This is getting a wee bit on the excitin’ side kids. A sweep in Boston was not what I had in mind but hey if we have to…we have to. The trade deadline is today and since this is penned the night before I have no idea how things are going to turn out. There are reports the Orioles are in on Jon Lester and that the Jays lost out on Justin Masterson.
So is Alex Anthopoulos going to pull the trigger on something? My gut says for a reliever perhaps but anything else may just happen in August. He would have to be bowled over to trade Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez or Daniel Norris as they most likely will be rotation mates for the next 6 years at least.
The Astros are still on a collision course to possible get the first pick in the draft….again. With George Springer and Dallas Keuchel doing well to go along with all-star Jose Altuve and their killer catcher Jason Castro, the Astros are a player or two away from being at least a .500 club. They are still very beatable but it gets tougher as the kids go through their growing pains.
Collin McHugh seems destined for at least a mid-rotation spot and Chris Carter gives them a slugging first baseman to drive in some of these new guys. It will be a couple more years but it stands to reason the team to watch in Texas may not be the Rangers anymore…that window has closed.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Hutchison hopefully has turned things around. He has generally been good since his insertion in the rotation before the Tommy John surgery that we sometimes take for granted he is still young and learning. He may have hit the proverbial wall but last time out he was able to quell the Yankee bats and stop the 17 game losing streak in the Bronx.
This next game should be markedly easier than it was against an always tough at home Yankee team but anyone is beatable at any time. Being a flyball pitcher it may prove that Hutch still has a way to go. Hopefully the winning is contagious. Hopefully Hutchison continues his amazing season away from the Dome (2.95 ERA away…7.71 at home)
Jarred Cosart has been a decent pitcher, at least as good as Hutchison. He isn’t going to strike out the side in most innings but he will induce a lot of grounders (1.78 go/ao) and depend on the Astros fielding to get him through.
The way the Blue Jays have been swinging the bats it will be a tough go and the power we still have with Rasmus and Francisco could help push Cosart off the mound early and into a mediocre Astros pen. Who’s pen is better? That will be how the game is decided.
Game 2: J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.58 ERA) vs Collin McHugh (4-9, 3.45 ERA)
Happ has been doing his best to keep his team in the game. He is going to give up hits and a few runs most times out. His key is getting that strikeout when needed and trying to keep the flyballs in the park. For a team that plays in the Dome it is iffy the flyball pitchers we seem to be throwing out there. That is a scary proposition for Happ in a bandbox like Minute Maid Park. Will he be able to keep Springer and Carter in check? That will be the key to victory.
McHugh has been a pretty decent surprise for the Astros. His last few outings haven’t been stellar but overall he is a strikeout machine who doesn’t give up a lot of hits (.202 BAA against). His ERA has gone up in his last four starts as he stretches himself out and gets into the dog days of the season. Perhaps with that WHIP around 1.1 he has what it takes to take down this Jays offense. Sorry kids…looks like the Astros will take at least one in the series.
R.A. Dickey took down the Red Sox with relative ease. 10 K in 7 innings oof one run ball. That is what was expected of him since he arrived in Toronto. Being a second half pitcher bodes well for a rotation that is doing great but always seems a few steps away from falling apart. The way the ball bounces and moves in heated air like Houston should give the Astros hitters fits. His ERA on grass is 2.95 so it’s safe to say this could be another stellar away game for the Blue Jays
Brett Oberholtzer? The kind of guy who keeps a rotation spot warm until someone better comes along. His ERA is 5.40 in night games and he is definitely another flyball pitcher that isn’t quite suited to the Astros home park. He gives up hits (2.98 BAA against) he gives up almost no ground outs and doesn’t really strikeout anybody. SOunds like a recipe for Blue Jays success to me.
Game 4: Marcus Stroman (7-2, 3.03 ERA) vs Scott Feldman (4-8, 4.39 ERA)
I don’t know what to say about Marcus Stroman. He seems to legitimately be the best first round pick in the AA era….heck even stretching back to J.P. Ricciardi. He’s tough. He’s determined and he listens. You rarely if ever see him shake off a sign. He trusts that his catcher knows what is needed. He will learn and learn and eventually may try to pitch the way he desires but for now he just throws and throws and leaves teams marveling at that moving heater and killer curve. His WHIP is 1.10. His starter ERA is 2.18. He is an ace in waiting who makes the future of this team look even brighter.
Scott Feldman. As mediocre as his boring name. His ERA is bland. He doesn’t strike many guys out. He doesn’t give up much needed ground outs. He had a measure of success here and there with the Rangers but his time in Houston has truly been bad. Ironically because of some track record he may be looked upon to bolster a rotation for one of the contenders. Hopefully the Blue Jays are not one of them. This game looks fairly easy to pick.
Probable Starting Lineups
Toronto Blue Jays
Worth the Price of Admission: Jose Altuve leads the AL with 151 hits and in batting average at .343. At his pace he will break Craig Biggio‘s team record for hits (210 in 1998). They would be the only two Astros to have recorded 200 hits in a season.
Worth the Price of a rail on the Minute Maid Express Tracks: Kyle Farnsworth. A 6.17 ERA? I am trying to remember when was the last time Farnsworth was ever any good?