Oakland vs. Toronto Series Preview: A's Start 9-Game Road Trip vs. Blue Jays

Brandon McClintockCorrespondent IApril 5, 2011

Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp lead the A's offense in the opening series against the Seattle Mariners.
Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp lead the A's offense in the opening series against the Seattle Mariners.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

To say the opening series did not go as planned for the Oakland Athletics would be an understatement.

The team's defense was atrocious, as evidenced by the seven total errors committed against the Mariners, five on opening night.

The bullpen was not capable of holding leads, costing the Athletics what could have been wins in the first two games.

The offense only squeaked out a total of four runs in the first two games, not enough to support the solid pitching performances by the A's starting pitching staff.

Thankfully, the A's solved two of their problems in Sunday's finale. The offense finally showed up and put seven runs on the board, while the bullpen shutdown the Mariners along the way to the Athletic's first victory of 2011.

Coco Crisp carried his spring training success into the regular season. Crisp is batting .417 on the early season, with three runs scored, a double, a triple and a stolen base. Crisp was the catalyst of rallies in all three games over the weekend.

Josh Willingham also helped drive the A's offense in the first series. After opening his A's career with a homerun in his first at-bat against Felix Hernandez, Willingham proceeded to pick up two more hits and three RBI in the first three games.

Mark Ellis tied Willingham with a team-high three RBI over the opening season.

The Toronto Blue Jays opened their 2011 season with two wins out of their three games against the Minnesota Twins.

Jose Bautista picked up right where he left off last season, with two homeruns in the Blue Jays first three games. Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia has been the teams most productive hitter throughout the opening series, driving in a team high five runs. Edwin Encarnacion, Aaron Hill and Travis Snider each have two RBI for Toronto as well.

Former Oakland outfielder, Rajai Davis, missed the last two games for Toronto after turning his ankle during a run-down in the Jays opening day game. He is expected to return to play against his ex-teammates on Tuesday in the series opener.


Probable Starters:

April 5, 2011, 4:07PM (TV: CSNCA, MLB.TV - Radio: 95.7FM "The Wolf"):
Brandon McCarthy (Spring Training: 1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jo-Jo Reyes (Spring Training: 1-1, 3.52 ERA)

April 6, 2011, 4:07PM (TV: CSNCA, MLB.TV - Radio: 95.7FM "The Wolf"):
Dallas Braden (2010: 11-14, 3.50 ERA) vs. Jesse Litsch (2010: 1-5, 5.79 ERA)

April 7, 2011, 9:37AM (MLB.TV - Radio: 95.7FM "The Wolf"):
Trevor Cahill (2011: 0-0, 1.93 ERA) vs. Ricky Romero (2011: 1-0, 1.42 ERA)



Athletics: Andrew Bailey (15-Day Disabled List), Rich Harden (15-Day Disabled List), Adam Rosales (60-Day Disabled List)

Blue Jays: Octavio Dotel (15-Day Disabled List), Corey Patterson (15-Day Disabled List), Brandon Morrow (15-Day Disabled List), Dustin McGowan (60-Day Disabled List), Frank Francisco (15-Day Disabled List), Jesse Carlson (60-Day Disabled List)


Brandon McClintock covers the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball for BleacherReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter:   @BMcClintock_BR.