Series Preview: Houston Astros (3-3) @ Toronto Blue Jays (3-4)


Apr 5, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays batter Adam Lind (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening run of the game against the New York Yankees during the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Are we having fun yet kids? The Blue Jays pretty much did a little bit of everything. Pitching was solid at times and atrocious at others. We’ve had a few big hits from unlikely sources and lack of hitting from those that should be raking. The bullpen has been a bit shaky causing the first casualty of the season. The Blue Jays already have put themselves in the hole a wee bit but have a chance to right the ship playing one of the perceived worst teams in baseball: the Houston Astros.

Game 1: Brett Oberholtzer (0-1. 4.76 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Oberholtzer had a mediocre start to his season with a loss to the Bronx Bombers. This should nor take away form the potential of this lefty. Last season he had a 2.76 ERA and gave up less than a hit per inning. With a WHIP around 1.10 for his 15 game career he has things going in a positive direction. The Jays should be wary and not take this pitcher lightly.

Buehrle had about as stellar a first start as you can have. It wasn’t that he gave up only 5 hits and walk with 11 K it was the fact that the soft tosser got most of those strikeouts looking against a pretty decent lineup in Tampa. Buehrle changed his ways during spring training and rather than taking a day off here and there he bulldogged his way through and came out of spring with an ERA under 3. Pitchers change their ways as they become veterans and perhaps he has taken his game up another notch in a very good career.

Game 2: Lucas Harrell (0-1, 15.00 ERA) vs Brandon Morrow (0-1, 7.20 ERA)

Seemingly to prove that they still have a long way to go we have 2013 17 game loser Lucas Harrell. It isn’t for lack of potential but his numbers over the last 4 years in the majors scream bullpen to me. He may have the stuff but he has yet to put it all together. With a WHIP of 1.5 + it would seem that he is miscast and wouldn’t even make the rotation of most other teams in baseball.

Morrow, known to me a Mr. Enigma has picked up where he left off last year. He has left the team and fans wondering if he will ever live up to his potential. In his first start he most certainly didn’t. If he doesn’t turn it around fast he may be looking at getting shipped out to a team who thinks they can unlock he oodles of potential in his arm. Thing is, his arm is almost 30 and there are not many pitchers who take this long to put things together. Perhaps the Astros are the team to help him turn it around.

Game 3: Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs Dustin McGowan (0-1, 13.50 ERA)

Another in the line of starters who wouldn’t make the rotation of any other big league team we have Dallas Keuchel. He has never had an ERA under 5 in the majors and his career WHIP is 1.55. There really isn’t much else to say. He is filler as the Astros search for better arms in their rotation.

McGowan is trying to finally be a starter in the majors. After getting through 2013 with an ERA under 3 and relatively good health he is getting the chance to be a starter. He first has to learn to not tip his pitches. If he breaks down again he is content in the fact that he goes down being the pitcher he knows he can be. His first start was pedestrian because of apparently tipping his pitches but the team will give him enough time to truly live up to his potential.

Probable Starting Lineups

Houston Astros

1: SS: Jonathan Villar
2. CF: Robbie Grossman
3. 2B: Jose Altuve
4. LF: Jesus Guzman
5. 1B: Chris Carter
6. DH: Matt Dominguez
7. RF: L.J. Hoes
8. C: Carlos Corporan
9. 3B: Marwin Gonzalez

Toronto Blue Jays
1. LF: Melky Cabrera
2. CF: Colby Rasmus
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. 1B: Edwin Encarnacion
5. C: Dioner Navarro
6. DH: Moises Sierra
7. 3B: Brett Lawrie
8. 2B: Maicer Izturis
9. SS: Ryan Goins

Worth the Price of Admission: Jose Altuve. The little sparkplug has replaced Craig Biggio very well. He plays much bigger than his 5’6′ frame. He is already hitting .400 with 3 stolen bases along with his usally good glovework. There is no other player that means as much to his team as Altuve.

Worth the Price of Soiled Gitch: Chris Carter has been given every chance to seize a starting job, first in Oakland and now in Houston. He is pretty much the first baseman by default. He has power but doesn’t show it enough and he is terrible at making contact (his 212 K 2013 were the worst in the history of baseball). Almost makes you wish they had Brett Wallace back….ok maybe not that much.


It’s time for a series sweep to get things in order and considering the opponents it should be easy. The Blue Jays need to awaken the bats and turn the rotation around overall. Sergio Santos seems to be settling in and Melky Cabrera is hitting up a storm. Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below. Go JAYS!