Apr 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) reacts in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Live Game Thread 28: Blue Jays (12-15) at Royals (14-12)

After it started fairly well, April ended on quite a sour note for the Toronto Blue Jays, who have lost 7 of their last 10 games and slipped 3.5 games behind the first place New York Yankees. However, the good news is that April is now behind us, and with a new month comes a new page. To get this new chapter started out the right way, the Blue Jays will first need to solve the Kansas City Royals, who have taken the first two games of this series.

Toronto will send left-hander Mark Buehrle to the mound. At 4-1 and sporting a 2.16 ERA, Buehrle was a pleasant surprise for the Blue Jays right out of the gate. Of his 190 career wins, Buehrle has accumulated 23 of those against the Kansas City Royals, his second largest total against any team. In his lone start against the Royals last season, Buehrle went 7 innings, allowing no runs on 4 hits, a walk, and 5 strike-outs.

He’ll be opposed by right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, who owns a 2-1 record with a 4.22 ERA. Guthrie has 20 career appearances against the Blue Jays, and owns a 3-7 record despite posting a solid 3.34 ERA, most of which was done during his time with the Baltimore Orioles. Guthrie made one start against Toronto last season, allowing 8 hits and a run over 7 innings of work in a no-decision.

Toronto Blue Jays Line-up:

 

Jose Reyes – SS
Chris Getz – 2B
Jose Bautista – RF
Edwin Encarnacion – 1B
Dioner Navarro – C
Juan Francisco – DH
Brett Lawrie – 3B
Colby Rasmus – CF
Anthony Gose – LF

Notes: As expected, Melky Cabrera is out of the line-up tonight and Anthony Gose, who received the call-up this morning, is getting the start in his place. Cabrera was hit in the leg by a pitch in Wednesday night’s game and left with the injury, unable to put weight on it at the time. However, the news appears to be better than it first appeared. According to Gregor Chisholm, the x-rays came back negative and Melky is day-to-day with a bone bruise on his left shin.

Kansas City Royals Line-up:

 

Omar Infante – 2B
Eric Hosmer – 1B
Billy Butler – DH
Salvador Perez – C
Alex Gordon – LF
Danny Valencia – 3B
Jason Maxwell – RF
Alcides Escobar – SS
Jarrod Dyson – CF

Notes: With the left-hander on the mound for the Blue Jays, Mike Moustakas draws bench duty for the Royals. That means Danny Valencia gets the start at third base. Valencia owns a career slash-line of .329/.366/.516 against southpaws over the course of his career, but is only .280/.308/.400 against Buehrle.

The batter to watch for the Royals will be Billy Butler, who absolutely owns Mark Buehrle. In 60 career at-bats against Buehrle, Butler has 30 hits, including 3 home runs, and 15 RBI, good enough for a .333/.369/.533 slash-line.

It is hard to paint any games as a must win for the Blue Jays, especially this early in the season, but given the results of last season and the recent slide, the team needs to get something started. A good roll to start May will help stem the flow of fatalists jumping off the bandwagon. Stick around and chat it up with us and help reverse the mojo for tonight’s game!

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Tags: Mark Buehrle Toronto Blue Jays

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