Another blown lead last night left Blue Jays fans restless. Up 6-1 early in the game after home runs from Brett Lawrie and Jose Reyes, it looked like the Jays would be able to cruise to victory over the Orioles. But Dustin McGowan came unhinged, Todd Redmond couldn’t stop the bleeding and the Jays couldn’t muster up enough offence to come back.
Today offers an opportunity to rebound and win a big series over a divisional opponent. The starting pitchers will be the same ones that faced off on the 12th in Baltimore, Drew Hutchison and Bud Norris. Both threw exceptionally well in that affair, going a combined 13 innings without allowing a run, but since then Norris struggled in his latest start against the Red Sox, giving up 4 ER through 6.1, while Hutchison threw relatively well against the Indians, going 5.1 while giving up 2 and striking out 9.
Not many Blue Jays have had a lot AB’s against Norris in the past, but Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, and Dioner Navarro have had success in limited AB’s. Colby Rasmus has been pitiful against Norris throughout his career, sporting a .160/.222/.360 through 25 matchups.
Hutchison’s best start of the year came against these Orioles, and he’ll have to do more of the same for the Jays to win this one. He’ll need to establish the fastball early, but use his offspeed stuff frequently enough to keep this powerful offence at bay. His fastball usage is down from 2012, 65.8% compared to 76.4%. Hutchison is clearly finding increased confidence in his slider and changeup, and he’ll need to use them to keep Baltimore’s strong lineup off balance.
After McGowan could only go 4+ innings last night, Hutchison will need to head deep into the game to give the bullpen a little rest. Another short outing would handcuff the bullpen heading into the series against the Red Sox.
Toronto Blue Jays Line-up (via Shi Davidi)
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) April 24, 2014
Baltimore Orioles Line-up
4/24 @Orioles lineup vs. TOR Markakis RF Cruz DH Davis 1B Jones CF Wieters C Hardy SS Flaherty 3B Schoop 2B Lough LF Norris P
— MLBLineups (@mlblineups) April 24, 2014