OAKLAND -- The Blue Jays' offense is in desperate need of a boost. Knowing that, the team's hitters probably wished they were seeing any opponent other than the A's this weekend.
After all, it was just last week in the teams' three-game series at Rogers Centre that Oakland's starting pitchers combined for a 2.70 ERA. Left-hander Travis Blackley and right-hander A.J. Griffin were especially effective, allowing one combined run to the Blue Jays in their outings.
A few days after that series, Toronto entered an offensive funk -- after leading the Majors in offense on Saturday, the team has scored just seven runs in the four games since.
It appears the injuries to offensive stalwarts Jose Bautista and J.P. Arencibia and the trades of Travis Snider and Eric Thames have caught up with the lineup, and reinforcements aren't soon in coming.
Matchup-wise, the Blue Jays catch a bit of a break in their four-game series in Oakland. They won't face Blackley, who was moved to the bullpen, and they will get to hit against left-hander Tommy Milone, who started for the A's in Toronto's lone win in the series last week.
But Blue Jays manager John Farrell isn't taking any one of Oakland's arms, which lead the American League with a 3.46 overall ERA, lightly. He said he hopes the increased familiarity with the A's pitchers will lead to a better offensive performance this time around, while also dispelling the notion that his team will be especially motivated after dropping the series last week.
"You look back at that series, they pitched exceptionally well against us, and they got a very good pitching staff," Farrell said. "We've got to continue to play fundamental baseball and execute in critical times in the game."