Toronto Blue Jays News

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: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Game One: June 30 – 7:07 pm ET

Carlos Carrasco (3-2, 2.73 ERA, 4.25 FIP) vs.
RA Dickey (5-8, 4.23 ERA, 5.22 FIP)

Dickey continues to post an ERA better than the rest of his peripherals would suggest it would be, as they’ve  gotten worse than last year’s, but that’s what the unpredictability that the knuckleball brings.

Carrasco is a far more interesting pitcher, and the way in which Jays hitters should attack him is far more interesting, so I will use this space as means to discuss that.

After missing a chunk of time with an injury, Carrasco has returned to his prior form and seems to be back up to speed. If that injury hadn’t occurred, he probably would have been one of the front runners for this year’s AL Cy Young, as his performance over the last two years, despite lower innings totals, have been Cy Young worthy.

He’s coming off his best start of the season, a complete game shutout of the Tigers: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. This line is a good example of just how dominant he can be. His 7.88 K/9 is deflated from his totals of the last two, 10.58 and 9.40 respectively, but his BB/9 is a very good 2.07 and his 51.6 GB% is also excellent. This is a guy who boasts incredible strikeout potential due to his mid-90s heat and three strikeout offerings, but pairs that with excellent control and the ability to get the ball on the ground. He’s a true difference maker on the mound.

His fourseam and sinker average 95.05 and 94.18 mph, and he pairs that with a change, slider and curve. He uses all five offering at least 13.43% of the time, and doesn’t throw any of them more than 37%, so his repertoire and pitch selection is diverse.

Furthermore, he gets double digit whiff rates on four of his pitches, including a 24.50 on his slider this year, and 28.31 mark on his curve last year. So, there’s no questioning he has a number of weapons to go to with two strikes. His change has gotten whiffs right around 20% the last two years as well.

Clearly, the guys has a lot of weapons, and for the Jays to counter that, they’ll have to be aggressive on fastballs in the zone that are usually going to be thrown early in the count. His fourseam is really the only pitch of his that gets hit hard, as opponents have a .417 BA and .683 SLG% against it.

Once he gets to two strikes he has so many weapons, he can expand the zone and make hitters look silly. His command is good, and he relies on the fastball to get ahead; therefore, the Jays should look to attack early in the count and prevent him from getting in counts where he can turn to one of his many strikeout offerings.

Next: Game 2: Can Stroman make the necessary adjustments?

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