The Blue Jays soon kick off their three-game set against the Braves in Atlanta, but before first pitch, let’s round up a few pieces of news that have come in pre-game. As you’ll see from tonight’s lineup featuring Justin Smoak, Edwin Encarnacion remains out of the lineup with a left middle finger injury.
While there’s reason for concern regarding any injury to a player of Encarnacion’s stature, I’m more worried about what the time off will do to his swing if this stretches over several more games. Edwin is a hitter who is notorious for relying on his timing to send him on streaks, and he’s been comfortably in the middle of one lately.
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Thankfully for the Blue Jays, the power and glove of Smoak and bat of Chris Colabello should soften the blow to some extent. While no series is to be taken lightly, this set against the Braves is certainly the ideal time to get Encarnacion the rest he needs.
Elsewhere in Blue Jays news, join me in a sigh of relief as it appears the club is ready to reunite R.A. Dickey with Russell Martin in preparation for their playoff pairing. This should give Martin a handful of starts to get as “comfortable” as possible before trying to wrangle the knuckleball on a blustery, cold October day. Have fun with that!
Doing so should remove any shred of possibility that Josh Thole follows Dickey onto the playoff roster which, again, leaves the door cracked open for players on the bubble such as Dalton Pompey. There’s an interesting argument to be made for keeping Thole over Navarro for the playoffs if the value to Dickey is really as significant as some think. I said the argument is interesting, not great.
Gregor Chisholm also added that starter Drew Hutchison will be used in one-inning situations out of the bullpen, which stood out as interesting to me. Not that we should read too deeply into it, but I’d originally seen him as more of a long-man candidate if a starter falls early. Hutch’s ability to maximize his velocity over a short burst will be worth keeping an eye on.