April 7, 2011
A's (1-4) vs.
TORONTO (AP) -- Ricky Romero and Trevor Cahill each had an impressive second season in the majors in 2010.
While Romero seemed to pick up right where he left off in his 2011 debut, Cahill wasn't quite as sharp.
These promising pitchers square off Thursday, with Romero looking to continue his success against the Oakland Athletics while Cahill tries to prevent the Toronto Blue Jays from completing a three-game sweep.
Romero (1-0, 1.42 ERA) went 14-9 with a 3.73 ERA last year and didn't seem to miss a beat during Friday's 13-3 season-opening win over Minnesota. He allowed seven hits and three runs - one earned - with seven strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
"He got strikeouts, swings and misses," catcher J.P. Arencibia said. "You have to really respect his fastball because he can get to the mid-90s and then he's got that devastating changeup. It's kind of the equalizer."
The left-hander has won all three starts he's made against Oakland while posting a 2.25 ERA. No current member of the Athletics has ever homered against Romero.
Cahill (0-0, 1.93), meanwhile, earned the opening-day start for Oakland (1-4) after going 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA in his second major league season.
The right-hander, though, struggled in Friday's 6-2 loss to Seattle, allowing four hits and four walks while surrendering one run in just 4 2-3 innings. He failed to last at least five innings just twice in 30 starts last year.
Cahill, a 2010 All-Star who finished the year fourth in the AL in ERA, is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three lifetime starts against Toronto (4-1).
After escaping with a 7-6 win Tuesday thanks to shortstop Yunel Escobar's two-run homer in the 10th inning, the Blue Jays beat the Athletics 5-3 on Wednesday night.
REWIND: Snider's home run sinks A's in loss to Blue Jays
Oakland, which committed the fifth-fewest errors in the AL last season (99), had recorded a major league-worst nine in the first four games before cleaning up its play Wednesday.
"There's always room for improvement," said Dallas Braden, the losing pitcher Wednesday. "But I don't feel like we're so down and out or at the bottom of the barrel or anything like that. I don't have that sense at all about this team. For game five to feel like we're behind the 8-ball or feel like we're not doing our best, I think it's a little early."
Escobar went 3 for 3 before leaving with dizzinesses and outfielder Travis Snider hit a three-run homer for Toronto, which was playing without 2010 home run leader Jose Bautista for the second consecutive game due to the birth of a child.
Bautista, who hit 54 homers last season, is unlikely to play Thursday. Escobar's status is unknown.
"We're hopeful and at least cautiously optimistic at this point that we're not entertaining something like (a concussion)," manager John Farrell said of Escobar, who left the game after sliding face first into third baseman Andy LaRoche's leg on a triple.
The Blue Jays have taken 11 of 13 from the Athletics at Rogers Centre while outscoring them 71-40. Toronto collected 11 hits Wednesday and is hitting .311 as a team.
Toronto won four of the seven meetings between these clubs last season. ... Oakland's starting pitchers have posted a 1.53 ERA (317.2) in the team's first three games of the season, but its relievers have struggled out of the gate, allowing six earned runs in 9.1 innings (5.79 ERA). ... Toronto leads the American League in OBP (.397). The Blue Jays were 12th in the A.L. in that category last season (.312). ... Brandon McCarthy will be making his first major-league appearance since October 2, 2009, having missed the 2010 season following shoulder surgery. He has won his last two starts against Toronto, allowing four runs in 12.1 innings. ... J.P. Arencibia leads all rookies with two home runs and five runs batted in. The only other rookie with a homer so far this season is San Francisco's Brandon Belt (1). ... Jo-Jo Reyes is winless in his last 21 appearances in the majors (0-9). His last victory came back on June 13, 2008 in a 5-2 decision over the Angels.