May 15, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (second right) is greeted by first baseman Adam Lind (left) and third baseman Juan Francisco (second left) after driving in Jose Bautista (right) with a two-run home run in the fifth inning against Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (21-21) @ Texas Rangers (20-21)

First off props to our editor in charge of corralling us and making us write good for doing the last series preview while I took care of some personal time. We love you like a man Kyle! Lots of arm chucks and noogies if I ever see you face to face. I would also like to noogie pretty much the entire Blue Jays pitching rotation for the debacle on Wednesday. When you have to get to the PPP stage (Position Player Pitching) then you know your manager has completely given up. Me hates me the PPP. On the bright side the series has seen the continued emergence of Juan Francisco as our surprise player of the year. Sure he toiled a bit in Milwaukee but what he has done in Toronto is so impressive it pushed Brett Lawrie back to second base (too bad because his defense at third is sick!).

The vaunted Rangers offense has been let down this season by the less than stellar pitching. It’s been Yu Darvish up front, Joakim Soria on the back end and whomever isn’t having their arm fall off. Martin Perez and Matt Harrison are lost from the rotation and Colby Lewis has been pretty terrible so far. It kind of reminds me of the Blue Jays. Great hitters for the most part, some underachieving (See Beltre, Adrian and Fielder, Prince) but generally doing alright. Pitching seems to be getting in the way and the similarities are also reflected in the records of both teams. This should make for a fun series deep in the heart of Texas.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Drew Hutchison (1-3, 4.37 ERA) vs Yu Darvish (3-1, 2.33 ERA)

So Drew. We know it’s been a tough go this year. You are holding your own and have generally kept the team in most games. Yes you have had some bad innings or one bad pitch but overall you have earned the right to stay in this rotation. Since you have lost your last three starts we figure we’ll give you a wicked challenge and set you up against Yu Darvish…you know…the guy who almost tossed a no-no against the Red Sox. But don’t worry. With the way the Rangers are hitting you may have a chance. I mean they are starting some .140 hitter named Arencibia for goodness sake. Just bear down and you have a chance.

It would appear that the Japanese sensation has adjusted perfectly to the Majors. Yu Darvish is sick. He is capable of a no-hitter every time out and rivals Clayton Kershaw as the stopper ace. The kind of number 1 that puts an end to losing streaks. His K:BB ratio is 4:1. He is top 10 in many different categories in the AL. You figure he is bound to get even better as he learns the true intricacies of the game. The one thing that definitely doesn’t work for the Blue Jays is that he doesn’t give up many homeruns. That is the Blue Jays bread and butter and could spell doom for game one of this series.

Game 2: Mark Buehrle (7-1, 2.04 ERA) vs Colby Lewis (3-2, 4.99 ERA)

Buehrle may be the best pitcher in the AL right now. Tied for the lead in ERA, 1 homerun given up all season and an average of almost 7 innings a start. His WHIP is higher due to the amount of hits he gives up, which is normal for him. The epitome of the crafty, soft tossing lefty. In a place like Globe Life Park at Arlington you never know what is going to happen on offense. Buehrle is due for a clunker, as all pitchers are in such a long season but today I feel it. I feel the burly Buehrle will take this one.

The way Colby Lewis has been pitching is the main reason for this. Lewis Hasn’t even completed 6 innings in any start this season. Even his last start when he gave up a goose egg he still didn’t get out of the 6th. Too many pitches per start and with an BAA against approaching .350 how does anyone expect to survive in a rotation with those numbers? Injuries abound and that’s pretty much why he is still ticking. He has the track record to turn things around but with the way the Jays have been raking this could be hazardous to his ERA.

Game 3: R.A. Dickey (4-3, 4.53 ERA) vs TBA

R.A. has had 5 quality starts in a row which means he is being pretty average. He has long lost his number 1 starter tag and has fallen into the veteran who is going to give it his all no matter what. He still walks too many people and isn’t striking out near what he usually does but at least he is not giving up mad amounts of homeruns like he did last year. The knuckler is great indoors but let’s see what it does in the humid Texas air.

Probable Starting Lineups

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. DH: Edwin Encarnacion
5. 1B: Adam Lind
6. 3B: Juan Francisco
7. 2B: Brett Lawrie
8. C: Josh Thole
9. CF: Anthony Gose

Texas Rangers

1. LF: Shin-Soo Choo
2. SS: Elvis Andrus
3. 3B: Adrian Beltre
4. 1B: Prince Fielder
5. RF: Alex Rios
6. DH: Mitch Moreland
7. C: J.P. Arencibia
8. CF: Leonys Martin
9. 2B: Rougned Odor

Worth the Price of Admission: I’ll say it again. Yu Darvish is one of those players you need to see before he retires. He is that good. Considering the array of pitches in his arsenal we may never see such a pitcher again for quite some time.

Worth the Price of a Rusty Spur: Helloooooooo J.P. Arencibia. I never thought he could be worse than he was last year for the Blue Jays but lo and behold he has proven me wrong. He barely even plays anymore and could very well be out of the majors this time next year. Too bad. Such a nice fella.

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