Jul 25, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) celebrates after scoring a run in the seventh inning with third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) and designated hitter Mark DeRosa (16) against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (50-57, 5th AL East) vs Los Angeles Angels (48-58, 4th AL West)



Well I certainly didn’t see a 2 of 3 from the AL West leading Athletics but there you go. Esmil Rogers continued his slow descent while Buerhle continued his stellar pitching of late and R.A. Dickey had a decent game. Our pitchers for the most part handled what is actually a pretty pedestrian offence. Hopefully the good vibes continue and we take advantage of a Pujols-less Angels team. Back in March we were all thinking this could have been a series where both team were fighting for the AL Lead…not the AL basement.

The Angels are reeling and in sell mode having moved useful players in Scott Downs and Albert Callaspo. With the afore mentioned Albert Pujols most likely missing the rest of the year with plantar fasciitis, It would seem the Angels are pulling an Anthopoulos and just riding out the rest of the season to see what changes can be made in the off-season. With 6 straight losses it would appear the Angels are ripe for the picking. There are of course Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick of the world fighting it out but even their prize of the off-season, Josh Hamilton, is hitting a paltry .226. Their pitching is 14th in the league with a 4.35 ERA. Even the Jays are better than that (4.32). Should be an interesting series to say the least.

Probable Pitchers

Game 1: Josh Johnson (1-7, 6.08 ERA) vs Garrett Richards (2-4, 4.33 ERA)
Game 2: Todd Redmond (1-1, 3.81 ERA) vs Tommy Hanson (4-2, 5.15 ERA)
Game 3: Esmil Rogers (3-5, 4.36 ERA) vs Jered Weaver (5-5, 2.84 ERA)
Game 4: Mark Buehrle (7-7, 4.27 ERA) vs C.J. Wilson (11-6, 3.48 ERA)

This is not what I expected when we got Josh Johnson. He has truly be an epic disappointment in relation to the track record he has. His command seems to have disappeared. MLB.com says it’s due to his shoulder flying open upon delivery. That sounds like what Ricky Romero was doing. What Roy Halladay did before his famous mechanics correction years back. The question is why? Is it something that happened while working back from injury? If it is something so simple then I am calling on Pete Walker to get it addressed. With all our injuries and poor performances from our starters when do we get to call out the coaches? Or have they done all they can do?

This would be a great comeback outing against Garrett Richards. He has taken Joe Blanton‘s spot in the rotation and has been steady if unspectacular. Most of his numbers are as a reliever. His first start against the A’s landed him 5 scoreless innings. As we saw in the series we just finished, the A’s bats are not that great so taking on the Jays may be a truer test of what to expect from Richards.

Todd Redmond has done a decent job for the two starts he has made. He equaled the team high for the year with 10 strikeouts so he seems to have the capabilities to warrant staying in the rotation for now. Here is hoping he can track better as a starter than the suddenly failing Esmil Rogers. Our depth has certainly been tested and a good showing for Redmond will slide him up the ladder in terms of organizational depth.

Former Brave Tommy Hanson has been erratic his last ten starts. He has given up 0 runs once, 1 run twice, 2 runs twice, 3 runs once, 4 runs once, 5 runs twice and 7 runs once. That would not make me feel secure hitting the batters box. You don’t know what you need on any given start to ensure the best course for victory. This game is a toss up to me.

Rogers has hit the proverbial wall. As much as he tries his pitches are getting tattooed. He gave up 8 runs earned in his last start and even though he only gave up 2 the start before, I was there watching the game and he was getting lit up all over the place. He pitched himself out of most of the jams that he put himself in but how long does it last playing with fire like that? Is he going through a dead arm period as he has been stretched out? Perhaps a skipped turn through the rotation will help…except there is no other choice right now until J.A. Happ gets back and that won’t be for another 2 weeks.

Jered Weaver is the man on the mound in Los Angeles. When he is on he has the makings of an elite pitcher in the majors. He is injury and pain free these days and in 6 of his last 10 starts he has given up 1 or 0 runs. Oddly in the other 4 games he has given up 4 three times and 5 once. It just shows that when he is on he is almost unbeatable. But every few starts he seems to throw a bit of an egg. he is due for an egg throwing game but our free swinging ways should lead to another victory for Weaver.

Buehrle is officially never going to be in my dog house again (yes I know the irony of that statement). He has been exactly what he is advertised to be and more lately. He is on a string of 20 scoreless innings which is 5 away from his career high. I think the bubble will burst on this one but not to the point of an implosion. I see a solid 7 innings and 2 earned for this one.

C.J. Wilson is back on track. He has been one of the most durable starters over the last 4 seasons for Texas and L.A.. His K:BB ratio is mediocre but the results of pitching to contact with a slick fielding team like the Angels has been beneficial. Over his last ten he has given up 3 or less runs 8 times. That is a model of consistency needed in the middle of a big league rotation. This is going to be a great game and my homer side says the Jays will sneak it out once we get into their bullpen.

Probably Starting Lineups

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. 1B: Edwin Encarnacion
5. DH: Adam Lind
6. CF: Colby Rasmus
7. 2B: Maicer Izturis
8. C: J.P. Arencibia
9. 3B: Brett Lawrie

Los Angeles Angels

1. RF: Kole Calhoun
2. CF: Mike Trout
3. LF: Josh Hamilton
4. 2B: Howie Kendrick
5. 1B: Mark Trumbo
6. SS: Erick Aybar
7. 3B: Chris Nelson
8. DH: J.B. Shuck
9. C: Chris Iannetta

Final Word

We are officially playing for pride. It would be nice to say we have a shot at a Wild Card but with 7 teams between us and that goal it is a fruitless endeavour. Standing Pat at the trade deadline has shown Alex Anthopoulos really needs to just stick it out. If all of these star players are having career worst years at the same time then perhaps there is no need to blow it up. The Jays are not as bad as they seem and with a healthy rotation that pitched to it’s potential, 2014 could be a fun year. There is time to tweak after. let’s just support our boys in blue for the year. Let’s show Lawrie we will give him one more benefit of the doubt season. Show R.A. Dickey we don’t think he is the pitcher he has shown this year. Just enjoy the baseball and dream for next season.

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