May 28, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey (center) and third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) react after a win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 3-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Blue Jays Looking to Crown the Underperforming Royals


Walk off!! Bottom of the 9th hijinx.Gotta love the number 9. 9 innings…9 players…9 wins in a row. This certainly feels better than when the Blue Jays did 11 in a row last year around the same time. Whether it’s small ball, or power ball or whatever the Blue Jays can do no wrong…aside from what some writers may say (some people really need to swallow their pessimism). Aside from a few detractors people seem to forget that this is the same team essentially that was supposed to win it all last year. The catching is so much better than last year as is the defense overall. Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera are healthy. The bullpen is straightening out and the bench is deeper. The Blue Jays ARE much better…and I would rather have Drew Hutchison than a broken Josh Johnson anyway Cocoran…

The Royals have been battling injuries and under-performance this season. The pitching has been pretty good on both sides of the ball but the hitting seems to be regressing left, right and centre. Former phenom Mike Moustakas has been sent to AAA Omaha to find himself. Their power has been completely decimated…

hell Edwin Encarnacion is out homering the entire team in May
hell Edwin Encarnacion is out homering the entire team in May (14-10). Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are having less than stellar seasons. Even their speed is almost non-existent. Their defense is even suffering with their 33 errors currently 5th in the AL with a DER of .697. Ugh is right. Sounds like the Blue Jays have a great chance of extending their 9 game win streak…don’t they?

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: James Shields (6-3, 2.95 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (5-4, 3.95 ERA)

Win streaks are awesome but they are also meant to end. 9 games is great and I think we can take this series but Blue Killer James Shields is pitching. His .36 ERA at Rogers Centre in his last 3 starts will tell you what we are in store for. If we can extend to 10 I am all for it but the Blue Jays have always had issue with Tampa pitchers…or this ex-Tampa pitcher.

R.A. Dickey had his strongest game of the year last time out and went 8 1/3 innings. He has been giving up 3 runs or less in his last 7 starts…most only going into the 7th. If the last time out was Dickey getting it all together (finally an ERA under 4) then the streak could be extended. Dickey still walks too many and the Royals are a decent enough team that it will be tough to take 4 straight. Dickey is due for a longball given up or two. I hope I am wrong but if it was going to end this is a good time to just get it over with. So give them this one and let’s start again…

Game 2: Jason Vargas (4-2, 3.55 ERA) vs J.A. Happ (4-1, 3.34 ERA)

Vargas has had a pretty decent season. 7 of his 10 starts have given up 2 or less runs but when he implodes he implodes reeeeal goooood (2 starts of 7 earned). There is nothing really special about Vargas. He is about as average as you get. He can turn it on and give you un-injured quality innings but he will never be a front end guy. He has a better WHIP than is career average but it’s still early. If the Jays are to start another streak, what better pitcher to accommodate us!

I kind of feel the same about J.A. Happ. Sure he has been racking up a few wins but the offense has been saving him. Maddeningly inconsistent he is as likely to give up 5 runs in 1 inning as he is to giving up 1 run in 5 innings. I truly hope he can get by and I had him in as our fourth starter so here he is. Exactly where I thought he would be. Can he keep himself there? For now I am Optimist Prime. He will slay the Vargas and keep the W column growing.

Game 3: Wade Davis (3-1, 1.61 ERA) vs Drew Hutchison (4-3, 3.88 ERA)

Yes I know Wade Davis has been a lights out reliever but Yordano Ventura has a wee bit of an injury and Ned Yost has yet to name a starter. Because he has done it before, Davis is a choice. Go 4 and help the team as best he can. He may surprise…naw he won’t.

Drew Hutchison rarely has back-to-back louse outings so considering his performance against Tampa (5 runs in 5 innings) he is due for another great game. He is still to prone to a bad inning so there is always a chance he will blow it if left in too long. I think John Gibbons has a good sense of what he is able to do and since there are two long men in the pen he most likely isn’t too concerned about Hutch. He will not be great but he will do what it takes to get us the win for this one.

Game 4: Jeremy Guthrie (2-4, 4.14 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (9-1, 2.33 ERA)

Jeremy Guthrie is kind of the less than stellar version of his mound opponent. He has started over 30 games for 7 straights seasons and will most likely have his 8th. He isn’t dominant and can have the odd bad game but you can pencil him in for 6+ innings and 3 runs given up. The ultimate pitcher who gets his wins thanks to the bullpen behind him. He will rack up 180-200 innings with a 5K/9 ratio with 10-13 wins. Yaaaaay number 4 pitchers!

Getting his 3rd win of the year surely will not go down in this game. He has a 1.29 ERA in day games but generally pitches better with grass behind him. He has a better ERA on the road (1.47 to 3.56 at home). His pitching is designed for groundballs and the turf can make those singles that would be outs on grass. He has adjusted and has the capability to run off another win to reach the 10 wins in 12 starts plateau. Until he starts to show signs of faltering I am taking him in any game he is starting.

Probable Starting Lineups

Kansas City Royals

1. RF: Nori Aoki
2. 2B: Omar Infante
3. LF: Alex Gordon
4. DH: Billy Butler
5. 1B: Eric Hosmer
6. SS: Alcides Escobar
7. 3B: Pedro Ciriaco
8. C: Salvador Perez
9. CF: Jarrod Dyson

Toronto Blue Jays

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

Worth the Price of Admission: The Toronto Blue Jays. It is that simple.

Worth the Price of a 2014 Leafs Playoff Ticket: Mike Moustakas. I hope he revives his career. I hope he pulls a Roy Halladay and just kills it again someday. If it does happen, expect it to be somewhere else as part of a July deal. For now…I hear Omaha is nice.

Tags: Edwin Encarnacion Toronto Blue Jays

  • Mike Hradil

    OK #1 the win streak last year was not around the same time – it was at the end of June when the team was already pretty much out of it. #2 stop trying to make predictions as you’re always way way off. Other than that keep up the average work. Go Jays!

    • Tallboywrites

      If I could predict all 162 I would be living in Fiji with my winning bets. Oh and who got the first game prediction right? This guuuuuuuy.

  • bob l.

    i think the biggest reason that this streak feels better is because 6 of the wins cane against boston and tampa. those two teams have pretty much owned the jays the last 3-4 seasons. if nothing else it should be a huge boost for the jays confidence!