Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (64-76, 5th AL East) vs Minnesota Twins (61-77, 4th AL Central)


Sept. 4, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes (7) is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
It is refreshing to see that the kids we have been stashing in the minors can come up here and hold their own. I now can see why the Bisons in Buffalo were so popular this year. With all the fans have suffered through these kids are bringing something more to the table. There is no defeatist attitude and the hunger they show can only bode well for next season. Alex Anthopoulos has stated recently that there are no untouchables on this team. We may very well be seeing a completely different team next season…and it may have some of these kids on it permanently. Who do you think should be used as trade bait? Say so in the comments section.

The Twins are definitely in a rebuild mode as evident by the trading of Canadian Justin Morneau. The team that has built themselves smartly through the draft and key free agent signings are going through a downturn in fortune. They haven’t had the best luck in the draft recently, especially in the rotation and the kinks in the armour are showing. Difference between them and the Jays is the Twins always seem to come back strong in a short amount of time…kind of like the Oakland A’s. They should be primed for the taking this series but with the spacious Target Field the home run power will be negated somewhat and we will have to rely on the speed that we bring to the table….which we never seem to use properly.

Probably Starters

Game 1: R.A. Dickey (11-12, 4.30 ERA) vs Mike Pelfrey (5-10, 4.86 ERA)
Game 2: J.A. Happ (3-5, 5.54 ERA) vs Kevin Correia (9-10, 4.18 ERA)
Game 3: Esmil Rogers (4-7, 4.76 ERA) vs Andrew Albers (2-2, 3.96 ERA)

Dickey has finally shown the skills that made us give up some pretty heady prospects (I am more pissed about Syndergaard than D’Arnaud). If he is to make this anything remotely close to equal he has to carry this momentum into next season. Pelfrey is a former Mets prized prospect who has turned into a decent middle rotation guy. He has posted an ERA under 4 the last couple months so he is as good as the Twins can throw at us right now. Take the Jays.

Happ has crumbled since his decent return from the DL. I don’t trust him to carry things over. His season must have been so difficult for him with the head shot and the knee injury and now struggling to make his name for the rotation next year. He has no guarantees. Correia is Pelfrey. A former prized prospect who has become a mid rotation type. Actually the Twins are like us…no 1 or 2 but lots of 3s. If this is going to be a slugfest I like our chances.

Rogers needs a strong finish to secure himself a spot in the rotation for next year. When he is on he is dominant and with the improved team defense he has a chance to have that strong finish. Albers is a proud Canadian who started strong but has had his setbacks recently….kind of like Rogers. Because I am such an optimist I see a possible series sweep. Think the Jays can hit .500 by the end of the season? Maybe…

Probable Starting Lineups

Toronto Blue Jays

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

Minnesota Twins

1. CF: Alex Presley
2. LF: Darin Mastroianni
3. 2B: Brian Dozier
4. DH: Ryan Doumit
5. 3B: Trevor Plouffe
6. RF: Oswaldo Arcia
7. 1B: Chris Colabello
8. C: Chris Herrmann
9. SS: Pedro Florimon

Worth the Price of Admission: Brett Lawrie. He may not get the prize due to a so so start to the season and then a DL trip. What he has done is display a glove that is, to this eye, is among the best of the best. Machado, Longoria and Lawrie will be battling every year going forward for the Gold Glove. I can’t decide who is better but I am glad I get to see Lawrie turning into perhaps the best defensive third baseman in team history.

Worth the Price of a Newspaper: Arencibia. You all know why.

Final Word

I am keeping optimism alive. I wanted this to be the year but in my gut I was screaming 2014. The Jays are locked in with this core group for a couple more years. With the progress of our young pitchers and the fortitude shown by some deft pick ups (Todd Redmond) we may have the sustainability to weather the storm of 2013 to make a go of it in 2014. Just keep the optimism going.