So the Blue Jays have done something they hadn’t done since 2012…win a series in New York. It took the entire team but maybe…just maybe…it is time to believe. If we can take 2 of 3 from the Red Sox in Beantown then I think it is safe to call the kids a contender.
There is definitely a different feel around this team than other contending Jays teams. There seems to be more balance. There seems to be more belief. If Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t pull off at least some move before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline to get some reinforcements it would be very very curious. This team needs another bat and another starter.
It would also seem the Red Sox are drawing the white flag…although trading Jake Peavy wasn’t much of anything other than trading depth. If you see Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz or Will Middlebrooks are jettisoned along with the released A.J. Pierzynski then you know it is a reload…Boston would never actually rebuild…not with that farm system anyway.
They are coming off a salvage win against the Tampa Bay Rays. Big Papi is hot and Brock Holt is still killing it so there is a chance they will turn it around. But after floundering against a weaker Rays team perhaps they truly have given up. That gives us as good a chance as any to take the series or…sweep?
Probable Starting Pitchers
Game 1: R.A. Dickey (8-10, 4.04 ERA) vs Clay Buchholz (5-6, 5.50 ERA)
Dickey wasn’t at his best against the Red Sox last time out but he was good enough to beat Buchholz at the Rogers Centre. The even better news is that Dickey’s game plays better on grass and thus away from the Centre de Rogers. On grass his ERA 3.18 compared to 4.55 on turf. Away it’s 3.77 and home it’s 4.26. With a decent ground out rate there is the chance for a great pitched ball game but with Fenway being the band box it is there are definitely no sure things.
Buchholz just continues to falter. His ERA hasn’t been below 5.42 all season. HIs strikeouts are down and he is walking a batter a game. With a BAA against at almost .300 and a WHIP of a buck and a half he is just putting too many men on base. He is going to give up his hits and with the way the Blue Jays have shown they can swing the bat this game seems to have an inevitable conclusion.
So far in his career Stroman has only given up one hit to the Red Sox. One. How can he better this? Goooood question. How about 3 of his last 4 starts he has tossed up a donut in 7 innings. The one hiccup was the five spot he handed the Angels on July 9. His fastball is as good as advertised but his curveball and cutter are almost ridiculous with their movement. He has the tools to keep this going and continue to be the best starter the Blue Jays have at this point in the season.
De La Rosa has been much better in his home park. SO very very much better (6.04 ERA away compared to 1.38 at home). Obviously this will even out a bit as the season goes on but with the Blue Jays having a lefty heavy lineup it may play more into the Blue Jays hands since lefties are hitting at a .271 clip as opposed to the .229 against righties. Again the optimist reigns and I see Stroman completely dismantling the lineup and for De Rosa to have his inevitable bad game at home.
Game 3: Mark Buehrle (10-7, 3.19 ERA) vs Jon Lester (10-7, 2.52 ERA)
Mark Buehrle has come down to earth. In his last ten starts he has raised his ERA by a full run. He is still doing pretty well (his 6 spot against the Yankees aside). He has always been a second half pitcher…hopefully he hasn’t reversed that trend this year. With a rather high WHIP and BAA against it’s up to Buehrle to buck the trend. He is welll overdue for win number 11 but I am not sure if this will be the game to do it. Why?
Jon Lester has been a beast. in his last 10 starts his K:BB ratio is a ridiculous 5:1. His ERA is 1.54 and he has given up 55 hits in 70 innings. His home ERA is 1.91. What else is there to say. Lester may have pitched himself onto a contender or at the very least into Cy Young consideration. He is having a career year and the roll will most likely continue against the Blue Jays.
Probable Starting Lineups
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
Worth the Price of Admission: David Ortiz. May end up surpassing the great Edgar Martinez as the best DH of all-time. He already is the best power hitting DH in my book. Hall of Famer? great debate fodder…
Worth the Price of Headache Meds Taken After “Sweet Caroline”: Mike Carp. I would think the reason you aren’t getting played Mr. Carp is a .210 BA. You want a trade? How about just enjoying playing at Fenway…no contender would touch you right now unless you wanted to be a perma-pinch hitter.