All eyes on Guerrero Jr.’s debut as Jays host A’s

Field Level Media

April 25, 2019 at 8:39 pm.

The Oakland Athletics will try to avenge a three-game sweep last week when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night and in the process spoil the major league debut of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Blue Jays, who swept the A’s April 19-21 to complete a 6-1 road trip, announced after their 4-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday that Guerrero would be called up from Triple-A Buffalo to play Friday in the opener of the three-game series against Oakland.

Both teams had Thursday off. The A’s are coming off a 6-5 walkoff win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday to complete a sweep of the three-game series.

Toronto will start right-hander Marcus Stroman (1-3, 1.76 ERA) who pitched into the ninth inning to defeat the A’s April 19 and Oakland will start Mike Fiers (2-2, 8.28), who took the loss April 20.

Guerrero batted .367/.424/.700 in going 11-for-30 with three homers and eight RBIs in eight games with Buffalo.

“You can see, it’s obvious, I’m ready,” Guerrero said. “I feel ready.”

Guerrero started the season on the sidelines because of a left oblique strain. He was not called up last September when major league rosters are expanded despite a brilliant minor league season as the club manipulated his service time to delay, by a season, his eligibility for free agency.

The third baseman entered the season ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball by many sources.

“Whatever happens, we have to be patient defensively, offensively, because he’s 20-years old,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Brandon Drury has been playing third base and will continue to do so when Guerrero is used as DH. Drury will move to second base when Guerrero plays third base.

The Blue Jays have yet to announce a corresponding move to make room for Guerrero, but they do have a decision to make on shortstop Freddy Galvis, who injured a hamstring Sunday while making a defensive play in Oakland.

Galvis did not play Wednesday, ending his consecutive-game playing streak at 349, which had been the longest current streak in the majors. He could go on the injured list.

The Athletics have a third baseman of their own worth watching in Matt Chapman.

“I’d say he’s one of the better players in the league and I think you’re gonna be talking about him in MVP conversations for years to come,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game Wednesday.

Before the game, Melvin also praised Chapman: “I don’t know that I’ve been around a player that’s come along this quickly. To see where he is now, it’s an amazing transformation. Defense is well-documented, power is well-documented. He’s becoming one of the better and more patient hitters in the game right now.”

Chapman was 1-for-5 Wednesday and is batting .311 with a 1.040 OPS, eight home runs and 18 RBIs.

He was 2-for-4 with an RBI double April 19 against Stroman, who allowed six hits overall, in Oakland in Toronto’s 5-1 victory.

Stroman is 1-1 with a 5.22 ERA in five career starts against Oakland.

Fiers has allowed six runs in each of his past three starts and is 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA and .442 opponent’s batting average over that span. He is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in eight career appearances, including seven starts, against Toronto.