Game Thread Number 10: Toronto Blue Jays (5-4) vs. Houston Astros (3-6)


Apr 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro (30) hits an RBI double in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Astros 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly seems a bit strange, but the Toronto Blue Jays are in first place in the American League East. Sure, it comes with the caveat that we’ve only played nine games, but we’ll take it and ride this train as long as it last.

With a win tonight, the Blue Jays will have their first winning series of the season and their first 3-game win streak of the season, something that didn’t occur until May 5-7 of last season. A sweep of the Astros is nothing to really write home about, but winning ballgames is what this team needs to get some confidence at the start of the season and they’ll take them from whichever opponent is on the field at any given time, regardless of record or reputation.

Toronto Blue Jays Line-up:
Melky Cabrera – LF
Maicer Izturis – 2B
Jose Bautista – RF
Edwin Encarnacion – 1B
Dioner Navarro – DH
Brett Lawrie – 3B
Colby Rasmus – RF
Josh Thole – C
Jonathan Diaz – SS

R.A. Dickey – P

Houston Astros Line-up:

Dexter Fowler – CF
Alex Presley – RF
Jason Castro – C
Jose Altuve – 2B
Chris Carter – DH
Marc Krauss – 1B
Matt Dominguez – 3B
Robbie Grossman – LF
Jonathan Villar – SS

Dallas Keuchel – P

With the lefty on the mound, the Blue Jays will go with their right-handed heavy line-up. That means Adam Lind gets to ride the pine and Dioner Navarro is slotted in as the DH. Ryan Goins also is getting the night off, as Maicer Izturis is drawing the start again at second base.

Toronto is hoping that then appearance of R.A. Dickey, moved up a day in the rotation, will be an interesting mix for the Astros to see after getting the likes of Brandon Morrow and his 9 strike-outs on Wednesday night. Dickey is coming off of a solid start against the Yankees where he went 6.2 innings and allowed just 5 hits, 0 runs, and struck out 6 batters.

Despite the hot starts from Melky Cabrera and Dioner Navarro, and the home runs the Jose Bautista is finding everywhere, the rest of the Blue Jays line-up is still struggling to get on track. The team ranks 26th in team batting, 24th in on-base percentage, and 20th in runs scored. Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus have started putting together some more solid at-bats and Adam Lind could break out at any moment. Until then, they’ll rely on their pitching staff and timely hitting to get the job done.

Can you say sweep??!!