Jul 13, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey (43) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Time for the Blue Jays to Put Up or Shut Up

We have seen the same scenarios all through the last 20 years. The Blue Jays are in it or juuust out of it around the All-Star Break. Then they just fade into the darkness of injuries and under-performance…further solidifying yet another year of missed opportunity to get back to the playoffs.

Do you realize there is a generation of Blue Jays fans just graduating from university that have never even had a sniff of a playoff game? You wonder why the masses are so pessimistic (well that and having to deal with the Leafs too…yikes!). Valiantly myself and my fellow scribes and bloggers dissect it frame by frame…pitch by pitch. There are those that try to be pessimistic and just as many on the other side of the fence. We fret and fury and just plain lose our minds sometimes over the game.

Do you realize there is a generation of Blue Jays fans just graduating from university that have never even had a sniff of a playoff game? You wonder why the masses are so pessimistic

It isn’t up to us. Sure you can yell and scream and pour over every boxscore hoping they will find their way. What we sometimes forget is perhaps they don’t have the mettle. They are too young or inexperienced or mistake prone. There is always a reason for failure just as there is for success. Does the team have the fortitude to learn from their past and focus towards the goal? We are about to find out.

So with that I challenge the Blue Jays organization to reach deep down and just do this. You have the talent now. Performance wins games. Talent just gets you the opportunity. If the talent performs to their abilities this team is as good as any to get at least a Wild Card if not the division. Stop playing yo yo with the players. Start getting them to take more pride in their defense. Tell them to keep hitting the way they are truly able. Tell the pitchers to keep it up…well the starting pitching anyway…

Time to put up or shut up Blue Jays. Let’s see that pride in the way you play every day. every day.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Yu Darvish (8-5, 2.97 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (7-9, 3.82 ERA)

As rotations are reset for the dog days of summer it is no surprise that Darvish will be taking the mound. As he went into the break his ERA was 5.40 in games since the middle of June. He is beatable and it seems having a huge repertoire is making it difficult to find routine. Out thinking himself it would seem. Thus in the last 30 days he has been ordinary. By track record alone it appears he is going to be a beast right out of the gate. He would need more of a partnership with the flying objects but concentration shouldn’t be too difficult.

R.A. Dickey had been coming on strong as the first half came to a close. He gave up 2 or less runs in his last three starts and word is he is happy with the progress. Hopefully he will carry this over and clears the hurdle towards a very respectable area. As long as he keeps the ball in the park it could be a very strong finish to the season…

Game 2: Colby Lewis (6-6, 6.54 ERA) vs Marcus Stroman (4-2, 4.05 ERA)

Their Colby has been brutal…I mean almost Arencibiaesque. His numbers are all over the place and there seems to be so much rigidity to how he interacts with people…he had his good days and bad days as well. with a GO/AO rating of 0.53 he is letting the spirits to just stay. Maybe some young fun poem and see what’s your birthday been like so far?

Marcus Stroman had a quick hiccup at the end of the All-Star break but he seems rested, his elbow is great and it’s time to show it off. If he pitches to his capabilities we could be looking at a contender. We just want one fight…better here than deodorant…I use right guard. Other than that I would love to get us a 50 inch to fit in the stand but we can always get a new bed.

Game 3: Nick Tepesch (3-5, 4.31 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (10-6, 2.64 ERA)

Definitely not a strikeout pitcher, Nick Tepesch has quietly emerged as a reliable back of the rotation option in the Rangers rotation. He has only given up 2 home runs all year so although a BAA against of .254 isn’t the greatest it would appear that the hits he does give up are left on base…kind of like his opponent on the mound.

Buehrle will now pitch as the third option in the starting rotation which is exactly where he is supposed to be. He had trouble gaining wins but he sure did pitch well enough to have at least 13 wins going into the All Star break. If he is to reach 20 he has to start out guns blazing as he did in the first half. In 19 starts he gave up 4 or more runs twice…and they were both 4 runs given up. Expect a bit of a natural regression to his usual career norms but watch as the rest of the rotation picks him up the way he did for them.

Probable Starting Lineups

Texas Rangers

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

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. 1B: Dan Johnson
5. C: Dioner Navarro
6. CF: Colby Rasmus
7. 3B: Juan Francisco
8. DH: Erik Kratz
9. 2B: Steven Tolleson

Worth the Price of Admission: Marcus Stroman. Even with a lousy start before the break he had an ERA as a starter under 3 (2.87). He’ll have his hiccups but he has already been given the number 2 spot in the rotation as part 2 of the 2014 season rolls on.

Worth the Price of a Beer at the Maple Leaf “Tavern”: J.P. Arencibia. Only playing because both Mitch Moreland is injured, Carlos Pens was truly sucking and Prince Fielder is out for the season. As soon as Moreland is healthy watch for the Rangers to DFA Arencibia.

Tags: Toronto Blue Jays

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