Indians carry winning streak into Toronto to face Blue Jays: Series Preview

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Jun 29, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) (center) celebrates the win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Blue Jays defeated the Rockies 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) (center) celebrates the win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Blue Jays defeated the Rockies 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Blue Jays will be welcomed home by one of the hottest teams in baseball

After hitting their stride in early June, it looked like the Jays had fully turned the corner and they were ready to compete at the top of the standings with the Orioles and Red Sox in the AL East. However, they went 2-6 over an eight game span that included back to back losses against the Orioles during their series in mid June.

There were a couple tough losses in there, and it’s obviously a small sample size of games, but they’ve slid back to 5.5 games behind the Orioles. They bounced back in Colorado to take the last two games of that set as they hope to continue that play against the red hot Indians in Toronto over the weekend.

After a three game sweep at the hands of the Royals, the Indians have reeled off an incredible 12 straight wins, with four consecutive sweeps over the White Sox, Rays, Tigers and Braves. Their rotation is arguably the best in the American League, with former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, and dynamite right handers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar leading the way.

Those three are ultra talented and possess some of the game’s best stuff as a three man unit, but what can’t be understated about this staff is the resurgence of Trevor Bauer. Bauer, a former top draft pick and league-wide MLB prospect, has struggled to consistently put together large stretches of good pitching throughout his major league career, and he was moved to the bullpen at the start of this season.

After 11.1 IP out of the bullpen, he was moved back into the rotation and he hasn’t looked back since. In 79 IP as a starter this year, his ERA sits at 2.96 with a very strong FIP of 3.40, and he’s managed to cut his walk rate down to a very manageable 2.85. His success has moved this rotation to one of the best, to arguably number one, and the success of those four has led them to their recent run of success.

Josh Tomlin is the fifth guy in the rotation, and while he doesn’t nearly possess the raw stuff the other guys do in the rotation, he’s managed to throw up a 3.32 ERA. The peripherals don’t match up, but he’s been a guy who’s consistently outpitched his FIP, so the numbers he posts shouldn’t be scoffed at.

This is a team with a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball, but at the end of the day, their success depends on the performance of their rotation. The Jays will need to get to a couple of these starters and put up decent numbers, in that case, they’ll stand a chance to compete in this series.

Next: A look across the diamond at the Cleveland Indians

Next: Indians rotation one of the most talented in the entire league

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