Aug 7, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ (48) throws a pitch during the first inning in a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Blue Jays and Tigers Play for Position

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They were close. The Blue Jays’ series against Baltimore was very even after it was done. They blow us out. We blow them out and the rubber match ends up a spectacular pitching duel between…J.A. Happ and Miguel Gonzalez? Even right down to the surprise helpfulness to their respective rotations the teams have similar situations. What has set the Orioles apart more? They have a lock down bullpen. If the Orioles lose the couple games in hand and the Yankees continue to patch together a rotation then it could be very interesting come September.

Dodgers…Tigers…it’s a toss up as to who has the deepest and best rotation in baseball right now.

The Tigers seemingly have just locked up the Central and possibly the AL (though Oakland will have a say in that) through the deft move of replacing Drew Smyly with David Price. The rotation could be considered perhaps the deepest in baseball with 3 Cy Young winners toeing the rubber every fifth day. Dodgers…Tigers…it’s a toss up as to who has the deepest and best rotation in baseball right now. All I know is that even though the Yankees took three of four this is just a team coasting along until the new pieces gel with the solid core they have. Let’s hope the tear doesn’t begin in Toronto.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Anibal Sanchez (8-5, 3.37 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (9-11, 4.03 ERA)

Sanchez has the stuff to be another Cy Young Candidate but he seems to lack that final level of polish that is needed. He does get the job done and some scouts think he has the best pure stuff on the team but for some reason can’t keep the runs off the board. His WHIP is almost 1 his BAA against is 2.19 and his go/ao is 1.06. Those are some truly great numbers…so why so many runs given up? This could be the one chink in the armour the Blue Jays need to get off to a winning start.

That is unless R.A. Dickey keeps pitching like he has the last 5 starts. Dickey has some great games this season but due to 4 home runs in his past 27 innings pitched he is looking a lot like the sub par version of Dickey we had to live with in 2013. As he struggles and Mark Buerhle comes back to earth we seem to again be a starter away from the playoffs. Not looking good…

Game 2: Max Scherzer (13-4, 3.24 ERA) vs Marcus Stroman (7-3, 3.49 ERA)

Max Scherzer occasionally has his moments where he isn’t that Cy Young Winner just like every other pitcher out there. In his past 10 starts he has given up three or less runs 9 times. The 10th time? he gave up 10 earned to Kansas City back in June. Since then though he is lights out and pitching the way a Cy Young winner does. His WHIP is almost 1 and his BAA against is .219. He is a beat who can go deep into games and only needs a couple runs to make it a win for the Tigers. Tough matchup.

If Marcus Stroman truly loves to be in the big games then here you go kid. He has been stellar as a starter…up until the debacle that was a 5 run outburst he gave up to the Astros in Minute Maid Park. Now is the truest of the tests. How will the kid bounce back after that sub par outing? I think he will be fine but he sure has a heck of a test in front of him.

Game 3: David Price (0-0, 3.12 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.27 ERA)

David Price is a beast. 2.03 ERA in his last ten starts and now he gets to pitch with one of the best offenses in the game behind him. He gives up a few home runs (22 in 24 starts) so there is a hittable side to him. Well not really. The last time he gave up more than three runs was May 24. He may give up home runs but usually there is no one on base to score along with the big fly. Give up a homer a game and keep your ERA 3 and under? Sign of a guy who misses the occasional spot but generally has complete control of his arsenal.

Mark Buehrle seems to be of a different ilk altogether these days. His ERA over the last ten games is 5.15. Opponents are hitting .284 against him. It’s disheartening but really his season is evening out. Usually he is a great second half pitcher and that is still what is expected of him…but what if he reverses those trends this season? He still gives up hits throws like a senior. He also seems to have lost some command of his fastball. Can he turn it around and be the second half player he has been? I don’t see that happening…

Probable Starting Lineups

Detroit Tigers

1. LF: Rajai Davis
2. CF: Ezequiel Carrera
3. 1B: Miguel Cabrera
4. DH: Victor Martinez
5. 2B: Ian Kinsler
6. RF: J.D. Martinez
7. 3B: Nick Castellanos
8. C: Alex Avila
9. SS: Andrew Romine

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. DH: Nolan Reimold
5. 1B: Juan Francisco
6. CF: Colby Rasmus
7. C: Josh Thole
8. 3B: Munenori Kawasaki
9. 2B: Ryan Goins

Worth the Price of Admission: Jose Reyes. The Blue Jays shortstop has been scorching the ball since July 1st, slashing .326/.366/.415 with 19 runs scored and 5 stolen bases. He’s making a push toward his career norms, but does he have enough in the tank to get him there?

Worth the Price of Rob Ford’s Credibility: Ryan Goins: Is his great defense enough to counteract his fairly useless bat?

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Tags: David Price Marcus Stroman Toronto Blue Jays

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