Series preview: Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays

 

The Toronto Blue Jays kick off a six game homestand with three games against the Tribe, July 22-24.

 

 

 

 

Toronto is 4th in the AL East division, 27.5 games out of first place and 19.5 games out of the 2nd wild card spot.  Cleveland, winners of the AL Central division for the last three seasons, find themselves in 2nd place, 3 games behind the division leading Minnesota Twins. However Cleveland currently leads the first wild card spot by 1 game over the Oakland As.

 

In their last 10 games, Cleveland is 7-3, while Toronto is 4-6.

 

Cleveland is missing a few of the starting pitchers who have anchored the rotation over the last few seasons.  Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar are all on the IL.

 

It was previously thought that they might be sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Names such as Trevor Bauer have been rumoured to be available for the right price. However, having gone 7-3 over their last 10 and currently holding the first wild card spot may have changed that. Cleveland may want to hold or even buy in the hopes of making the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

 

Monday July 22.  7:07 pm

RHP Mike Clevinger (CLE) vs LHP Ryan Borucki (TOR)

 

Monday will mark Borucki’s season debut after being on the IL for all of 2019 to date. That being the case, here are some key stats in him from 2018.

 

4-6 record. 3.87 era.  3.80 FIP.  1.321 WHIP.  3.0 BB/9. 6.2 K/9.

 

It will be great for the Jays and their fans for Borucki to take the mound in an MLB game. In a way this will be another spring training for him so I’m not expecting miracles.

 

Clevinger:  3-2, 3.57 era, 2.15 FIP, 1.047 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 14.8 K/9.

 

Clevinger’s last start, against the Detroit Tigers was quite good. He pitched 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 6 hits, 1 walk and 12 strikeouts. His last start against the Blue Jays was back on April 6. He did very well then also. He pitched 5 innings, giving up no runs on one hit, with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

 

Clevinger has only made 7 starts for the Tribe this season, in spite of very strong numbers, due to two separate IL stints. He will hope to stay healthy and continue pitching effectively to help his team get back to the postseason.

 

Tuesday July 23.   7:07 pm

RHP Trevor Bauer (CLE) vs RHP Aaron Sanchez  (TOR)

 

Sanchez:  3-14.  6.26 era. 5.51 FIP. 1.755 WHIP. 5.2 BB/9. 7.3 K/9.

 

Sanchez and the Blue Jays keep hoping he will turn this season around, to no avail. He leads all of MLB with 14 losses. His last start was on July 17th vs the Red Sox. He pitched 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits, with one walk and 4 strikeouts. One positive to come from that outing was that he surrendered only the one walk. But in finally improving his command, he was too hittable and was gone after 5 innings.

 

The Jays would be delighted if Sanchez could somehow duplicate his number in his last start vs the Tribe. On April 4, he pitched 6 innings, only giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. But that was back in April when Sanchez looked like the pitcher who won the AL era title in 2016. Since then, unfortunately, it has been downhill for the Jays’ righty.

 

Bauer: 9-7.  3.67 era.  4.30 FIP.  1.182 WHIP. 3.5 BB/9. 10.6 K/9

 

Bauer’s last start was against the Detroit Tigers. He pitched well, lasting 6.2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts.

 

The last time Bauer faced the Jays, his mound opponent was also Aaron Sanchez, as it is scheduled to be on Tuesday. Bauer pitched 7 innings, giving up no runs and no hits, back when the Jays seemed like they were being no hit every game. Bauer was a bit wild on that day, giving up 6 walks and also striking out 8 Blue Jays.

 

As mentioned above, Bauer, who is under team control through the 2020 season, has been rumoured as possibly being on the trading block. That may or may not still be the case. A strong series for Cleveland vs Toronto could help decide which direction they will go in for 2019.

 

Wednesday July 24. 7:07 pm

RHP Shane Bieber (CLE) vs RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR)

 

Stroman: 6-10. 3.06 era. 3.62 FIP. 1.249 WHIP. 2.6 BB/9. 7.1 K/9.

 

Stroman is another pitcher who is rumoured to be on the trading block, as the rebuilding Blue Jays look to continue improving their farm system. It seems like every Stroman start for the past couple of weeks has people speculating that it might be his last in a Jays uniform.

 

As he has always done, Stroman has risen to the occasion of any added pressure he may be feeling. His last start was on July 19 vs the Detroit Tigers. He pitched 7 strong innings, giving up no runs on 6 hits, with no walks and 5 strikeouts.

 

Stroman’s last start vs Cleveland was on April 7. He pitched 6 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, with one walk and 6 strikeouts. It will be an emotional game as Stroman, the longest serving Jay may be pitching in front of the home town fans for the final time.

 

Bieber: 9-3. 3.69 era. 3.29 FIP. 1.046 WHIP. 2.0 BB/9. 11.3 K/9.

 

The series finale on Wednesday features a battle of all star starters. The sophomore Cleveland starter has stepped up in the absence of the aforementioned starters on the IL and has improved on his rookie season stats to earn his first all star nod.

 

His last start was against the Kansas City Royals. Bieber struggled a bit, pitching 5.2 innings, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits with 4 walks and 6 strikeouts. His last start vs Toronto was back on April 5. He lasted 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits, with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. He will hope to continue this success against the Jays.

 

Prediction:  Stroman gets his final win as a Toronto Blue Jay.  Cleveland takes the series 2-1.

 

 

 



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