Jays From the Couch gets you set for a series that sees the Toronto Blue Jays visit the Los Angeles Dodgers
The Blue Jays kick off their final west coast swing of 2019 with three against the Dodgers in La La Land.
The Jays are in fourth place in the AL East division, 31.5 games behind the first place Yankees and 22 games out of the second wild card spot. With a 2-1 series loss against the Seattle Mariners, Toronto had a streak of five series without a series loss snapped. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
The Dodgers are in first place in the NL West division, 18 games ahead of the second place Giants. The Dodgers are 6-4 in their last 10 games. They currently own a home record of 48-16; the Jays could have their hands full in this series.
The Jays dodged a bullet on the weekend when Vladimir Guerrero jr had to leave Saturday’s game with left knee discomfort. An MRI revealed some inflammation however it isn’t believed to be serious. He is currently day to day.
Former Blue Jay Russell Martin has appeared in 66 games for the Dodgers. His .643 OPS is the lowest of his 14 year MLB career. Having played in 1,676 MLB games, 1,568 at the very demanding catcher position has no doubt taken its toll on the 36 year old former all star backstop.
The Blue Jays last faced their next opponent as part of Interleague play back in 2016 when both teams were very different than they are today. It wouldn’t really be meaningful to consider starting pitchers’ last outing vs opponent, if even applicable.
Tuesday August 20, 10:10 pm EST
RHP Reid-Foley (TOR) vs LHP Kershaw (LAD)
Sean Reid-Foley: Record: 2-3. 3.00 era. 4.88 FIP. 1.567 WHIP. 5.7 BB/9. 7.8 K/9.
Reid-Foley continues to pitch in the Jays rotation, partly out of necessity due to injuries and trades of other starting pitching options, and partly as an ongoing audition for Toronto’s future. Looking at the above numbers, it’s easy to see that one of Reid-Foley’s biggest challenges is consistently commanding the strike zone. You just can’t issue close to 6 free passes per 9 innings in MLB and expect to have success.
Reid-Foley’s last start was on August 14th vs the Texas Rangers. He only lasted 3.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits, while walking 3 and also striking out 3. He will hope to bounce back against the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw: Record 12-2. 2.63 era. 3.22 FIP. 1.000 WHIP. 1.8 BB/9. 9.3 K/9.
What can you say about Kershaw that hasn’t already been said? The veteran southpaw is widely regarded as one of the best pitchers in the game. He is having another outstanding season for LA. His winning percentage of .857 leads the National League. He was very deserving of his 8th all star selection in 2019.
Kershaw’s last start was on August 14th vs the Miami Marlins. He pitched 7 innings and didn’t give up a run on just two hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He certainly presents a challenge for the Jays’ young offence.
Wednesday August 21, 10:10 pm EST
TBD (RHP Waguespack?) (TOR) vs RHP Buehler (LAD)
Since the starting pitcher for the Jays for Wednesday and Thursday are both listed as TBD, I’m using educated guesses based on where they are in the rotation.
Jacob Waguespack: Record 4-1. 4.20 era. 4.53 FIP. 1.311 WHIP. 2.8 BB/9. 7.0 K/9.
Rookie Waguespack continues to make the most of his opportunity in MLB and in doing so, is putting his name in the conversation for the Blue Jays future. He helps himself by limiting walks so that when he does give up hits, the damage usually isn’t excessive.
Waguespack’s last start was on August 16 vs the Seattle Mariners. He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with one walk and five strikeouts in Toronto’s only win in that series. In addition to a dominant starting rotation, the Dodgers offence is first in the NL in runs scored. This series will be a good challenge for the young Jays rotation.
Walker Buehler: Record 10-3. 3.31 era. 3.00 FIP. 1.033 WHIP. 1.7 BB/9. 10.6 K/9.
24 year old Buehler is in his third season in MLB with the Dodgers. Buehler would easily be the ace of many staffs but on the starting pitching rich Dodgers, he has been their third best rotation arm behind teammates Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw. In any every, Buehler was very deserving of his first all star selection in 2019.
Buehler struggled in his last start, on August 15 vs the Miami Marlins. He only lasted 4 innings, giving up 5 runs on 5 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 6. He will look for a bounce back outing vs the Jays, while Toronto hopes they are catching him at the right time.
Thursday August 22, 10:10 pm EST
TBD (RHP Thornton?) (TOR) vs RHP Maeda (LAD)
Trent Thornton: Record 4-8. 5.30 era. 4.84 FIP. 1.483 WHIP. 3.8 BB/9. 8.4 K/9.
Thornton’s 2019 season to date has been a case of “feast or famine”. He has allowed 2 or fewer runs 11 times; however he has allowed 4 or more runs 10 times. Which Trent Thornton shows up will go a long way toward determining Thursday’s outcome.
Thornton’s last start was on August 17 vs the Seattle Mariners. He pitched 6 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. Thornton’s first MLB win game in an NL park on May 14th vs the Giants, where he also had two hits in three at bats. But the Giants back then were struggling to score runs. The Dodgers will be a whole other matter.
Kenta Maeda: Record 8-8. 4.18 era. 4.01 FIP. 1.118 WHIP. 3.0 BB/9. 9.7 K/9.
31 year old Maeda has been so so in his fourth season with the Dodgers, not great but not terrible either. Still, most teams would love to have him as their number four starter behind Ryu, Kershaw and Buehler.
Maeda has had an up and down month of August so far. His one good start came on August 10 vs the Arizona Diamondbacks when he pitched 7 innings and didn’t allow a run. His other two starts in August were a different story. August 4 vs the San Diego Padres he lasted 2.2 innings, giving up 5 runs. In his most recent start on August 16 vs the Atlanta Braves he pitched 4.2, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks, although he managed to strike out 9. The Jays will hope his overall struggles in August continue against them.
On a personal note, I am travelling to LA from Toronto to take in this series. A bucket list item for me is to see the Blue Jays play at all 30 MLB parks. Dodger Stadium will be number 11.
Prediction: I’d love to see the Jays win at least one of these games, they will need to be firing on all cylinders to do so. I think the Dodgers rotation and offence will prove to be too much for the young, rebuilding Jays who could be looking at getting swept. Hope they prove me wrong.
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