Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (57-71, 5th AL East) vs Houston Astros (41-85, 5th AL West)


Aug 22, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) reacts after throwing out New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (not pictured) to end the fourth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to AAAA Baseball everyone. This “showdown” between the young and full of life Astros against the pseudo contender Blue Jays should be chock full of errors and free swingers and generally pretty inept baseball. The silver lining to all of this is we now get to see what Buffalo fans have been watching all year. We have no stud starters waiting in the wings. We have no stud players waiting in the wings. We have very good options AA and down but higher up it’s all retreads and guys “giving it their best shot”. This team is not prepared fundamentally as well as psychologically. If you think this is an easy series for the Jays….think again.

The Astros currently have 14 rookies playing out the string. Whether this leads to a tight knit group or a bunch of kids learning how to lose together and build solid team first relationships remains to be seen. They were expected to suck going into the season and at least they haven’t disappointed. This is a team building from scratch so get used to the basement for a while Astros fans. It will get better…you can’t be this bad. Sound familiar Jays fans?

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Todd Redmond (1-1, 3.32 ERA) vs Jordan Lyles (5-6, 5.19 ERA)
Game 2: Sean Nolin or Marcus Stroman (no record) vs Brad Peacock (2-4, 5.59 ERA)
Game 3: Mark Buehrle (9-7, 4.23 ERA vs Dallas Keuchel (5-7, 5.11 ERA)

Game 1 has the surprising Todd Redmond against one of Houston’s better pitching prospects in Jordan Lyles. Redmond has been quite effective in his 8 starts so far. Whether he is in line for a spot in next year’s rotation is debatable. He could be showcasing himself for the rest on MLB to latch on as a back end starter. With the pitching that maaaaaaaaay be on its way up for next year and the recovering of Drew Hutchison or Kyle Drabek Redomd is definitely down the list but could be helpful as a depth starter for 2014.

The stream of depth starters continues for The Jays in Game 2. Expect Stroman to make this start for the Blue Jays to see how his stuff holds up against MLB pitching…well Astros pitching in the form of Brad Peacock. Yup TBD versus Peacock. Kill me now…

Game 3 will allow us to feel like a real MLB team again. After his horrendous start to the year Mark Buehrle has become the most reliable starter we have. Even though batters are hitting .271 off of him (which was to be expected) he has more or less kept the ball in the park and limited the damage. Dallas Keuchel opposes him. Yeah I don’t know this guy from Dallas Green but I guess he must be one of the top five available pitchers for the rotation that Houston has. Ugh.

Probable Starters

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. RF: Rajai Davis
3. 1B: Edwin Encarnacion
4. DH: Adam Lind
5. 3B: Brett Lawrie
6. C: J.P. Arencibia
7. CF: Anthony Gose
8. LF: Kevin Pillar
9. 2B: Ryan Goins

Houston Astros

1. CF: Robbie Grossman
2. RF: L.J. Hoes
3. 2B: Jose Altuve
4. C: Jason Castro
5. LF: Chris Carter
6. 3B: Matt Dominguez
7. DH: Max Stassi
8. 1B: Brett Wallace
9. SS: Marwin Gonzalez

Earning His Keep

Brett Lawrie seems to have turned a corner. In the month of August he has a .388 BA and an OPS of .942. Let’s hope this isn’t a blip in the radar. His defense is ridiculous as he proved a few times during the ill-fated Yankees series and he seem to be a little more relaxed at the plate. If he has turned a corner it is one less position to have to worry about for 2014.

NOT Earning His Keep

We all know who is holding a spot here. If you are going to strike out in one-third of your at bats at least get a few hits other than the occasional home run. Here’s to you J.P. Arencibia. You are the poster child for all that is wrong with this team. Here’s hoping we get a few OBP guys in here to offset the all or nothing approach of our power hitters.

Final Word

Well I guess I don’t have to make that trek to Buffalo I have been wanting to do. I will enjoy the stadium next year. This year I can watch half the team play out the string and trying to make an impression for next year. So here’s to Goins and Gose and Pillar and Kawasaki and Sierra and and and…Maybe it takes these kids to help erase the losing culture. Beating up on the Astros would be a great start.