Blue Jays may need Hutchison, skeleton lineup tomorrow?


Outside of leaving us scrambling for backup plans on a Tuesday night, the one real impact of the Toronto Blue Jays opening game in Baltimore being postponed until Wednesday is the effect on their starting rotation’s schedule. With Marcus Stroman originally scheduled to start the Blue Jays season finale in Tampa Bay, a Sunday afternoon start, he’ll now be unable to do so on three days rest.

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If the Blue Jays are able to clinch the American League East and top spot in the A.L. before the final day of the season, both very doable, Drew Hutchison could be next in line for some garbage time action. Don’t all cheer at once, but even if that game has meaning, the Blue Jays may have no other option that to dip into their expanded bullpen.

When Hutchison was transitioned (demoted) into the ‘pen role, pitching coach Pete Walker had mentioned that the potential remained for Hutch to see another start later in the season. If that’s the course of action, he could be paired with one or both of Jeff Francis or Chad Jenkins to share the load and preserve those pitchers destined for the playoff roster.

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If R.A. Dickey were to keep his pitch count low on Wednesday night there could be a chance he’d pitch over Stroman on three days rest, but that’s a waste of resources unless game 162 impacts Toronto’s playoff picture. Keep in mind that Mark Buehrle may need another inning or two in order to hit the 200.0 IP plateau, so that could be the perfect opportunity.

Speaking of Wednesday, the catching situation will be one to keep an eye on through tomorrow’s double-header. John Gibbons would prefer to start Russell Martin in game one with Stroman with the AL East crown still technically unclaimed, but that would take Martin out of the mix for Dickey’s start (likely to go to Josh Thole in that case). An extra dress rehearsal with the knuckleball would be valuable for Martin before handling Dickey in the playoffs.

One final note on tomorrow’s rosters: TSN’s Scott MacArthur tweeted that John Gibbons plans on using a “skeleton” lineup in the late game if Toronto is able to clinch the East with a win early. That situation sounds a lot like C Josh Thole, 1B Justin Smoak, 2B Darwin Barney, SS Munenori Kawasaki, 3B Matt Hague, LF Ezequiel Carrera, CF Dalton Pompey and RF…err…Chris Colabello. One last time! Encore!

Next: Blue Jays make the right call pairing Estrada, Navarro

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