Jun 1, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Brett Lawrie (13) and right fielder Jose Bautista (center) and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) celebrate a win over the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Kansas City 4-0. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Blue Jays in Detroit to Tame the Tigers

Predicting is one of the fun aspects of this gig. People hound me constantly if a prediction I make doesn’t come true…that I should give up my predicting in lieu of more boring analytic process on the numbers that help flow more smoothly during this sabermetric time in baseball. I say bollocks. As has been stated here before I tend to look at the game in the older fan fashion. I make predictions based on how my gut feels and with the basic 100 year old stats . About 70% of the time I am right. This time I predicted that the Blue Jays winning streak would stop at the first game with the Kansas City Royals…I was right. I predicted the next three game as wins and was right on all but the second game of the series. I am going to be wrong.

…if I was able to pick perfectly all 162 games I would own much more than I do now. Benz’s for all my friends’z is my motto.
We all are…if I was able to pick perfectly all 162 games I would own much more than I do now. Benz’s for all my friends’z is my motto. I would own Vegas…so my dear readers do not take the picks as seriously as you do…I have no more information than the lot of you so caaalm down. Anyway…on to the predictions!

The Blue Jays are still one of the top teams in baseball and have a nice little lead on the rest of the AL East going into Motown to take on the always dangerous Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera has again rocketed to the lead in RBI, 2nd to his teammate Victor Martinez in Batting average and 2nd to Jose Altuve in hits just to name a few. His power is down slightly but knowing this man-child he will be among the top three in homers and slugging percentage before the year is up. The team overall ranks first in batting average, second in slugging, third in stolen bases and third in OPS. Their team pitching is alright, though almost all the starters have an ERA over 3.00 the team ERA is still fifth. Sounds like the makings another run at the Central title. Can they be taken down and tranquilized? Time will tell…

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Drew Hutchison (4-3, 3.88 ERA) vs Anibal Sanchez (2-2, 2.49 ERA)

Hutchison isn’t perfect yet. He is still rather young at 23 and is going to have a few bad games. Thankfully his bad games are fewer than his great games. He is maturing and growing into a reliable starting pitcher in this league. In four games against the AL East he has given up 3 or less runs 3 times. That is what matters most in this era of the unbalanced schedule. I would love to go back to more of a balanced schedule, especially with Wild Cards involved but that’s a rant for another time. For now Hutch is proving he can pitch with the big boys and against the Tigers he is going up against one of the biggest and baddest lineups in the American League. This is going to be tough but with his away ERA almost 4 runs better than his home ERA he should have a good shot in the pitchers park that is Comerica.

Anibal Sanchez is proving again that he may be one of the more under-appreciated starting pitchers in all of baseball. He has been a consistent winner this season he has yet to give up more than 3 runs in any game so far. With a K:BB around 3:1, batters batting .183 against him and a WHIP under 1 (.99) he is truly in the discussion of the best of the best. The Tigers starters have been iffy but not Sanchez. Look for him to quiet the savage bats of the Blue Jays and the Tigers to take the first game.

Game 2: R.A. Dickey (5-4, 4.30 ERA) vs Rick Porcello (8-2, 3.82 ERA)

Dickey had railed off 6 quality starts before sinking back to earth in a loss against the Kansas City Royals. They were a team begging to be taken down and Dickey couldn’t do it. His days as a number 1 are definitely over. He is slowly becoming a serviceable third starter type in the same mold as Tim Wakefield was during his Boston days. Some days will be brilliant and others he will get torched. To keep the win total up the Blue Jays offense will have to be on their toes and ready to rumble pretty much every Dickey outing because you really don’t know what you are going to get. His ERA has been under 4 for the past month but going up against a powerful offense like the Tigers it’s going to be a high scoring battle.

Rick Porcello kind of has the same issues as Dickey. He can be brilliant at times and he can stink the joint out. His overall numbers run about the same. His WHIP is 1.23 and his K:BB ratio is almost 3:1. He has the capabilities to be a very good starter but his consistency needs to improve. At 26 he is seems to be improving but over his career he never had an ERA under 4 and his BAA against was definitely below average. This game could get to the bullpens early and if so look for the Jays to sneak this one out.

Game 3: J.A. Happ (4-2, 4.10 ERA) vs Justin Verlander (6-4, 3.99 ERA)

Same old with Happ. High WHIP, less than stellar BAA against, K:BB not worth mentioning. He is lucky the options are few and far between. He seems to wiggle out of jams but there are always going to be a ton of runners, probably a home run given up and a ridiculously high pitch count. With Stroman making strides and Daniel Norris tearing it up in the minors Happ may not be long for the rotation…also if they decide to make a deal for a pitcher to help with the pennant race you can bet Happ is the first guy out. Must be tough being Happ.

Justin Verlander has not been himself this year. Perhaps the 7 straight years of 200++ innings is starting to get to him. He has still had his amazing starts but they are being counteracted by more than a few lousy starts. His K:BB is down and his WHIP is up. I have utmost faith that he will straighten himself out because he is such a gamer but be careful Tiger fans…the DL could be in his future. For now Happ doesn’t stand a chance against him. Tigers take it.

Probable Starting line-ups

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: Erik Kratz
9. CF: Anthony Gose

Detroit Tigers

1. 2B: Ian Kinsler
2. RF: Torii Hunter
3. 1B: Miguel Cabrera
4. DH: Victor Martinez
5. CF: Austin Jackson
6. 3B: Nick Castellanos
7. C: Alex Avila
8. SS: Alex Romine
9. LF: Rajai Davis

Worth the Price of Admission: Miguel Cabrera may just end up being one of the top hitters ever. He never seems to take a year off and gets better and better. 10 years of 25+ homers, 100 RBI…11 Years of 20+ doubles (with 5 seasons of 40 or more), 10+ years hitting .292 or higher with the last three consecutive seasons being the batting champ. He hit for the freakin’ Triple Crown and may just do it again! History right before us.

Worth the Price of Land in Detroit: Austin Romine. even teams as stacked as the Tigers have a lame duck. .205 BA, .527 OPS, .956 fielding percentage…I think I’d rather have the toxic Detroit land.

Tags: Toronto Blue Jays

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