The Toronto Blue Jays need to pull a quick 180 in the ALCS after dropping game one 5-0 to the Kansas City Royals. For the second consecutive series, the Blue Jays fell flat while looking entirely unlike themselves.
Establishing any level of offense early in the game will be critical for the Jays, because as we saw last night, Kansas City wrote the book on playing baseball with a lead. Like a great boxer that lands their early blows then dances at arms length for the remainder of the fight, they seemed to lull Toronto to sleep.
They’ll be faced with solving the young and electric Yordano Ventura. The 24-year old is no genius when he opens his mouth, just ask Jose Bautista, but all that counts today is the right arm. Toronto will need to crack this starter open before allowing that daunting bullpen to take over.
Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08 ERA)
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Much like his teammate Edinson Volquez, Ventura’s great velocity has been known to lead him astray at times with control issues. He’s allowed 3.2 BB/9 in 2015, and his one meeting with the Blue Jays didn’t treat him well.
On that tense August 1st, Ventura allowed five runs, including two home runs, in 7.0 innings. He’s shown little sign of slowing late in the season, however, as you sometimes see from young power arms. In seven regular season starts from the beginning of September, he posted a 3.14 ERA.
Ventura grabbed two starts against the Astros in the
, combining them to last 7.0 innings, allowing six total runs on eight hits and four walks. His fastball will sit comfortably in the mid-to-high 90s, and he’ll mix in a curveball and change that rest in the mid-80s.
David Price (18-5, 2.45 ERA)
Today’s game will either make or break the narrative that David Price is not a playoff performer. He now owns a 2-6 record in the postseason with a 5.04 ERA, and did little to squash the concerns in two ALDS appearances.
Over 10.0 innings against the Texas Rangers, the AL Cy Young candidate allowed eight earned runs on 11 hits. Something just isn’t right with Price in October, but there’s no time like the present to pitch like an ace. He’s enjoyed some limited success against Moustakas, Gordon, Hosmer and Morales, though, so there is cause for optimism. Oddly enough, Alex Rios has knocked Price around to the tune of a 1.255 OPS in 33 plate appearances.
Blue Jay to Watch: Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista does not like Yordano Ventura. Yordano Ventura does not like Jose Bautista. When these situations arise, Bautista has a history of coming out on top. He’s gone 3-for-5 against Ventura in his career, including one home run.