Blue Jays Series Preview: Jays look to bounce back in Tampa Bay
By Lucas Silva
Game 2: April 30, 2016 @ 6:10 ET
J.A. Happ (3-0, 2.42 ERA, 4.03 FIP) vs.
Chris Archer (1-4, 5.47 ERA, 4.36 FIP)
Happ is making his offseason contract look like a steal for the Jays so far this year. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not going to keep his ratios at where they’re at now for the duration of the year, but you have to be encouraged with how he’s performed so far.
The lack of walks and overall command of his repertoire has been very encouraging. His 86.1% LOB% is bound to regress closer to his career total of 73.9%, and the 7.1% HR/FB rate he’s delivered so far is also going to move towards the mean. However, the same could be said for his K/9 rate, which sits at only 4.5, despite a career mark of 7.56.
His swinging strike rate is exactly at his career rate of 8.0%, and only 0.2 points below last years number, while his contact rate has only seen a 1.2% increase. His stuff has largely been what you would expect, solid yet unspectacular, but if he continues to pound the zone and keep hitters off balance, registering an ERA in the mid to high 3’s is very much a possibility.
Archer’s first start against the Jays was dominant in terms of getting swings and misses from Jays hitters, but also very inefficient. He only went five innings as the Jays worked counts and Archer found himself in many counts that ran up to 6+ pitches. But, he also struck out 12 batters, showing the kind of nasty stuff he possesses.
His following three starts weren’t very good, as he gave up piles of hard contact, leading to 25 hits and six HR’s in those three games. In his latest start he reverted back to what we became accustomed to from him last year: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K.
His velocity on the fourseam fastball has dropped from 96.11 mph to 94.79, and he’s giving up hard contact on 46.6% of balls put into play, but his K/9 is still very high at 13.33. This suggest he’s giving up hard contact with less than two strikes, but once he gets to two strikes, his stuff is still elite and he’s able to get swings and misses on pitches outside of the zone.
It will be important for the Jays to be aggressive on pitches inside the zone with less than two strikes, because allowing Archer to get to two strikes and expand the zone is an invitation for him to pick you apart.
Next: Stroman looks to deliver again against the Rays