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The Blue Jays Series, June 9-12


Frobby

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We head to Toronto now to face the Blue Jays, who have been inconsistent this year (32-29) but have played very well lately (13-6 in their last 19 games). The Blue Jays have a different identity than a year ago, when they bashed other teams into submission and had spotty pitching that was shored up when they acquired David Price at the deadline. This year, they come into this series 2nd in the league in ERA but only 8th in runs scored. Their rotation has been very solid, and here are the matchups for this series:

Strohman (5-2, 4.82) vs. Wilson (2-5, 4.39 )

Estrada (4-2, 2.41) vs. Gausman (0-3, 3.52)

Happ (6-3, 3.57) vs. Wright (3-3, 5.14)

Sanchez (5-1, 2.91) vs. Jimenez (3-6, 6.21)

Strohman has pitched poorly of late, allowing 6 or more runs in 3 of his last 4 starts. On April 19, he allowed 3 runs in 7 innings against the Orioles, getting the win. In his career he is 2-1, 3.24 ERA vs. the Orioles. Wilson has been knocked around a bit of late, 6.35 ERA in his last four starts. He has thrown 2 innings of relief against the Jays this year, allowing 1 run. In his career, he has no decisions and a 2.08 ERA against the Blue Jays (3 appearances, 1 start).

Estrada has been extremely consistent all year, as his 2.41 ERA suggests. He lost to the Orioles on April 21 despite allowing only 1 run in 5 IP. He is 2-1, 3.16 ERA against Baltimore in his career. Gausman righted the ship last time out against the Yankees after a couple of shaky outings. He has not faced the Jays in 2016, and is 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA against them in his career.

Happ got clobbered last time out in Detroit (6 runs in 5 IP), but has been very good in 8 of his last 10 outings. He has not faced the Orioles this year. He is 2-3, 3.56 ERA lifetime against the Birds. Wright had pretty much pitched himself out of the rotation, but got a reprieve when O'Day got hurt and responded with his best game of the year, allowing 1 unearned run in 7 IP against the Royals. He allowed 3 runs in 6 IP against the Jays on April 19. In his career, he is 0-3 with a 7.11 ERA against Toronto.

Sanchez has been consistently good all year, and is coming off an 8 IP, 2 R outing in Detroit. He has not faced the Orioles in 2016. He is 1-2, 5.14 ERA against Baltimore in his career. Jimenez (if he is in fact the starter on Sunday, instead of Gallardo) has been very shaky for the Orioles this year, and escaped with 1 run in 5 IP last time out despite allowing a plethora of baserunners. He allowed 2 runs in 5 IP against the Jays on April 20, and is 6-4 with a 3.87 ERA against Toronto in his career.

Although those starting pitching matchups mostly favor the Blue Jays, a key for the Orioles is if they can force Toronto to use its middle relievers. All the Jays starters average at least 6 IP/start, but if you can get into the pen, it's messy. They have a good back end with Osuna (1.65 ERA, 13/15 in saves) and Biagini (1.64 ERA), but the rest of their pen has been very shaky. They just picked up Jason Grilli, but he was sporting an ERA over 5.00 for the Braves before the trade so it's not clear if he will help.

As to the Jays' offense, the reason they are down so much from 2016 is that the supporting cast for Bautista/Encarnacion/Donaldson has done very little. Russell Martin has a .544 OPS, Ryan Goins has a .485 OPS and Kevin Pillar has a .652 OPS. Tulowitzki is injured and wasn't doing particularly well. The "big 3" are doing well, but are down a bit from last year, especially Encarnacion. The bright spot has been Michael Saunders, who has posted an .895 OPS to date. Darwin Barney is performing very well in Tulowitzki's absence, .817 OPS.

This is a dangerous series for us and an important one for the Jays as they try to climb into the race. I think the key for us is to get the Jays' starters pitch counts up so that we are into their bullpen in the 6th and 7th inning. And of course, our starters can't let the games get out of hand. They were able to do that in the April series against the Jays, where the scores of the games were 3-4, 4-3 and 3-2. I have trouble imagining that the scores will be that low this weekend, even though the Jays haven't been a powerhouse offense so far this year.

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In four game series I'm always content to split it. Going to play in that ballpark never gives me an easy feeling, no matter how we are doing or how Toronto is doing. Routine ground balls turn into bang bang plays at first, fly balls fly further and faster, and the game is sped up double time. Happy with 2-2, but honestly even losing 3/4 wouldn't surprise me or necessarily bother me too much because of that ballpark.

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In four game series I'm always content to split it. Going to play in that ballpark never gives me an easy feeling, no matter how we are doing or how Toronto is doing. Routine ground balls turn into bang bang plays at first, fly balls fly further and faster, and the game is sped up double time. Happy with 2-2, but honestly even losing 3/4 wouldn't surprise me or necessarily bother me too much because of that ballpark.

I hate that ballpark more than any other. I saw a couple of games there; one between Red Sox and Jays with roof closed and it was like arena baseball. The ball flew out at an insane pace. It was like watching a pinball machine.

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I think our best shot is v Happ(if Wright keeps his head) and Storen, and possibly v Estrada, if Gausman has a good game. Forget about Sanchez no matter who faces him.

I never think a game is unwinnable no matter what the pitching matchup is. Baseball's too unpredictable. We've beaten Sanchez before, and for whatever reason, Ubaldo has had some success against Toronto in the past, including an acceptable game against them this year. So, I'd give the Jays the advantage there, but I'm certainly not going to write that game off.

Tonight's game is interesting. Stroman has looked great when I've seen him in the past, but he's really gotten knocked around lately. Hopefully he'll continue to be off his game.

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I never think a game is unwinnable no matter what the pitching matchup is. Baseball's too unpredictable. We've beaten Sanchez before, and for whatever reason, Ubaldo has had some success against Toronto in the past, including an acceptable game against them this year. So, I'd give the Jays the advantage there, but I'm certainly not going to write that game off.

Tonight's game is interesting. Stroman has looked great when I've seen him in the past, but he's really gotten knocked around lately. Hopefully he'll continue to be off his game.

Forget about him? Does he throw fastballs?

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That stadium has been a house of horrors for the Orioles over the years. Anyone remember Greg Olson bouncing the curveball in the why not season? Broke my heart:) Thing is, that kind of stuff evens out over time. It's better to be lucky than good and its about time we get lucky in Toronto. One down, three to go...

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<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">THIS 82 YEAR OLD MAN ON AMERICA'S GOT TALENT SINGING "BODIES" BY DROWNING POOL IS BY FAR THE THING OF 2016 <a href="https://t.co/q2cuzbKVri">pic.twitter.com/q2cuzbKVri</a></p>— FREDDY (@FreddyAmazin) <a href="

">June 9, 2016</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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I think the key for us is to get the Jays' starters pitch counts up so that we are into their bullpen in the 6th and 7th inning. And of course, our starters can't let the games get out of hand. They were able to do that in the April series against the Jays, where the scores of the games were 3-4, 4-3 and 3-2. I have trouble imagining that the scores will be that low this weekend, even though the Jays haven't been a powerhouse offense so far this year.

The O's followed this prescription to a T last night, getting Stroman out of the game after 5.1 innings. And sure enough, the Jays bullpen coughed it up.

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The O's followed this prescription to a T last night, getting Stroman out of the game after 5.1 innings. And sure enough, the Jays bullpen coughed it up.
If we can do it again with Estrada we are in good shape. Their pen is not overwhelming.
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If we can do it again with Estrada we are in good shape. Their pen is not overwhelming.

Estrada's success in a Blue Jay uniform really annoys me. He was incredibly homer-prone with the Brewers, I figured he would be a complete disaster in the AL East/SkyDome. That Lind-for-Estrada deal is huge for the Jays.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

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