A matchup of Cy Young Award winners will take a backseat to an unusual reunion for the San Francisco Giants.
San Francisco’s Barry Zito (3-1, 2.75 ERA) and Toronto’s R.A. Dickey (2-5, 5.06) will start the opener of this two-game set, and Cabrera is expected to receive a World Series ring from Giants manager Bruce Bochy beforehand.
Cabrera was suspended 50 games Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test. The MVP of last year’s All-Star game, he was left off the Giants’ postseason roster.
The outfielder also made the unprecedented move of disqualifying himself for the NL batting title. He hit .346 for San Francisco (23-15), and the Giants’ Buster Posey ended up winning the crown by leading the major leagues at .336.
Bochy said that he intends to speak with Cabrera and thank him for his contributions to the reigning World Series champions.
“I’m appreciative of him being here and playing hard every day,” Bochy said. “What’s happened, happened. That’s behind us. I do know he’s a good person, he is, and he was a good teammate. I will thank him for that.”
Cabrera signed a $16 million, two-year deal with Toronto (15-24) in the offseason.
“They called me and they told me that they would give me a ring,” he told the Blue Jays’ official website. “I asked them to ship it and they said, ‘No, we’re going to give it to you when we go to Toronto.’ It’s special for me.”
Cabrera started off slow, but has posted a .353 average in his last eight games while playing with pain in his hamstrings. He is 0 for 4 against Zito.
“I know I’m going to see a lot of my friends there, and I’m going to say hi to those guys, but I’ve got to continue to play the game I have been doing so far,” Cabrera said.
Along with Cabrera, Zito will have to be careful with Edwin Encarnacion 4 for 7 with two homers against him.
The left-hander is second all-time with 20 interleague losses, going 5-12 with a 6.75 ERA in 17 such outings for the Giants. Zito has been sharp this year, allowing one or no earned runs in six starts.
Dickey, who won the NL Cy Young Award with the New York Mets last year, has gone 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA over his last four starts. He owns a 6.75 ERA at home as opposed to 3.55 on the road.
San Francisco has won 10 of 13 as it opens a six-game trip. Former Blue Jays infielder Marco Scutaro has gone 23 for 48 (.479) during a 12-game hitting streak.
Though Toronto is in last place, it’s among the MLB leaders with 51 homers. The Jays matched a season high with five in a 12-4 win at Boston on Sunday, with Jose Bautista hitting two.