The Toronto Blue Jays will continue the trend of facing National League teams this week as they fly to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals for a two-game series starting Monday. This will be the Jays’ first time playing the Cardinals since April of 2017 when they won only one game of the three-game series that featured a double-header after a Wednesday night rainout.
Prior to today’s games, the Cardinals currently sit second in the NL Central, four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, and sit with an identical record to the Blue Jays at 22-18, featuring key players in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. The club recently promoted top prospects Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore to the roster earlier this week (Liberatore made the start yesterday and was demoted back to AAA today) and is also missing a few critical players in Tyler O’Neill, Jack Flaherty, and Alex Reyes, all of whom are currently on the IL.
The Blue Jays will also be seeing some former players when they make the trip to St. Louis, with outfielder Corey Dickerson joining the team in a bench capacity on a one-year deal and southpaw Steven Matz.
Last year, Matz became an important piece on the Jays’ pitching staff, holding down the fort at the back end of the rotation and finding a groove towards the end of the season. The former Mets hurler finished the year with a 3.82 ERA through 29 starts while pitching to an 8.6 K/9 through 150.2 innings. While the Jays did look at potentially bringing him back, whether it be through extension (which he turned down) or a qualifying offer (which was not offered), the Cardinals’ four-year deal worth $44 million swayed him to sign in Missouri and the Blue Jays front office looked elsewhere, signing Yusei Kikuchi to a three-year pact instead.
The Toronto Blue Jays will miss facing Steven Matz on the mound when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals for a two-game series starting tomorrow.
Matz is currently starting today’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates so the Jays will not be seeing him on the mound when they start their road trip tomorrow. This is a bit unfortunate for the Jays, as the left-hander is struggling with his new club this season, owning a 6.03 ERA through eight starts this season.
He does have two starts under his belt where he did not allow an earned run through 5+ innings but Matz also has given up 3 or more earned runs through four starts, with two of those affairs being 7+ runs, which is why he has the elevated ERA. He also sits below the 50th percentile across numerous categories such as barrel % (20th), xBA (22nd), hard-hit % (37th) and xwOBA (43rd), meaning opposing batters are seeing the ball well off the New York product. It also looks like Matz might be out for a while, as he left his start earlier today with an arm injury after just four pitches.
The Blue Jays are currently scheduled to face Miles Mikolas tomorrow and then TBD on Tuesday, with Jordan Hicks or Dakota Hudson potentially starting the second game. The Jays will get a second opportunity to potentially see Matz later this season when the Cardinals head to Toronto for two games starting on July 26th.