The Toronto Blue Jays can expose one of the Minnesota Twins biggest weaknesses in their upcoming wild-card series -- their inability to hit breaking balls.
After losing the final game of the season, coupled with the Houston Astros winning their final game, the Blue Jays find themselves heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota to take on the AL Central champs in the Minnesota Twins.
The Blue Jays have officially announced Kevin Gausman as the team's game one starter, and although unconfirmed at the moment, Chris Bassitt and José Berríos are more than likely going to get the nod for game 2, and if necessary, game 3.
All three of those pitchers use breaking balls quite often, and the Twins struggled mightily against those this season. Minnesota ranked dead-last in run value against curveballs and second last in run value against splitters this year.
We all know Gausman loves to throw the split finger, and he's spectacular at it. The Blue Jays ace utilized the pitch on 38% of his pitches this year, throwing it 1178 times total this season, making it his second most used pitch.
Chris Bassitt, on the other hand, has a wide array of pitches, with a whopping eight different pitches in his arsenal, with the curveball being his third most frequently used pitch. Jose Berrios, also with a curveball in his repertoire, threw the curveball 30% of the time this year, making it his second most used pitch.
Yusei Kikuchi, should he make the wild-card roster, would likely come out of the bullpen, frequently uses the curveball as well, throwing it 19% of the time this year.
The Blue Jays pitching staff has been incredible all year, arguably the best in the majors. They finished the regular season fourth in ERA with an earned run average of 3.78, and were the only team to have four starters start 30+ games. Toronto's pitching staff will look to keep their strong play going and exploit Minnesota's struggles against the breaking ball in this wild-card series.