Athletics-Blue Jays Preview

TORONTO — The first two games of a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays have been tough on Oakland Athletics‘ starting pitchers.

They lost Andrew Triggs in the third inning on Thursday, and Brett Anderson left Friday after the first inning.

Both times, however, the bullpen was up to the task and the A’s won 10-5 in the first game and 3-1 in the second.

The Athletics will be going for three in a row Saturday when they start left-hander Sean Manaea (5-4, 2.35 ERA) against Toronto right-hander Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 2.08).

The A’s are 5-3 on a 10-game road trip that ends Sunday.

The Athletics have needed stellar work from their bullpen because of the injuries to their starters, and they got it, particularly on Friday.

Anderson suffered a shoulder strain and was removed after going to the mound to warm up for the second inning. He could be put on the disabled list.

He was replaced by Josh Lucas, who was recalled the same day from Triple-A Nashville when Triggs was put on the disabled list (right forearm nerve irritation). Lucas arrived late at the Rogers Centre because of heavy traffic from the airport but struck out the first four batters he faced on the way to seven strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings while allowing two hits and one run.

“He was in uniform probably, at best 20 or 30 minutes, before the game,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. “For a guy that has pitched no more than two innings down there to give us what he gave us — and really the only run he gives up is (on) a bloop to left and a bloop to right — you need someone to go into that fifth (inning) and he did exactly that. So that was a godsend for us tonight.”

Before the game, the A’s also recalled Emilio Pagan from Nashville and optioned reliever Ryan Dull there.

“The entire trip, we’ve gone through some guys in the bullpen,” Melvin said before the game Friday. “We’ve had late, late nights. We’ve had all sorts of stuff. Based on the way we had to use our bullpen (Thursday) night — going to the ‘pen in the third inning — it’s prudent we have some guys here. Not only guys who are fresh arms, but also guys who can give us multiple innings.”

Manaea has allowed four runs in each of his past three starts (1-2, 5.60 ERA) after giving up a total of six runs in his first six starts of the season. He is third in the American League in fewest walks per nine innings (1.17).

In three career outings (two starts) against Toronto, he is 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA. He was 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays last season.

The Blue Jays also have had some injuries in their starting rotation. With Marcus Stroman (right shoulder fatigue) already on the DL, left-hander Jaime Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) was put on the DL Friday and right-hander Deck McGuire was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

Both injured pitchers have struggled this season with Stroman going 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA and Garcia 2-3 with a 6.28 ERA.

Gaviglio, a starter at Triple-A Buffalo this season, has made two relief appearances for Toronto and is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA covering 4 1/3 innings.

In five starts at Buffalo, he was 0-0 with a 1.86 ERA.

Gaviglio was 4-5 with a 4.36 ERA in the majors in 16 appearances (13 starts) between the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals last season. The Royals claimed him off waivers from the Mariners on Sept. 1 and the Blue Jays acquired him for a player to be named on March 21.

“The communication was very clear with the Blue Jays when I came over, asking what I need to do to have success, what I need to work on,” Gaviglio said. “I needed to throw, I needed to get my innings in. They did a very good job of allowing me to do that.”

He is comfortable in the starter’s role.

“I’ve gotten most of my innings as a starter,” Gaviglio said. “So that’s what I’m more comfortable with.”

His only career appearance against the A’s came as a starter for the Mariners last season, when he gave up nine hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings and took the loss in a 7-4 defeat.