The Toronto Blue Jays hit the road to take on the Chicago White Sox this weekend. Jays from the Couch has you covered on what to expect this upcoming series.
This weekend the Blue Jays will travel to U.S. Cellular Field to take on the struggling Chicago White Sox. The White Sox had started the season 23-10, looking poised to contend for the A.L. Central, a division they haven’t won since 2008. The last time these two teams met, was when the White Sox traveled to Toronto to sweep the Blue Jays in three. Since that hot start to the season, the White Sox aren’t playing close to the same standards. Since that 23-10 start, the White Sox now sit at 36-37, and have faltered all the way back to fourth place in their division.
CHI – (Starters) 4.28 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 7.69 K/9
TOR – (Starters) 3.76 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.06 K/9
CHI – (Relievers) 3.55 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 8.01 K/9
TOR – (Relievers) 4.08 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 8.95 K/9
Chicago White Sox – .244/.314/.389, 205 XBH
Toronto – .245/.326/.435, 247 XBH
In 384 games, the Blue Jays have a 199-185 record over the Chicago White Sox. Over the past three seasons the Blue Jays are 8-13, including the three game sweep by the White Sox in April
First Pitch — 8:07 EST
Aa. Sanchez (7-1, 3.35 ERA) vs C. Rodon (2-6, 4.16 ERA)
The Blue Jays will start the series by sending the righty Aaron Sanchez to the mound. In Sanchez’s last three starts, he had one of his best performances of the season in Detroit, striking out twelve batters, then backing it up with two of his shortest starts of the season, struggling to get outs against the powerful Orioles lineup.
The lefty Carlos Rodon will counter in game one, in his sophomore season in the big leagues Rodon has yet to face anyone in the Blue Jays lineup. Rodon this season hasn’t had the production he was hoping he would have, after his stellar second half of last season. While his change-up has improved drastically (A pitch he just started using last season) his go to pitch, the slider, hasn’t seen the same results as last year.
Players to Watch:
Toronto – Last week, Josh Donaldson was chosen by the MLB as the American League Player of the Week. In the month of June, Donaldson is batting .348/.488/.712, with four home runs, and seventeen runs batted in. Watch out for Donaldson this entire season.
Chicago – The former Blue Jay Melky Cabrera looks as though he’s rounded his game back into form this season, batting .289, slapping the ball through every gap in the field for extra base hits. In the White Sox earlier series against the Boston Red Sox, Cabrera batted .333 including a game where he went 4/5 with four runs batted in. Cabrera is someone who can seem to find hits against every pitcher he faces, even with Sanchez on the mound, it will take some good pitches to get Cabrera out.
First Pitch – 2:10 EST
R. Dickey (4-8, 4.08 ERA) vs M. Gonzalez (1-2, 4.29 ERA)
In the rubber match of this series, the veteran R.A. Dickey will pitch for the Blue Jays. Over his last four starts, Dickey has shown signs of his game starting to turn the corner. In 24.1 IP, Dickey has an ERA of 2.59, while striking out eleven, and walking ten batters.
Chicago will send a familiar American League East face in Miguel Gonzalez to the mound. Gonzalez is making his tenth start of the year for the White Sox, and he has struggled to go deep into games this season, making it into the sixth inning only on three occasions. In his last start against the Red Sox, Gonzalez would have his best starts of the season. Pitching 6.2 IP, (The furthest he’s gone into a game this year) allowing one run to cross home plate, on four hits, while striking out five.
Players to Watch:
Toronto – Russell Martin is a notorious slow starter at the plate every year, it seems as though this month Martin is seeing the ball better at the plate. In the month of June, he is hitting .280 with an on base percentage of .415! In the month of April and May, Martin had an OBP of .259, and it seems as though he is back into All-Star form at the plate.
Chicago – In twelve at bats versus Dickey, Jose Abreu has hit the ball hard against the knuckleball, with five hits, three of them being home runs. Abreu has struggled to meet his regular standards this season, having his worst season to date. Although Abreu is only in his third full season in the MLB, he is 29 years old, and looked at as a main piece in the White Sox offence. In his first two seasons was a force at the plate, this season Abreu looks human.
First Pitch – 2:10 EST
M. Stroman (6-3, 5.23 ERA) vs C. Sale (12-2, 2.83 ERA)
In the final game of the weekend, the struggling Marcus Stroman will wrap up the series. In Stroman’s last four starts, he has only pitched 21.2IP, to an ERA of 7.89. It will be a huge game for Stroman if he could bounce back against the struggling White Sox. And, as we are in the dog days of Summer, this might be the perfect time for Stroman to start a hot streak.
It will be a tough game for Stroman to win, as the man who opposes him, Chris Sale, has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this year. But, in his last four starts he hasn’t been playing up to his regular standards. Sale has pitched 26.1IP, to an ERA of 4.44, but found his groove against the Red Sox in his last start, pitching 7.0IP, allowing one earned run, and striking out nine batters.
Players to Watch:
Toronto – Edwin Encarnacion sure has walked the parrot more often than not in these past few weeks. Although most batters go down swinging, and left confused when stepping up to the plate against Chris Sale, Edwin has shown some success against him. In 11AB’s versus Sale, Encarnacion is hitting .455, with two walks, and no strikeouts!
Chicago – The match-up of Chris Sale and Marcus Stroman is enough of a reason to tune into this game. Sale is simply one of the best pitchers/players in the league, if you love baseball, watching the sharp turn and force of Chris Sale’s slider is the equivalent of watching a sunset over the Grand Canyon for a baseball purist.
*Featured IMAGE CREDIT: Paolo Rosa (Flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
**Image Credit: Keith Allison (flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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