Toronto Blue Jays series preview: On the road to Houston

3 of 6

May 9, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Drew Hutchison (36) throws a pitch during the first inning in a game against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Game 1:  Thursday, May 17th  –  8:10 ET

Drew Hutchison will take the mound in the series opener for the Blue Jays hoping to build off a moderate turnaround in his last outing.  Hutchison’s 3-0 record could not possibly match his 6.69 ERA any less, but against the Boston Red Sox on May 9th, he managed to limit the damage to one run through 5.0 innings pitched.

Hutchison continues to lead the Blue Jays in strikeouts, but fastball control will be the key to him regaining his status as a top-3 starter in the Blue Jays rotation.  His breaking pitches have been off due to inconsistent mechanics on the mound, and he has failed to complete five full innings in four of his last six starts.

The Houston Astros will counter with veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez, who enters the series with a 1-3 record that has been sunk by bad luck more than poor pitching.  With an ERA of 3.86 and WHIP of 1.15, Hernandez has been a steady producer for Houston by completing 6.0+ innings in each of his past five starts.

Hernandez offers a sinking fastball that will top out at 89-90 MPH complimented by a slider and change that remain in the 80’s.  He’s likely to be around the zone and his velocities won’t blow anyone away, so an aggressive approach at the plate may benefit Toronto.

Next: Game 2: Dickey looks to rebound