. "I'm keeping it as simple as I can right now. I feel like when I do that, it dictates my whole game."

He'll oppose Dallas Braden (1-1, 3.75), who had an effective start Monday against Boston, pitching six innings, allowing two runs and six hits in an 8-2 win. He retired 12 of 13 batters at one point.

"I was able to get ahead of the guys and when I put pressure on them early I'm helping myself," he said.

Braden made his only appearance against Toronto last May. He pitched 2 2-3 innings of relief, allowing three runs, five hits and four walks.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 19, 2009

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