Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays vs Chicago White Sox (April 25-27)

The Toronto Blue Jays welcome the streaking Chicago White Sox to Rogers Centre. Join us here at Jays from the Coach for an in-depth view of the three game series.

 

The Toronto Blue Jays welcome the streaking Chicago White Sox to town this week for a three game set. The Sox are coming off a series sweep of the American League West co-leaders Texas Rangers, and own an American League Central leading record of 13-6.

This match-up is particularly intriguing based on the way both teams have reached their records. Chicago, sitting with thirteen wins (13-6) has scored a surprisingly low sixty-one (61) runs over their nineteen games, for an average of (3.21) per game. They have, however, been very stingy on the mound surrendering only forty-seven (47) runs for a per game average of (2.47). The Blue Jays while they have been under performing on the offensive side have managed (4.25) run per game, and allowed (3.8) runs per game on the defensive side. With Toronto’s lineup scoring twenty (20) runs in the three game series against Oakland and showing some life, this match-up with the American League’s best performing staff is intriguing.

The Blue Jays and White Sox season series from 2015 went in the favour of Chicago (4-3), with Toronto winning 2 of 3 at home, and Chicago winning 3 of 4 in their park. Over the past three (3) seasons (2013-2015) Chicago owns the head-to-head record (13-8) with winning records on the road at Rogers Centre, and at home at U.S. Cellular Field.

For a bit of historical fun the Toronto Blue Jays own the all-time head-to-head record with the Chicago White Sox (199-182) enjoying a lopsided (109-84) record in Toronto, and a respectable (90-98) in Chicago. What does this mean? Not a thing. It’s just a bit of fun information you can share with your fellow fans to make you feel wise.

Game 1

First Pitch – 7:07 EST

M. Stroman RHP (2016: 3-0, 4.13 ERA) vs. M. Gonzalez RHP (2016: 0-0, 0.00 ERA) 

Toronto’s demonstrative staff leader Marcus Stroman will take the mound to kick off the series. Stroman is coming off two consecutive quality start wins against the Yankees and Orioles, and will be looking to keep the ball rolling.

Over his career he is (0-1, 8.59 ERA, 1.227 WHIP, 8.6 K/9) over 2 starts while facing the White Sox, but it should be mentioned both starts came in 2014 when Stroman was fresh to the league. At it stands, Chicago has four players remaining on their roster that have faced him.

The New York native has been very successful at home in Toronto posting a career record of (10-2, 2.63 ERA, 0.965 WHIP, 7.0 K/9) with an extremely impressive 0.32 HR/9 over 113 innings.

Stroman WhiteSox

 

Chicago have decided to call up newly acquired Miguel Gonzalez to face Toronto in the opening game of the series. Gonzalez spent the last four season with the Baltimore Orioles so he is a familiar, but not so friendly face to the Blue Jays lineup.

The Guadalajara, Mexico native has been notoriously tough on the Blue Jays over his career (7-3, 2.61 ERA, 1.013 WHIP, 6.4 K/9) while he was with the Orioles, with (1-1, 2.38 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, 6.4 K/9) coming in 2015.

In Toronto, Gonzalez has been equally tough posting a (3-2, 2.82 ERA, 1.052 WHIP, 7.3 K/9) over eight appearances, including seven starts.

Gonzalez Jays

 

Player(s) to Watch:

Blue Jays: While Edwin Encarnacion is batting a career .120/.241/.480 against Gonzalez, all three of his hits have gone out of the park. With the Jays cleanup hitter struggling of late, this could be the boost he needs to get him going.

White Sox: One time Blue Jay Melky Cabrera has been hot over the last week posting a .400/.500/.850 slash line while carrying a .333/.405/.485 for the 2016 season. If he is getting on base in front of the heart of the lineup, he can pose a big problem for the Jays staff.

Outlook: Considering the success of both starting pitchers this game looks to be a low scoring affair.

 

Game 2

First Pitch – 7:07 EST

R. Dickey RHP (2016: 1-2, 6.10 ERA) vs. C. Sale RHP (2016: 4-0, 1.80 ERA) 

Toronto’s R.A. Dickey takes the mound for game two of this series. Dickey is coming off his first quality start of the season against Baltimore and will be looking to build on that Tuesday night.

Over his career Dickey has not had much success against the White Sox, posting a (2-5, 7.40 ERA, 1.582 WHIP, 6.8 K/9) career record. As a Blue Jay his record against Chicago (1-3, 5.89 ERA, 1.241 WHIP, 8.4 K/9) hasn’t been stellar.

Dickey WhiteSox

 

The White Sox will counter with perennial Cy Young award candidate Chris Sale to face the Blue Jays lineup. Sale is off to another hot start this season and has been just as tough on the Blue Jays over his career.

Over four appearances, including three starts the Lakeland, Florida native has posted a (2-2, 2.57 ERA, 1.036 WHIP, 7.7 K/9) record with a record of (2-1, 2.34 ERA, 0.938 WHIP< 6.5 K/9) in those three starts.

At Rogers Centre, Sale has pitched Toronto equally tough with a record of (1-1, 2.57 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 7.7 K/9) in two starts. It should be noted that he has not faced this current Jays lineup as all his appearances have come in 2014 or earlier.

Sale Jays

Player(s) to Watch:

Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson has had some success when facing Sale. Over eleven at-bats he has posted a slash line of .273/.308/.818 including two home runs and six runs batted in.

White Sox: Chicago’s power hitting first baseman Jose Abreu has owned Dickey over his career. While only facing him in nine at-bats, Abreu has launched three home runs and five runs batted in.

Outlook: At the outset this game looks like it will be a lopsided affair when considering the starting pitching match-up. If the Blue Jays want to give themselves a chance they will have to continue their habit of driving up pitch counts early in the game.

 

Game 3

First Pitch – 7:07 EST

M. Estrada RHP (2016: 1-1, 2.50 ERA) vs. J. Quintana RHP (2016: 2-1, 1.82 ERA) 

Marco Estrada will take the mound in the third game of the series on Wednesday looking to continue his run of quality starts. Estrada has only faced the White Sox lineup one time (0-0, 3.86, 1.143 WHIP, 2.6 K/9) with that start coming last season.

Over his career he has posted a (7-5, 2.75 ERA, 1.007 WHIP, 6.0 K/9) record at Rogers Centre.

Estrada WhiteSox

 

Chicago will counter with their staff workhorse Jose Quintana who has been very successful when facing Toronto, and is off to a great start to the 2016 season.

Over his career against the Blue Jays, Quintana has posted an excellent (4-2, 1.88 ERA, 1.021 WHIP, 7.1 K/9) record, including one start in 2015 where he suffered a loss in a 8 IP, 4H, 2ER, 8K performance.

At Rogers Centre the native Colombian has a career record of (3-0, 0.89 ERA, 1.082 WHIP, 8.0 K/9) over three starts.

Quintana Jays

Player(s) to Watch:

Blue Jays: Based on a hunch I would look for Troy Tulowitzki to have a big game against Quintana. While he has only faced him three times, recording a double, this seems like a match-up that should come out in Tulowitzki’s favour.

White Sox: Newly acquired third-baseman Todd Frazier has had come success against Estrada. While he has only produced a slash line of .214/.214/.643 he has touched Toronto’s scheduled starter for two home runs in fourteen at-bats.

Outlook: This game has all the markings of a game that could be decided late. Quintana and Estrada, while both have pitched well in 2016, they have averaged six innings per start. The bullpens will be key, and the deciding factor will be which one blinks first.

 

 

*All Pitcher vs Batter Stats are provided by ESPN (click on image to see original)

 

 

**Featured Image Credit: Johnny Peacock- UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

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W Black

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.