Toronto (40-43) at Oakland (43-40)

Fair Currently: Oakland, CA
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Wed Jul 4, 2007
  • TV: FSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Even with the recent struggles of Joe Kennedy, the Oakland Athletics have the most dominating pitching staff in the AL.

Kennedy hopes to get his season on track on Wednesday against his favorite opponent when the A’s conclude their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Oakland (43-40) defeated the Blue Jays 3-1 on Tuesday behind a four-hitter from Joe Blanton, who notched his AL-leading third complete game.

The A’s, who have an AL-best 3.55 team ERA, have won three of four games after losing seven of their previous eight.

Although Oakland has won with its pitching this season, Kennedy (2-6, 3.91 ERA) has not had much luck.

He’s 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA in four starts since his last win on June 6, and the A’s are just 4-12 in his starts this season.

On Friday, he allowed two runs - both in the first inning - seven hits and three walks in six innings of a 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees.

“I thought I battled well,” he said. “I was able to make some big pitches and get some big outs. I think I had guys on base almost every inning. It could’ve been a lot worse with how many guys I had on base tonight.”

Kennedy has been at his best at McAfee Coliseum, posting the seventh-best home ERA in the AL (2.93), but it has not been reflected in his record, as he’s just 1-1 in eight games there.

While Kennedy has not had much success this season, he has more wins against Toronto than any other opponent. The left-hander is 6-1 with one save and a 3.75 ERA in 17 games - 11 starts - lifetime against the Blue Jays, but this will be his first start against them since 2003.

Oakland designated hitter Jack Cust hit his 15th homer of the season on Tuesday, and is batting .381 (24-for-63) with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 16 games.

Leadoff hitter Shannon Stewart went 2-for-4 with a run on Tuesday, and is 21-for-42 with three homers, five RBIs and 10 runs during a season-high, nine-game hitting streak.

The A’s have won their last two Independence Day games, but did not play on July 4, 2005.

The Blue Jays have lost five of their last six games following a stretch when they won five of six.

Vernon Wells was hitless in four at-bats on Tuesday after going 4-for-5 with two solo home runs in Monday’s 11-7 victory. Wells is just 4-for-27 (.148) with a homer in his career against Kennedy.

Toronto hopes for a stronger outing from the inconsistent Dustin McGowan (4-4, 5.15) when he takes the mound on Wednesday.

After falling three outs short of a no-hitter against Colorado on June 24, McGowan was tagged for five runs, eight hits and three walks in five innings of a 5-3 loss to Seattle on Friday.

“I forgot about that (near no-hitter),” said McGowan. “I was focused on the job at hand. I just had one of the rough ones.”

In the start before taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning, the right-hander lasted just 1 2-3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing eight hits and six runs.

McGowan is 0-1 in three games - one start - against the A’s, allowing eight runs in just 6 1-3 innings in those games.

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Starting Pitchers

D. McGowan Tor vs. J. Kennedy Tor
12-10 Record 4-9
4.08 ERA 4.80
144 K 51
61 BB 55
1.22 WHIP 1.57

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jul 4