Jun 25, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Munenori Kawasaki (66) and shortstop Jose Reyes (7) celebrate scoring on a double by left fielder Melky Cabrera (not pictured) in the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Blue Jays looking to poke holes in the White Sox Lineup

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It isn’t always pretty and it isn’t ever perfect. The Yankees series showed some resilience with the Blue Jays taking 2 of 3 when they weren’t hitting or fielding or pitching at their best. That is how teams finish first…win those you have no business winning. These are games the team doesn’t win last year. If Reyes can get back on track and the pitching can get through these hot muggy summer days aaaaand we don’t lose Jose Bautista….again…then the team has a true shot to take a playoff spot for the first time since before some of you were born.

The White Sox have been generally not so go)od but they got the crazy Cuban Jose Abreu just smoking the ball all over the field and Alexei Ramirez hitting beyond what he has ever shown before. But what is keeping them down is a pitching staff that is 2nd worst in ERA in the AL. Their starting rotation has been trying out some new arms and missing others. Chris Sale was injured but has picked up where he left off with a 2.27 ERA. The rest of the rotation is below average at best. The team is just a wee bit of a mess and that includes a bullpen that has no real stopper.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Scott Carroll (2-3, 4.30 ERA) vs J.A. Happ (6-4, 4.87 ERA)

Carroll was hoping to solidify his spot in the rotation but got a little sloppy and was sent to the bullpen. There he righted himself and apparently he has developed a cut fastball to go with his fastball. He earned another shot and the Blue Jays will be his first test of the new pitch. He may be catching the team at a good time since we are trotting out Juan Francisco on a consistent basis along with Munenori Kawasaki. Though with a BAA against of .309 and a WHIP of about one and a half look for the Jays to peck away and get this kid off his game.

J.A. Happ. What is there to say that hasn’t already been said. This guy is having issues getting deep into games and every five starts seems to be a disaster. His K:BB is pretty below average (49:28) and he gives up a lot of fly balls. His time is limited, especially if Daniel Norris keeps it up and Aaron Sanchez keeps mowing them down. If a trade is to be had I can see him being a throw in. Unless he has a dazzling turnaround I do not think he is long for this team.

Game 2: John Danks (6-6, 4.34 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (6-6, 4.04 ERA)

Danks up until 2010 was on his way to a pretty good career….ERA of 3.50 a decent BAA against and a solid spot in the rotation…2011 on and he has never had an ERA below 4.33 and his BAA against went up 20 points. SO where does he stand? Since the White Sox are in a bit of a rebuild so Danks is most likely on the trading block….maybe to the Jays. Will a change of scenery help? The numbers really don’t play that out.

Dickey for the most part has settled in to quality start territory. He is trending towards going deeper into games as evidenced by his 7.2 he threw at the Reds and as opposed to last year is, for the most part, keeping the ball in the park. Here is hoping the Dome is open and the ball is dancing against this middling Chisox offense. This looks like a Blue Jays win.

Game 3: Chris Sale (6-1, 2.27 ERA) vs Marcus Stroman (4-2, 4.25 ERA)

Sale is a guy you build a rotation around. Low ERA, huge strikeouts, low walk rate. A crafty hard throwing lefty who is always in talks about Cy Young candidates. With a WHIP of 0.83 and a BAA against of .197 he is on track for another dominating season. He is young, controllable and an anchor for the next decade for the White Sox. He is one of those pitchers that isn’t just fun to watch as a Chicago fan but as a baseball fan who appreciates what he is able to do.

Is it possible that Marcus Stroman could be like that? Definitely. He has shown great poise, his ERA is steadily dropping and he has 30 K against 7 walks…and three of those were in one game. He came back against a Yankee team that got him out in the fourth first time out and went 7 innings of 3 hit, 1 run ball. People keep expecting this short in stature guy to start to break down but he isn’t. He looks like the real deal. This should be a close game but just because of track record I give this to the White Sox.

Game 4: Jose Quintana (4-7, 3.69 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (10-4, 2.52 ERA)

Jose Quintana is another cog in the White Sox rotation who seemingly has a great career ahead of him. 8 out of his last 10 starts he has given up 3 runs or less. He is almost maddeningly consistent. His ERA has never been below 3.51 or higher than 3.76. His WHIP and FA/OA are almost identical through three seasons. He is the prototypical number 3 and he wears it well.

Buehrle has been giving up the odd big inning and is slowly coming back to earth. Not to say he isn’t still doing a great job. He is bound to give up more than three runs once in a while and he has done that. He is giving up less than a hit an inning and has been great generally keeping run scoring to a minimum no matter the circumstance. This is going to be a fun game if you like pitching and I think Buehrle is due for a big game against his old team.

Probable Starting Lineups

Chicago White Sox

1. CF: Adam Eaton
2. 2B: Gordon Beckham
3. 3B: Conor Gillaspie
4. 1B: Jose Abreu
5. DH: Adam Dunn
6. SS: Alexei Ramirez
7. RF: Dayan Viciedo
8. LF: Alejandro De Aza
9. C: Tyler Flowers

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. 1B: Adam Lind
4. DH: Edwin Encarnacion
5. C: Dioner Navarro
6. 3B: Juan Francisco
7. CF: Colby Rasmus
8. 2B: Munenori Kawasaki
9. RF: Brad Glenn

Worth the Price of Admission: Chris Sale. One of baseball’s brightest young arms. Enjoy watching him this weekend

Worth the Price of Rob Ford’s Political Career: Paul Konerko. Ummmmmmm dude. You were awesome and stuff but uhhhhhh….time to call it quits. Hall of Fame could be in your future…don’t stay too long.

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