Toronto Blue Jays News

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

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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 /
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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Game 3: August 10 – 7:07 ET

Blake Snell (3-4, 2.95 ERA, 3.04 FIP) vs.
J.A. Happ (15-3, 3.09 ERA, 3.83 FIP)

The 23-year-old lefty, Blake Snell, offers a big arm and tantalizing potential. He averages 95 mph on both his four-seam fastball and sinker, and combines that with a nasty 12-6 curveball, a hard slider and an effective changeup. He gets a lot of rising action on his fastball, and both his curve and slider are plus swing and miss offerings.

His command is the part of his game that needs to be refined, and he’s prone to mistakes in the zone. However, his stuff is explosive and it can miss bats, so those mistakes won’t be as costly as the ones that Smyly may hypothetically make.

He’s having success as a major leaguer so far despite these command problems, as he’s only allowed over two earned runs in two of his 10 starts. His command, or lack thereof at times, doesn’t allow him to get deep into games on a consistent basis as he works himself into many deep counts. In order to have success, the Jays will need to use a selective approach and force Snell to work in the zone in hitters counts.

The Jays will send Happ to the mound in game three, and much like Estrada, the general expectation coming into the year was that he wouldn’t be able to keep up his second half 2016 performance. But, he’s done more than that and he’s grown on what he’s been able to do last year with the Pirates.

He was getting a little bit lucky earlier in the year with a deflated BABIP, and a very high LOB%, but he’s increased his strikeouts and continued to increase his level of command and that’s had a very good result. Much like Estrada, every time he goes out, he gives the team an excellent chance to win.

In five of his last six starts, he’s allowed one or fewer earned runs, and he looks to continue that success against the below average Rays offence, who traded two lefty mashers, Steve Pearce and Brandon Guyer, at the deadline.

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