Toronto Blue Jays News

Toronto Blue Jays Series Preview and Pitching Matchups: Rays @ Jays

lsilv861
May 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) exchanges a high-five with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) in the eighth inning after hitting a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Rays won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
May 18, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (10) exchanges a high-five with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) in the eighth inning after hitting a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Rays won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
1 of 5
Next
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Blue Jays return home for a three game set after a 4-3 road trip against the Astros and Royals. Despite the winning record, the series against the Royals ended with back to back losses due to a sputtering offence.

They’ve managed to play well as of late and pick up wins, but it’s largely been because of the work of the pitching staff. Over the last 14 days, they’re slashing a putrid .206/.287/.383 with a wRC+ of 78. It’s simply a rough stretch for a talented lineup, and their shouldn’t be any unnecessary concern.

On a positive note, it’s good to see that the pitching staff is capable of carrying the offence when they get into a bit of a slump. Furthermore, it’s encouraging to see the team win some close, low scoring ball games. Both of these traits are important for teams to have success down the stretch and into the playoffs.

The offence has still managed to hit the ball out of the ball park recently, notching 18 home runs over the last 14 days, but many of them have been solo shots as they struggle to consistently get on base. Getting back into the Rogers Centre and getting a couple familiar matchups in Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly could get the bats back on track.

The aforementioned success of the entire pitching staff has been excellent to see. J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, and Aaron Sanchez continue to be the foundation of that success, Marcus Stroman seems to have found his groove following his best start of the year. R.A. Dickey is inconsistent, but he is coming off what was arguably his best start of the year when the bullpen really needed it.

Francisco Liriano had a fairly successful first start with the Jays, and his stuff looked excellent. He was consistently running his fastball up to 94-95 mph, even hitting 96. He averaged 94.86 mph with the pitch, the second highest mark he’s posted all year. He also got nine strikeouts with his slider, and he was able to consistently keep his change up down in the zone.

The staff has a combined 3.3 WAR over the last 14 days, which is first in the entire league, with a 2.64 ERA and a 3.17 FIP. It’s been an exciting staff to watch, and the bullpen has really come together.

Next: Across the Diamond: Rays pitching staff catches fire

facebooktwitterreddit