After a lackluster series against the Angels, the Blue Jays will look to make some hay against the struggling Minnesota Twins.
The Blue Jays are wrapping up a six game home stand before heading for Baltimore. Toronto is now (71-56) on the season, and have won 5 of their last 10. At the moment the Blue Jays still are tied for the division lead with the Boston Red Sox. The Twins (49-78) are in the midst of a terrible season for the franchise. They are 2-8 over their last 10 games, and sit in the basement of the A.L. Central, 23.5 games back.
The Blue Jays have a solid 38-27 record at home in the Rogers Centre this season, while Los Angeles Minnesota is 24-38 away from Target Field in 2016.
TOR- (Starters) 3.70 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 1.14 HR/9, 7.6 K/9, .238/.301/.400
MIN- (Starters) 5.44 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 1.45 HR/9, 6.7 K/9, .292/.340/.482
TOR – (Relievers) 3.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 1.14 HR/9, 9.0 K/9, .251/.310/.409
MIN- (Relievers) 4.26 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 1.27 HR/9, 8.4 K/9, .272/.328/.444
Toronto – R/G 4.80 – .248/.327/.433 – 421 XBH – 8.56 K/G
Minnesota – R/G 4.51 – .255/.319/.424 – 408 XBH – 8.46 K/G
History: The Blue Jays and Twins have played each other 373 times over the last 40 seasons, with Toronto having an edge in the all-time series with a 212-161 record. Toronto holds their own at home with a 112-71 record over that span. This marks the second time this season these two teams will play each other; Toronto won the 4 game series in May, 3-1.
First Pitch – 7:07 EST
F. Liriano LHP (2016: 6-12, 5.21 ERA) vs. P. Dean LHP (2016: 1-3, 5.48 ERA)
Toronto will open the series against Minnesota with the former Twin Francisco Liriano. Liriano (6-12, 5.21 ERA, 1.591 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) will be looking to build the impressive start his last time out. The lefty is (0-1, 3.57 ERA, 1.415 WHIP, 8.2 K/9) since being acquired by Toronto.
Over his career he has a (2-1, 5.66 ERA, 1.355 WHIP, 10.0 K/9) record against Minnesota.
Liriano has pitched to a (4-6, 4.73 ERA, 1.546 WHIP, 8.9 K/9) at home this season. However, only one of those has come at the Rogers Centre.
The Twins will counter with a lefty of the their own in Pat Dean. Dean (1-3. 5.48 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 7.2 K/9) has seen his struggles this season with Minnesota. As a starter he has posted a (1-2, 5.81 ERA, 1.516 WHIP, 6.1 K/9) record over 6 games.
The Blue Jays faced Dean at Target Field back in May and the lefty pitched well posting a 6IP, 3H, 2ER, 5K performance.
Surprisingly, Dean, has been better away from Target Field, posting a slightly (1-2, 4.87 ERA, 1.426 WHIP, 8.0 K/9) better record on the road.
First Pitch – 1:07 EST
M. Stroman RHP (2016: 9-5, 4.47 ERA) vs. E. Santana RHP (2016: 6-10, 3.33 ERA)
Toronto will hand the ball to the resurgent Marcus Stroman on Saturday afternoon. Stroman (9-5, 4.47 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 7.5 K/9) has pitched better over his last 9 starts, posting a 3.02 ERA during that span.
The flamboyant pitcher has a (1-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 4.6 K/9) career record when facing the Twins. This includes and excellent start during the last series of 7.2 IP, 3H, 1 ER where he earned a win.
Stroman will be looking to improve on his current home record of (4-1, 4.73 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, 7.0 K/9) when he takes the mound.
The once “almost Blue Jay” Ervin Santana will face off against Stroman. Santana (6-10, 3.33 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 7.0 K/9) is putting together his typical season. Not flashy, but productive. In fact, he has posted a 1.79 ERA over his last 11 starts.
Over his career he has pitcher fairly well when facing the Blue Jays, and has posted a (6-7, 3.61 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 6.4 K/9)
Santana is a very respectable (3-4, 2.77 ERA, 1.281 WHIP, 7.7 K/9) on the road this season.
First Pitch – 1:07 EST
R. Dickey RHP (2016: 9-13, 4.43 ERA) vs. K. Gibson RHP (2016: 5-8, 5.09 ERA)
The series finale on Sunday will be given to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Dickey (9-13, 4.43 ERA, 1.341 WHIP, 6.5 K/9) has pitched to a 3.13 ERA over his last 4 starts, and will be needed down the stretch.
The Tennessee native has not fared well over his career against the Twins, posting a (2-3, 6.20 ERA, 1.689 WHIP, 5.6 K/9) record.
Dickey has not been great at home this season (3-8, 5.33 ERA, 1.403 WHIP, 6.4 K/9) but will be looking to build off his last start of 6.2 IP, 2ER.
Minnesota will send Kyle Gibson to mound on Sunday for the final game. Gibson (5-8, 5.09 ERA, 1.538 WHIP, 6.4 K/9) has not pitched as expected for the Twins this season, which includes posting a 6.59 ERA over his last 5 starts.
He has faced Toronto on 3 occasions over his short career and has posted a (1-1, 4.42 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, 5.4 K/9) record.
Gibson is (4-2, 5.21 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, 6.4 K/9) away from Target Field in 2016.
*All Pitcher vs Batter Stats provided by ESPN
**Featured Image Credit: Freaktography (Flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.