Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays vs. Astros: Full series preview and pitching matchups

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Aug 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak (14) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) celebrate a win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 7-0. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak (14) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) celebrate a win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 7-0. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Game 3: August 14 – 1:07 ET

Mike Fiers (8-5, 4.46 ERA, 4.65 FIP) vs.
Marcus Stroman (8-5, 4.76 ERA, 3.86 FIP)

After being a late round draft pick in 2009, and largely deemed as an organizational depth guy for the Brewers, Fiers broke out in 2014 at the age of 29. Mind you, it was a small sample, but he posted a 2.13 ERA and 2.99 FIP through 71.2 IP. His peripherals: 9.54 K/9, 2.13 BB/9, 0.88 HR/9, made him a really interesting pitcher and a potentially valuable commodity for the Brewers moving forward.

Last year, his numbers dipped somewhat, but were still very respectable: 3.69 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 8.98 K/9, 3.19 BB/9, 1.20 HR/9. His biggest problem was the home run spike, and that problem has escalated this year.

His 1.49 HR/9 this year has really hurt his ratios, and having his strikeouts take a huge help has not helped his case also. His 6.62 K/9 is 18th worst among qualified starters, and that HR/9 is 12th worst, so it’s safe to say that what made him successful the last couple of years hasn’t transferred to 2016.

His four-seam fastball sits right at 90 mph, but much like we see with Marco Estrada, he has a rising action to the pitch so he isn’t afraid to use it up in the zone to get whiffs. He also mixes in a cutter, curve, change and slider.

The repertoire is diverse, but he doesn’t have a true out pitch, especially with regards to his breaking balls. Neither of them garner double digit whiff rates, and he doesn’t turn to them to get quality hitters out. Mind you, his whiff rates have decreased on all of his pitches except for his cutter, so it may be a case of a pitcher losing some zip and action on his pitches.

He has good command, but when his stuff isn’t missing bats, and his mistakes get crushed, he’s going to struggle. This has the makings of an excellent matchup for the Jays.

Next: What has Bautista done to his free agent value?

Stroman’s season has been a series of ups and downs, there’s no doubt about that, but his best start of the year came against these Astros just two weeks ago. He struckout 13 batters and looked downright nasty.

His last start against the Royals wasn’t nearly as dominant, as he laboured through 5 innings against the Royals, but he was still able to generate 12 swing and misses, including 10 with his slider, so that points towards his excellent stuff making an emergence.

It was the type of start where he got burnt by weak hits and infield singles, and I’m still encouraged by what I’ve seen of him as of late.

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