Blue Jays series preview: King Felix awaits

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Jul 21, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) homered to left driving in three runs during the sixth inning against Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (31), not in picture, at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays will wrap up their short road trip with a three game set against the 44-52 Seattle Mariners. Now sitting fourth in the AL West, the Mariners are in now-or-never mode. Toronto, on the other hand, has left the All Star Break hot with a 4-2 record. Unfortunately, it hasn’t amounted to much yet in the standings.

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Game one will be a critical challenge for the Blue Jays against “King” Felix Hernandez, who Toronto has handled quit well in the past. With J.A. Happ and Taijuan Walker scheduled to follow Hernandez, a victory in the opener could set the stage for Toronto’s third straight series win. Perhaps this is the one time it’s acceptable to take the advice of Omar from HBO’s The Wire. “Come at the King, you best not miss”.

Across the Diamond

As has been the case in several of the Blue Jays’ recent series, we see a huge discrepancy in offensive output between these teams. Seattle sits 27th in the Majors with just 342 runs scored. The home run ball hasn’t been an issue for the Mariners, but flooding the bases has. Their team average of .237 ranks them 28th in the MLB (Toronto ranks 5th currently at .263).

Robinson Cano has recently began to play like a $5 million man again, but still has a ways to go before filling out the $240 million contract. His average now sits at .263 with nine home runs. Nelson Cruz has stolen the show for Seattle, driving out 24 home runs for 57 RBI with an impressive average of .302. Don’t sleep on Kyle Seager, either, whose 15 home runs and three consecutive multi-hit games have made him a perennial threat in the Mariner lineup.

Seattle’s pitching staff ranks near the middle of the league, allowing an opponent’s average of .249. After the jump, we take a look at the pitching matchups you’ll see this coming weekend. The Blue Jays appear to have the advantage in the latter two, don’t you think?

Next: Examining the three pitching matchups!