The Toronto Blue Jays roster has officially taken shape, and the final list of 25 names holds no real surprises. The trio of Aaron Loup, Dalton Pompey and Ezequiel Carrera rounded out the bottom three spots, but after Marcus Stroman was named the game two starter earlier today, my assumption had been that R.A. Dickey would follow him in game three in Texas. A good day to be wrong, I suppose.
Stepping back from the big picture, it really is unfair that we (I) haven’t given Estrada a stronger consideration for the third spot in the rotation. The alignment of Price-Dickey-Stroman wouldn’t have allowed for this, but under the current makeup, it’s difficult to argue against it.
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Estrada has been an absolute revelation for the Blue Jays since coming over last November 1st in the Adam Lind trade. The move was originally driven by financial purposes, getting something back in return for the $7.5 million owed to Lind on his option. In hindsight, we see that Alex Anthopoulos and/or his scouting department recognized an opportunity.
While maintaining his fantastic changeup and improving his fastball location, Estrada has produced an incredible 3.13 ERA, good for a 13-8 record. The key for him was to limit the home runs, something he allowed at a generous rate in 2014, and he’s done that to a well enough extent.
Opponents have been held to just a .204 batting average against Estrada, and the lefty-heavy Rangers lineup shouldn’t pose any unordinary difficulties for him. Home and road splits don’t vary enough to cause me much worry, either, with a 2.95 ERA at the Rogers Centre and a 3.29 mark elsewhere. For whatever reason, Estrada has also struck out 1.2 more batters per nine innings on the road.
The only thing left to be determined is the start time on Thursday, which will vary a half hour based on tonight’s results. The roster is set, the tickets are printed and the Dome is ready. It’s playoffs time.