Game Blast: Toronto Blue Jays (22-30) at Atlanta Braves (31-20) – Going Down To Georgia Edition


May 28, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) is tagged out in a rundown in the first inning by Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Esmil Rogers (1-2, 4.56 ERA) vs. Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.16 ERA)

So I guess that it wasn’t just a bad dream after all. Esmil Rogers is really starting tonight for the Toronto Blue Jays. Kyle Franzoni did a piece on Esmil just two days ago and Rogers’ career numbers as a starter pretty much explain why he now (usually) finds himself as a middle reliever:

"In 22 starts, all with the Colorado Rockies, Rogers has posted a 6-8 record, with a 6.24 ERA, a 1.772 WHIP, and a 6.7 K/9 ratio over 114 innings pitched. Conversely, he holds a 6-6 record with a 5.48 ERA, a 1.547 WHIP, and a 8.7 K/9 ratio as a reliever. (Blue Jays Pitching Depth Down To Rogers)"

Not surprising this two-pitch (fastball/hard slider) pony doesn’t translate well as a starter. As you might expect his K/9 rate is far more average as a starter and it’s even worse overall this year down to 4.9 K/9. You can hit him (10.5 H/9 in 2013). To make matters worse, his fly ball rate is up (39.5% from 29.8% last year) while his ground ball rate is down (34.9% from 47.4%). At least he has been able to keep the walks under control (2.8 BB/9). And he does have some MLB starting experience, which is becoming quite a luxury in Blue Jay land lately (read more on the flurry of Jays rosters moves today here and here).

The Blue Jays may be anticipating the worse as the 8-man bullpen is back after a very brief hiatus.

Medlen on the other hand has pitched far better than his record indicates. He’s only getting 2.59 runs of support this season and in his last four home starts the Braves have given him an anemic three runs while he’s countered with a 2.08 ERA (ESPN). Talk about a one-way relationship!

He was relatively untouchable in 2012 and finished 20th in NL MVP voting (if you don’t believe me, look it up!) This year he hasn’t been quite as dominant as a full-time starter (he came out of the bullpen 38 of his 50 appearances last season) and his KK/BB ratio is way down from 5.22 to 2.04. He doesn’t have overpowering-type stuff but according to Mark Bowman at the Braves see shades of Greg Maddux in him. It should be interesting how he fares against the American League Jays this evening.

Game News and Notes:

Brett Lawrie moved to 15-day DL… Jose Bautista is on a 17 for 33 tear including 3 home runs… Edwin Encarnacion is also doing damage with a .345 BA and 19 RBIs his last 14 games… The Jays got the day off from Justin Upton and Jason Heyward yesterday but they are both back in the lineup tonight… B.J. Upton has a majors-worst .148 batting average and is apparently working to fix his swing, we have yet to see him this series… This will be the first time John Gibbons will have to manage National League style in 2013… Maicer Izturis is in at 3B for Lawrie

Toronto Blue Jays Starting Lineup:

Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup:

Tweet Blast:

– Summary of today’s roster move madness

– Thoughts on the 8-man bullpen

– Mike Wilner thinks Andy LaRoche could be up for tomorrow

Neil Wagner can throw heat

All stats are courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference.