Blue Jays’ Replacement Starters for series with the Angels

Feb 17, 2017; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mat Latos (57) throws a bullpen during spring training at Cecil P. Englebert Recreation Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 17, 2017; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mat Latos (57) throws a bullpen during spring training at Cecil P. Englebert Recreation Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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With untimely injuries to Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays are reportedly set to roll out Mat Latos and Casey Lawrence for this weekend’s series against the LA Angels.

To say that the Blue Jays season has been a disappointment thus far is an understatement. Tabbed by many as both a playoff team and a World Series contender, the Blue Jays have started the season with an abysmal 2-11 record. Injuries to Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, and Aaron Sanchez have made matters worse as the Blue Jays are currently tasked with somehow staying in the playoff race without their key players.

Starting on Friday, the Blue Jays are scheduled to face Mike Trout and the Angels in Los Angeles for the weekend, and are short two starters due to Happ’s elbow inflammation and Sanchez’s blister problems. Mat Latos is reportedly the scheduled starter for Friday and Casey Lawrence is set to follow him on Saturday.

In two starts this season with Triple-A Buffalo, Mat Latos has posted a strong 1.00 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 9.0 innings, while Casey Lawrence has pitched to a 1.80 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 5.0 innings. Albeit in a small sample size, both pitchers have looked strong in the beginning of the season.

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An important note on Latos is that he has an opt-out later in the season that he can choose to take if an opportunity does not arise with Blue Jays. This could be a great chance for the Blue Jays front office to gauge Latos’ value to the organization and decide if he is worth keeping on the MLB roster. He has struggled in recent seasons, but is still just 29 years old, and was a very valuable starter earlier in his career.

Meanwhile, Casey Lawrence still has options left which allows the Jays to be more creative and flexible in his use this season. In two relief appearance this season with Toronto, Lawrence has struggled to the tune of a 13.50 ERA and 4.00 WHIP. Both appearances came as a reliever, so Lawrence will look to put in a solid performance in his more familiar role.

It remains to be seen what roles the two players will have after their spot starts but if Happ or Sanchez’s injuries persist for an extended period of time, John Gibbons and the staff will have to make a decision on who to keep in the rotation. However, first thing’s first; two quality starts and two wins would go a long way in jump-starting a Blue Jays win streak and the journey to a playoff three-peat.

Next: Blue Jays will have to make a decision on Donaldson's future

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