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Aug 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) against the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning at Rogers Centre. Blue Jays won 5-4 in tenth innings. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Blue Jays Hope to Suck Less Against the Sucky Red Sox

…yeah I’m pissed. All season I have been trying the optimistic route when giving you the Blue Jays previews this season. Find that one guy who has been there for the team all season. Someone who doesn’t put himself in front of the team. Who helps find ways to win when it seems there is no way. Pitching-wise we have no Roy Halladay…heck we don’t even have Kelvim Escobar! Hitting-wise there are a couple decent bats to keep around (Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and, when he is on, Edwin Encarnacion).

It’s pathetic that the Blue Jays can’t win against teams they should win against and Blue Jay pitchers lately seem to be giving up the first run of the game more often than not. Perhaps, if the whole house goes up in flames before the season ends, Alex Anthopoulos might have to pull a Pat Gillick and trade the core of this team in a mega-trade just like the TOny Fernandez – Fred McGriff/Joe Carter-Robbie Alomar deal. There is something wrong here and it must go deep inside the locker room. Be nice to find out and maybe get this team some therapy…

if the whole house goes up in flames before the season ends, Alex Anthopoulos might have to pull a Pat Gillick and trade the core of this team…

Thankfully the Red Sox are even worse overall than the Blue Jays. 14th in the AL on team batting. 9th in pitching. It has been a disastrous year for the World Series champs. Many of the young players being brought in are slumping horribly and in some cases have been demoted to work on things. With the trade of Jon Lester there is no ace. After David Ortiz and maaaaybe Dustin Pedroia, who on this team seems to be players of championship calibre? Not as man as the heads would like.

So this is it. Home series for the Blue Jays against crappy pitching and hitting. There is no sure thing anymore. Perhaps it’s time to think of the future. It’s time to plot a new course of action. The foundation is there for Boston but are the Red Sox a step away from being back where they belong? Not a chance…sound familiar Jays fans?

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Clay Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) vs J.A. Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA)

First of many problems plaguing the Red Sox Rotation would be the conundrum that is Buchholz. A pitcher with a proven track record that just can’t seem to put it together this season. I am far from writing of Clay but he needs to finish with a flourish to give his mind a wee bit of rest going into the off season.

He is much better on the road this season….though that isn’t saying much. With a WHIP of 1.55 and a BAA Against of .94, he is getting torched all over the field. Perhaps he has thrown in the towel for this year and is just taking his turn every fifth day hoping this season will just end. He is ripe for the picking but are the Blue Jays bats ready to take him out? There is very much doubt about that scenario.

With J.A. Happ it is business as usual. Have a few stellar outings then lay an egg. Luckily that egg was laid last start against the Rays. He has been very good since the All-Star break and has a chance to solidify a spot in next season’s rotation…most likely with another team. Package him up with a low level prospect and perhaps the Blue Jays can get a decent reliever or even a possible second baseman for him.

Happ seems to be the guy who has all that potential, flashes it like a pimp on payday, then disappears and leaves you wondering if you just got taken. Maybe some good ol’ home cookin’ will do him good. He should be able to take down this watered down Red Sox offense so here’s hopin’…

Game 2: Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.69 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (10-12, 4.08 ERA)

With the trade of Jon Lester Red Sox nation must be clamouring to find someone to step up and show their mettle in the rotation. It would seem Rubby De La Rosa is that guy. He has had his share of lousy games but they are fewer than the games where he has shown he belongs in the bigs.

He does have his issues with playing games on turf (13.50 ERA) but with the rest of his resume looking pretty good this may be another in a long line of games where he shows that wicked fastball and keeps the hitters off balance…something the Blue Jays hitters seem to be at this moment. The vaunted Jays offense has the worst OPS of any MLB team that isn’t the Mets in the month of August. If that doesn’t turn around soon…well let’s just say Rubby may be getting a nice big W in this game…

R.A. Dickey…former Cy Young winner and now? An average MLB pitcher who is not doing much to lead this pitching staff that needs a leader. Sure he is a great clubhouse guy but his numbers on the mound scream out that his career is nearing its conclusion. Was he worth D’Arnaud and Syndergaard? Only time will tell but it doesn’t look good. He wins his fair share and I guess he keeps the team in games but what we need is a stopper. A starter that can stop a losing streak before it gets out of hand.

Dickey wwill be remembered for some fine years with the Mets…and that’s about it. He has officially become Tim Wakefield, the last guy to soldier on with a crazy knuckle ball. All I know is I have no faith…especially now. He is a fine person and works hard and that is great but without results…who cares?

Game 3: Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.09 ERA) vs Marcus Stroman (7-5, 4.11 ERA)

Joe Kelly. His record is about as pedestrian as his name. I am sure there is a lot to be seen with him but when the Cardinals trade away a pitcher you can bet that there is trouble afoot. He has been passable and a decent rotation filler but in no way has he done anything spectacular to secure himself a spot in the Red Sox rotation going forward.

He has good numbers with the Cardinals but bring a pitcher over from the NL and throw him into the AL East and that’s just asking for another run to be tacked onto his career ERA. He hasn’t been horrid but like Dickey, he definitely is going to miss facing the National League. He barely goes five innings and that just isn’t good enough to warrant much more than a chance to be the fifth starter on a major league roster. Sooo vanilla…

Now we have Marcus Stroman. Loads of potential. He came up with a bang and served noticed that his diminutive stature doesn’t belie the fact he has a killer arm. It must be tough to pick up pitches on that type of arm angle…at least that’s what it appeared to be. For the first time in his young career he is having issues with his command and is consequently getting lit up.

He will be in the rotation next year for sure. Question is where is he going to pitch? 2nd? 4th? The jury is still out on that one. In three of his last four starts he has given up 5+ runs. The true makeup of a great pitcher is learning along the way and knowing what you need to do to ensure that you are one step ahead of the batters. Here is hoping he finishes strong and proves he knows how to adjust to the adjustments hitters are beginning to make.

Probable Starting Lineups

Boston Red Sox

1. RF: Brock Holt
2. 2B: Dustin Pedroia
3. DH: David Ortiz
4. LF: Yoenis Cespedes
5. 1B: Mike Napoli
6. 3B: Will Middlebrooks
7. SS: Xander Bogaerts
8. CF: Mookie Betts
9. C: Christian Vazquez

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. 1B: Adam Lind
5. DH: Edwin Encarnacion
6. C: Dioner Navarro
7. CF: Colby Rasmus
8. 3B: Danny Valencia
9. 2B: Munenori Kawasaki

Worth the Price of Admission: Aaron Sanchez. Just enjoy the ride. He will be good for a long time.

Worth the Price of the Blue Jays Playoff Chances: Casey Janssen. What happened CJ? Is this the end of the line as closer? If he keeps coughing up leads it just may be…

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