This series was supposed to be a battle for top spot in the AL. Alas, it is two teams that stumble bummed their way out of the playoffs with shoddy starting pitching and key injuries to key people. Both are playing out the string but there is always pride that hopefully guides each side as the season winds down. There are many jobs up for grabs in both rotations, some bullpen spots as well. Both sides seemingly have most of their position players figured out (either through contract or performance) so management needs to see if the chemistry and intangibles are prevalent on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Game 1: Jerome Williams (6-10, 4.60 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (11-7, 3.88 ERA)
Game 2: C.J. Wilson (15-6, 3.42 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (12-12, 4.29 ERA)
Game 3: Garrett Richards (6-6, 3.90 ERA) vs J.A. Happ (4-5, 5.09 ERA)
Jerome Williams is an average pitcher who seems to be battling for a permanent spot in a major league rotation every year. He has decent stuff but never seems to be able to put it all together for an extended period of time. He is a pitch to contact type of guy and the way the Blue Jays bats are faring these days it could be an early night for him. Mark Buehrle is on a roll. Even for him. He will hit 200 innings again this year which would make it 13 years in a row. He has already gone over 10 wins for the 13th straight year. Every pitcher has a down stretch and his early goings on were frightful but we should have known he would be what he was meant to be…an inning eating machine.
Wilson has been having a very good year. He is sort of the Buehrle type in that he gives you solid innings from start to start and give his team a chance to win. Going up against the resurgent Dickey may prove troublesome. Dickey has been very good over the second half of the season. He reminds me of Jack Morris. He seems to pitch to the score and giving up runs isn’t an issue as long as his team scores more. This could be a true pitchers duel if both guys come out and pitch to their capabilities.
Richards started out as a very average pitcher this year but lately he has been one of the Angels best. His last 10 games he has an ERA under 3 and more often than not is pitching into the later parts of games. If Happ can build off of his last start this may be another pitching duel. However, Happ is hot and cold and may not be enough to weather the storm of that Richards has been dealing. Chalk this one up to the Halos
Probable Starting Lineups
Toronto Blue Jays
Worth the Price of Admission: I am going to step out of the usual and state the obvious: Mike Trout. We could very well be seeing the best position player in baseball stepping out onto the turf at the Rogers Centre. He is having another ridiculous year and he is still only 22. The only blips I see are his 115 strikeouts but that will lower as he gets even better. Yes folks he can and will get better. A player for the ages.
Worth the Price of Soiled Gum: J.P. Arencibia….see previous posts.
The Jays are playing loose baseball and we can thank the improved defense for this one. We are solid in the infield and outfield. I would go so far as to say that aside from Sierra and Arencibia, we are loaded with potential gold glovers at all positions. I wonder how good we could have been if our defense played like this all year (granted much was lost due to injurt). It gives me great hope for next season.