Jul 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman delivers a pitch during the Jays 8-0 win over Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Blue Jays Hope to Carry Momentum into the Bronx Zoo

Strooooo-oo-oman. Stroooo-oo-oman. Man can toss a ball can’t he? Holding down a recently decent hitting team like the Red Sox is no small feet. In front of a sold out Rogers Centre no less. What a great way to end a homestand and tete a tete against a division rival. It seems the achilles heel for the Blue Jays has always been their inability to beat up on their own division. This year they seem to be doing better at it but the true test will be Yankee Stadium where the Blue Jays haven’t won in 16 games. If we can at least take this series it may shock AA into making a deal for another slugger and maybe some more starting pitching depth.

…the true test will be Yankee Stadium where the Blue Jays haven’t won in 16 games.

The Yankees seem to be the biggest obstacle in our attempt to overtake the Orioles. With the addition of Chase Headley some think they are making the move they need to get a leg up. Giving up Yangervis Solarte in the deal kind of negates it for me. Solarte was doing pretty well and Headley was having a lost season. We’ll see how he does under the glaring lights of the Big Apple. Is it enough to push the Yankees ahead? Not yet. Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley don’t seem like guys who will put you over the top…

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Mark Buehrle (10-6, 2.86 ERA) vs Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.88 ERA)

Buehrle was due for a not so good game. His ERA still sits under 3 though and he is more likely to get better as the grind goes on. His WHIP still remains high for a guy with his ERA so in order to keep things in order he is going to have to keep on not giving up the big hit. Lucky for the Blue Jays he is a full run better on the road than he is at home. Yankee Stadium is great for groundball pitchers and with the defense looking better recently this could be the end of the losing streak in New York.

On the other hand, Kuroda has been the de facto ace with CC Sabathia still on the mend. The ageless wonder will have all his skill at hand. He defies logic by being almost equally dangerous against lefties or righties. hpme or away (3.88 ERA for both) and his BAA against is separated by only .004. This could be one great pitchers duel and with the way the Blue Jays have been swinging it that would defy recent logic.

Game 2: Drew Hutchison (6-9, 4.54 ERA) vs Shane Greene (2-1, 2.79 ERA)

Poor Hutch. That last start is brutal. With him and Happ so inconsistent it would be easy to replace them with a trade are to buck things up. With back to back 6 run starts it’s time to see if Hutchison is truly built for the long haul this season. Maybe it’s time to give him more rest…have Hendriks or Redmond make a spot start to give his arm the rest it may need.

Greene has been decent so far but his minor league numbers suggest he is ripe for an offensive beating. He had a 4.61 ERA with 15 starts in AAA and a WHIP and opponent BAA that are below average at best. It is amazing that the Yankees are still pitching like world beaters and guys like Shane Greene are giving them the chance. The offense is healthier so their recent dominance may just continue

Game 3: J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.55 ERA) vs Chase Whitley (4-3, 4.60 ERA)

The enigma that is J.A. Happ continues to defy logic. He seems to start to tank then pulls off a great start. If he can finally keep it up over a few games and there is a trade made then perhaps you look at a Drew Hutchison going to the pen. It would be great to fortify a bit more to cover the enigma that is J.A. Happ so if you can deal with the roller coaster he is I guess you don’t mind the occasional blow up.

Chase Whitley continues to sail in the regatta….oh wait…pitch in the rotation with the Yankees. The guy with the sleazy frat boy name is treading water at this point. He isn’t pitching deep into games and opponents are hitting over .300 against him this season. He is one and a half runs better ERA-wise at home compared to on the road. He isn’t going to overpower but has the ability to get a lot of ground balls. If the Yankees are to have any chance at this point they need Whitley to step up. Let’s see what he’s got.

Probable Starting Lineups

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. C: Dioner Navarro
5. DH: Dan Johnson
6. 3B: Munenori Kawasaki
7. 1B: Juan Francisco
8. 2B: Ryan Goins
9. CF: Anthony Gose

New York Yankees

1. LF: Brett Gardner
2. SS: Derek Jeter
3. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
4. 1B: Mark Teixeira
5. DH: Brian McCann
6. 3B: Chase Headley
7. C: Francisco Cervelli
8. RF: Zelous Wheeler
9. 2B: Brendan Ryan

Worth the Price of Admission: Derek Jeter. Yeah he is a little pedestrian as a player right now but not often you get to watch a guy who may finish his career in the top five in hits.

Worth the Cost of a Used Schticky!: Kelly Johnson. On the DL and on the way out…

Tags: Marcus Stroman Toronto Blue Jays

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