Oakland (73-55) at Toronto (64-64)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 39° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sat Aug 23, 2003
  • TV: TSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

John Halama was expected to make just a spot start. Now he might become a fixture in the Oakland Athletics’ rotation.

After learning of a possible season-ending injury to left-hander Mark Mulder, the A’s hope Halama can help fill the void as Oakland continues its four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at SkyDome.

The Athletics originally thought Mulder had tendinitis in his right hip and placed him on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. However, an MRI exam Friday revealed a stress fracture, which is expected to keep the 15-game winner sidelined for the remainder of the season.

“It creates a lot more focus on each individual game from here on out,” A’s general manager Billy Beane said. “I think we’re happy with what we have here now. We’ll see how things go in the next week.”

Halama was chosen to come out of the bullpen to make just one start when Mulder’s injury was initially diagnosed. But unless the A’s can acquire another pitcher, Halama will probably be a starter for the rest of the year.

The left-hander, who was used as both a starter and a reliever in three years with Seattle before joining Oakland in the offseason, will make his first start since May 28 when he suffered a 6-5 loss to Minnesota. He is 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA in his 10 starts this season, striking out 30 and walking 20 over 52 innings.

Oakland lost its second straight Friday, 6-3 in the series opener as reigning Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito was beaten by the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay.

With the loss, the A’s fell into a tie with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL wild-card race. The Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 6-4 on Friday.

Vernon Wells went 3-for-5 for the Blue Jays, who have won three straight. He is hitting .346 (55-for-159) over his last 37 games.

STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 3 GB, AL West. Blue Jays - 3rd place, 15 GB, AL East.

ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Halama (2-4, 3.93 ERA). In nine career appearances against Toronto, including four starts, Halama is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA.

BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Pete Walker (1-1, 5.85 ERA). Walker comes off the disabled list to make his first appearances since June 3. The right-hander, who was sidelined with a left knee strain, was used exclusively as a reliever before the injury but has made four starts this season. He is 0-1 with a 6.98 ERA in those outings, striking out 12 and walking 11 over 19 1-3 innings.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Eric Chavez, .276 avg. and 23 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 77 RBIs; Erubiel Durazo, 71 runs; Eric Byrnes, 9 SBs. Blue Jays - Wells, .312 avg.; Carlos Delgado, 33 HRs, 117 RBIs and 97 runs; Bobby Kielty, 6 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - SS Tejada, who was 2-for-3 with a homer Friday, has 10 career home runs at SkyDome. … 1B Scott Hatteberg left Friday’s game in the eighth because of a sore back. He’s day-to-day. … OF Jermaine Dye will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. GM Beane said Dye, who has been on the DL since July 7 with a separated right shoulder, will play a number of positions in the outfield when he returns. Blue Jays - The Blue Jays haven’t won four straight since June 15-20. … Toronto is 18-12 against left-handed starters this season. … 3B Eric Hinske is hitting just .243 (44-for-181) since returning from the DL with a hand injury on July 26.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 29-34 on the road; Blue Jays - 29-33 at home.

INJURIES: Athletics - 1B Hatteberg (back), day-to-day; OF Dye (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Mulder (hip), 15-day DL. Blue Jays - RHP Cory Lidle (groin), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (calf), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Halama Oak vs. P. Walker NYY
3-5 Record 2-2
4.22 ERA 4.88
51 K 29
36 BB 24
1.41 WHIP 1.50