Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (8-8) @ Cleveland Indians (7-8)


Apr 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Jose Bautista hits a RBI single in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I’m going to lose my brain. If the weather is frikken cold out, why would you not challenge a hitter with a heated fastball rather than a frikken slider that you can’t seem to control? 8 WALKS in one inning? 3 wild pitches to score 3 runs? Boys and Girls I am thoroughly disgusted. I was going to write a nice diatribe about how we were able to get through the historic Minnesota cold and go into Cleveland with a decent 4-2 mark so far on the road trip. After the debacle that was the eighth inning where the Twins get 1 hit and score 6 runs I am spitting nails. So we go in to Cleveland 3-3…not horrible but not ideal. These kinds of losses, especially the last game of a series, can linger. Let’s hope they can forget it and play the way this team is capable of. We done do suck in double headers it seems…

For the Indians, Lonnie Chisenhall has been scorching lately at the hot corner (hitting .522!!) while ex-Jays catcher Yan Gomes continues to build off his breakout 2013 campaign to lead the Indians in BA (.293) and OBP (.362). If Chisenhall plays a few mroe games he will qualify for the leaderboards in the AL. As is usually the case with the Indians they can hit but the pitching keeps holding them back as evidenced by their current 4th place showing in the AL Central. terry Francona alone will be worth a dozen wins for them so if they can get their pitching in order they could make a serious run at the wild card. With the way the Blue Jays are coming into Cleveland they could be kicking them while they are down. Don’t take them too lightly.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Drew Hutchison (1-1, 3.68 ERA) vs Justin Masterson (0-0, 5.87 ERA)

It’s nice to see a guy like Hutchison pick up where he left off before he was injured. He never complains he just goes out there and tries his best. He wasn’t so hot against the Yankees but he didn’t let that carry over and tossed 6 great innings against a pretty good hitting Orioles team. He could do for a bit of a drop in his walks but that will come with more time on the hill. He sure seems to be turning into Mr. Reliable.

Masterson had a great start to his season with 7 shutout innings against Oakland. His next two starts he didn’t even get through five innings having given up 5 runs in each of the next two games with 11 Ks and 8 BBs combined. Masterson always seems to be a guy who almost realizes his potential. He has succeeded at the major league level but is very inconsistent from one year to the next. In 2010 the Jays hit .333 against Masterson but in every other season since 2006 the Jays have never hit better than .238 against him with the majority of those seasons falling below the Mendoza line. Which Masterson will we see? The one that will lose to Hutchison.

Game 2: Mark Buehrle (3-0, 0.86 ERA) vs Corey Kluber (1-1, 5.40 ERA)

I wish Buehrle was always a Blue Jay. It is amazing to watch a true catch and throw guy. Someone who keeps his defense on their toes. It’s simple. 8:1 K:BB, a WHIP around 1 and the ability to locate pitches. Buehrle pitches the way you wish Santo did in that horrid 8th inning. Power is great but if you can’t locate it then it means nothing. Buehrle may be a soft tossing type but when you out think the hitter and place the ball wherever you want you will be successful. He may not be a hall of famer but he definitely is the ultimate gamer.

Kluber had a disastrous start to his season against Oakland but has rebounded nicely in his last two starts. No walks and 14 strikeouts combined and over 6+ innings pitched. He seems to have always had great control but is prone to giving up a ton of hits. This is definitely the look of a strike thrower with flat pitches. If he can get his secondary pitches to bite more he will have better success. By track record alone I give this one to the Jays.

Game 3: Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.52 ERA) vs Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 7.84 ERA)

Here we go with the battle of potential. Brandon Morrow didn’t fare too well against the Twins. He just didn’t have command of his fastball…do you sense a recurring theme? If we have this many guys having issues with control, when do we start looking towards Pete Walker? Sure our pitching numbers are better but that is a direct correlation to the improved defense. I am tired of talking of Morrow’s ability. There is nothing more I can say that’ hasn’t already been said. He can beat the Indians but will he? I have no idea.

Carrasco is another of those players with the tools and the talent but not the results. He can overpower with his fastball but his control is erratic at best. His K:BB overall has been around 2:1 which will not fly in the slugging American League. He may be better served in the lighter hitting National League but for now he is clinging to a rotation spot with the Indians…which shows you just how weak the Indians rotation may be.

Probable Starting Lineups

Toronto Blue Jays

1. LF: Melky Cabrera
2. CF: Colby Rasmus
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. DH: Adam Lind
5. 1B: Edwin Encarnacion
6. C: Dioner Navarro
7. SS: Jonathan Diaz
8. 3B: Brett Lawrie
9. 2B: Ryan Goins

Cleveland Indians

1. CF: Michael Bourn
2. 2B: Nick Swisher
3. 2B: Jason Kipnis
4. C: Carlos Santana
5. LF: Michael Brantley
6. SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
7. RF: Dave Murphy
8. C: Yan Gomes
9. 3B: Lonnie Chisenhall

Worth the Price of Admission: Jose Bautista. He is cranked up and really finding the zone. In 14 games he has as many home runs (11) as Joe Mauer does ever since Target Field opened. Bautista proves again that he is the force he has made himself into but the real question as the season drags on is whether his all out play will keep him on the field in the second half. Thank goodness he is bringing it because his cohort in crime, Edwin Encarnacion, is slow to get out of his early season funk.

Worth the Price of a Snowball: Sergio Santos. He is going to wear the horns until he proves he is the closer we traded for a few seasons ago. Injured during most of his tenure his control can be best described as erratic which culminated in the hell he put Blue Jays fans through with his truly putrid showing in Minnesota.