Jul 4, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman (54) prepares to deliver a pitch against the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Blue Jays Look for a West Coast Turnaround in Anaheim


I really don’t know what to say here. I want to get all witty and smart ass like but I can’t. That was just dreadful. It reminds me of last year except a month early. The offense is tanking huge as we get ourselves some decent starting pitching. The offense is 13th in BA but the pitching is 2ND(!) with a 2.53 ERA. Who would have thought that at the beginning of the year? Is Nolan Reimold the next Juan Francisco? Can the Blue Jays withstand the loss of Edwin Encarnacion? We should see a spike in Jose Bautista‘s walk rate even with Adam Lind behind him. There really isn’t much more you can do to tweak the lineup so it is what it is for now.

We should see a spike in Jose Bautista’s walk rate even with Adam Lind behind him.

Over in Anaheim, the Angels are sporting the best record in the AL for the last month (20-8). They are killing it at home with a 10 game winning streak at home and 15 of their last 16 in Anaheim. That is some mighty fine winnin’ right there. If there is a hope to taking the series from the Angels it would be to keep the pitching momentum rolling and the Blue Jays finding their long ball stroke. It will be tough sine the only team who has given up fewer hits than the Angels are the surging and surprising Seattle Mariners. Oh! My favourite stat comes from Mike Vernon of MLB.com: With a win Monday, the Angels would have an all-time franchise record of 4272-4272-3. It would be the first time since 1961, when they were 1-1, that the Angels were at .500. Thanks Mike! Neat stat!

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: J.A. Happ (7-4, 4.38 ERA) vs Jered Weaver (9-6, 3.56 ERA)

Happ is going to give me fits for the rest of the season. For the most part he has done fairly well but the one thing that keeps him from being very good as opposed to good is the ability to not just have a bad game but really have a bad game here and there. In his last ten starts he has given up 4 or more runs 4 times. Decent but the kind of numbers that eventually could get you moved to the bullpen after a possible trade for reinforcements.

Jered Weaver has been very good this season…well that is until his last three starts where his ERA has been 11.08. He will turn it around, that is a given. He hasn’t lost it yet. Hopefully he rediscovers his mojo after the Blue Jays leave town because a win over a big time pitcher like this could do wonders for the Blue Jays psyche.

Game 2: R.A. Dickey (6-8, 4.10 ERA) vs Tyler Skaggs (4-4, 4.16 ERA)

Dickey is kind of the expensive version of J.A. Happ. Every few outings he has a stinker but generally has been decent. The difference is Dickey doesn’t give up huge amounts of runs when he loses…he gives up just enough. With an ERA under 4 the last ten games, perhaps Dickey has finally settled in this year. He seems to need a few months to get the knuckler up to snuff. We carried him through part of the season and now is the time to really show the American League that he will be a very slow force to be reckoned with.

Skaggs has been rather ordinary at home this season with an ERA approaching 6. On the road it is about 3. Perhaps there is a way to keep Skaggs’ starts at home to a minimum. He has been a very valued commodity in trade talks over the years and we sometimes see flashes of why. Until he is able to string together a successful season from start to finish he will just be another pick that has fallen because of the criticism. Here should be the Blue Jays taking it.

Game 3: Marcus Stroman (4-2, 3.44 ERA) vs C.J. Wilson (8-6, 4.23 ERA)

This is the matchup I wanted. Marcus Stroman proves with every pitch and every game he is worthy of staying in this rotation…heck he has been the best pitcher in the rotation for a couple times through now. His walks are still a bit high in conjunction with his strikeout rate and his WHIP is pretty good. Adjustments will be made going forward by the opposition but Stroman seems to have the mentality to take it and truly be one of the best starters on the Blue Jays staff. Against this powerful Angels’ lineup it should be a very good test of how far Stroman has come in such a short time.

C.J. Wilson is another premium pitcher who has been up and down this season. He is capable of great things but in his last 10 games he has given up 4 or more runs 5 times. Perhaps he is on the downgrade. A look at his peripherals show a pitcher who’s numbers aren’t far off career norms…except for the bloated ERA. I see great things for Wilson after the all-star game. Before then he is ours for the taking.

Probable Starting Lineups

Toronto Blue Jays

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

Oakland Athletics

1. RF: Collin Cowgill
2. CF: Mike Trout
3. DH: Albert Pujols
4. LF: Josh Hamilton
5. 2B: Howie Kendrick
6. SS: Erick Aybar
7. 3B: David Freese
8. 1B: C.J. Cron
9. C: Chris Iannetta

Worth the Price of Admission:: Mike Trout. Best player in baseball. Has the chance to be one of the best all-time. A Hall of Famer in the making.

Worth the Price of a old school Rally Monkey: Ian Stewart. Had decent years early in his tenure at Colorado but since 2011 he is either injured or just plain bad.

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Tags: Toronto Blue Jays

  • bob l.

    not article related, but does anybody know when/where max pentacost will join the organization?

    • Andrew van Laar

      -A Vancouver :)

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      Last I heard he was in Florida trying to figure out his passport, once that’s sorted out he’s expected to join the C’s.

      • Andrew van Laar

        You would think with his signing bonus he could pay for a express passport eh?

        • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

          haha I think part of it also has to do with the fact he’s played a lot of baseball this year (his season didn’t end until after the draft). give it another week or so and he should be in the lineup.

  • RyanMueller

    Wondering if getting Rasmus is the key to turning the Jays around. When hot he can carry this team.

    • Andrew van Laar

      Rasmus is never the key to anything Ryan… Other than making sure to dash your hopes and dreams and everything good, fluffy and candy like.

      • RyanMueller

        Oh come now Andrew don’t be like towards Colby. It’s not that much to ask that a player that is on the verge of asking for a multi-year multi-million dollar contract to prove his worth….is it?

        • Andrew van Laar

          In most cases I would say yes, but i dislike Colby so much that I don’t want the Jays to even possibly think about resigning him.

          • brad

            and who would they put in the OF? Gose?…lol. As much as I hate how streaky Rasmus is, the guy plays a good CF and can carry a team when he is hot…. while also eating dreams when cold. Don’t see a lot of potential replacements kicking around….

          • Andrew van Laar

            Yes Gose Exactly. Time to give him the reigns and let him run with it. Colby’s CF defense is good although lately he hasn’t looked so hor, and he can hit a HR now and then. That is the extent of his worth. He cannot carry a team and never has. I don’t remember the last time I said “golly gee! look what Colby just did to save the game for us!”. No. I DO remember how many times I have said “golly gee! look Colby is up with men in RISP late in the game I hope he doesn’t… yep. Yep he did just freaking strikeout again”.

            With Gose you get a guy who will hit for the same average as Colby, get on base a whole lot more, can be a base stealing threat (you have no idea how much that irks me that Colby has attempted to steal 1 base (and was caught) in 664 plate appearances in the last two years), gives you more speed and ground covering ability, can play small ball and us a heck of a lot cheapers.

            So yes, at the end of this year, I would take Gose over Rasmus in a heart beat.

          • brad

            well seeing as over his career Colby has 227 RBI in 606 ABs with RISP and an average 10 points higher than his career average with RISP I would tend to think that is just selective memory.

            In the end though, I agree that Rasmus is not a guy that inspires a lot of confidence. We’ve had this conversation before but thinking Gose is any better is STILL ridiculous imo…. but that’s not really the question.

            Is Gose(or anyone else for that matter) a viable replacement at the MLB level? Absolutely not. His OBP in Buffalo this year is only .306!!!! Last year was only .313!!! Highest non Vegas MiLB average? .262!!! Like strikeouts? More than one a game in the minors(and in every season but 2012 in vegas… when he had 101 in 102 games). I’m sorry but the kid’s bat is just not MLB ready. I don’t see any evidence that could even vaguely suggest that gose will ever have a season where he hits .270+ or has an OBP over .330 without a drastic improvement. On top of all that, he is a HORRIBLE base stealer…. 75% success is not good enough. The extra base stops being worth the extra outs.

            At the very least, with Rasmus there is the potential that he can have a good season(as he has in 2 of the past 4) but I don’t see it with Gose. I don’t want Rasmus back either but in the absence of a trade for a CF(FA class is pretty brutal), he is the only option with a chance of having an above average season.