Perhaps the Oakland Athletics were a little envious last year when Josh Donaldson developed into the league MVP.
Donaldson's first season away from Oakland was a rousing success and he'll try to help his Toronto Blue Jays post a seventh straight home win over the surging Athletics as they face Sonny Gray in Friday night's series opener.
The slugger was part of three straight Oakland clubs that reached the postseason before he was traded to Toronto before last season. Donaldson then extended his run of getting into the playoffs to four straight seasons with a career year while the Athletics finished with the AL's worst record.
Donaldson was 7 for 25 against his former team last year as Toronto (8-9) took five of six. The defeat was a 4-3, 10-inning loss July 22, in which Gray (2-1, 2.33 ERA) gave up two runs in seven innings with Donaldson going 2 for 3 against him.
Gray will make his first road start after going 0-2 with a 6.64 ERA in his final four of 2015. He allowed two runs in six innings of Saturday's 5-3 win over Kansas City, throwing a season-high 114 pitches.
"It was a frustrating game," he said. "I'd get two quick outs and then 15, 16 pitches later I'd finally get out of the inning."
Gray is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts versus the Blue Jays. Jose Bautista is 5 for 10 with a homer against him while Edwin Encarnacion is 1 for 9.
Oakland (9-7) has won a season-high five straight after completing its first three-game road sweep of the New York Yankees in 10 years with Thursday's 7-3 victory. The Athletics went deep four times as Mark Canha, Khris Davis, Chris Coghlan and Coco Crisp connected to help them end a three-game homerless drought.
''We're finally starting to swing the bats like we've talked about before and we do have multiple guys that can leave the ballpark and it was a huge part of the game today obviously,'' manager Bob Melvin said.
The Blue Jays will start Aaron Sanchez (1-0, 1.35), who has been stellar and earned his first victory Sunday by limiting Boston to one run in seven innings in a 5-3 road win.
The right-hander has never started versus the Athletics, pitching two scoreless innings of relief against them in two appearances last year.
Sanchez is seeking to make it seven straight starting pitchers to defeat Oakland in Toronto's home streak in this series. Blue Jays starters have a 2.20 ERA in that run.
Toronto's bullpen will get a boost since Gavin Floyd will be available after the right-hander wasn't for Thursday's 3-2 loss at Baltimore since he threw 33 pitches the night before.
Of more concern is the status of right-hander Jesse Chavez, who was unavailable for all three games against the Orioles due to a sore back.
Toronto went 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position in losing the last two games in Baltimore.
''We're not getting the big hit. It's nothing more than that,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''It's something that we're accustomed to around here, but we haven't had it yet. But it will come.''
A's third baseman Danny Valencia is expected to be placed on the disabled list after sitting out Thursday with a strained left hamstring.