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Blue Jays Week in Preview: Yanks & Guardians

A Look Ahead At The Toronto Blue Jays Week On The Field And Off. This Week, the Yankees at Home For 3 and a Road Trip to Cleveland For Four


Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase


 


 

 

NEW YORK YANKEES AT TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Monday May 2 7:07 ET  SNET-1         Jordan Montgomery vs. Ross Stripling 

Tuesday May 3 7:07 ET  SNET-1*       Jameson Taillon vs. Alek Manoah

Wednesday May 4 7:07 ET SNET-1   Nestor Cortes vs Yusei Kikuchi

* Tuesday game available to out-of-market viewers on MLB Network

 

In spite of all the protestations and angst expressed by media and fans during Spring Training, all Yankees players currently on the active roster will be eligible to make the trip across the border for the 3-game series at Rogers Centre.

 

Ross Stripling has proven to be an effective placeholder for the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu, pitching well enough to keep his team in the games he starts. Same can be said for his mound opponent Jordan Montgomery (0-1 2.70). The difference may come down to matchups. DJ LeMahieu has seen Stripling the most, with a majority of his at-bats coming during his days in Colorado and Stripling’s with the Dodgers. Only Giancarlo Stanton has homered against the Toronto righthander. Bo Bichette has to be happy to have Montgomery on the mound, given he has gone 8 for 16 with 2 dingers and 7 RBI versus him. Santiago Espinal (4 for 6) has also had success with  Montgomery.

 

You couldn’t blame Yankee hitters for asking out of the lineup on Tuesday night. Alek Manoah (4-0 1.44 25K) has made pinstriped hitters seem sick during his young career. Manoah tossed six shutout innings against New York on April 11th, striking out 7 and allowing only 1 hit. He did issue 4 walks, but Manoah remained in control throughout. Joey Gallo has stroked 4 hits off the righty and Marwin Gonzalez may be inserted into the Tuesday lineup given his .600 average in his 5 at bats versus Manoah. Jameson Taillon (1-1 3.26) has swing and miss stuff when healthy. Matt Chapman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer have taken Taillon deep in their careers.

 

Early season sensation Hector Cortes (1-0 1.31) might be able to use his deceptive deliveries to keep the Blue Jays aggressive approaches at the plate in check. Cortes hurled 4 and a third scoreless in his earlier start versus Toronto, scattering 3 hits and striking out 5. Blue Jays fans will cross their fingers when the young Cuban drops down to deliver his changeup-hitters have only hit .032 when Cortes does so.

 

The Blue Jays have yet to lose a series this season (6-0-1), with the 4 game split against New York being the lone blemish. Most eyes will be focusing on the power and explosiveness of both lineups. It may well come down to a battle of the bullpens.

 

TORONTO BLUE JAYS AT CLEVELAND GUARDIANS

Thursday May 5 6:10 ET- SNet-1           Jose Berrios vs Shane Bieber

Friday May 6 7:10 ET- SNet-1                Kevin Gausman vs Triston McKenzie

Saturday May 7 6:10 ET- SNet-1          Ross Stripling vs Zach Plesac

Sunday May 8 1:40 ET- SNet-1             Alek Manoah vs Cal Quantrill

 

With a nod to Eminem, allow us to ask, “Will the Real Cleveland Guardians please stand up?” After a strong start to the 2022 season, the Guardians have struggled throughout most of a 10-game road trip. They were swept by the Yankees and the Angels, being significantly outscored and outpitched in both series. Blue Jays fans should keep an eye on how Cleveland fares during their home series against the Padres. The Guardians are 0-10 against contenders like the Yankees, Angels and Giants.

 

Over the past decade, Cleveland pitching staffs have been the difference makers. In April, the rotation has been largely ineffective and placed a strain on an injury-riddled bullpen. Overall the Guardian pitching staff ranks 13th in ERA and 12th in OAVG-just behind Toronto. But the Jays numbers have been inflated by a few poor performances and starters not named Kikuchi have gone deeper into games during the last homestand.

 

Last year the Blue Jays had Cleveland’s number, going 5-2 and inflicting damage to their vaunted starters. Any lineup that features Jose Ramirez can be dangerous, but even JRam has struggled during their month-ending road trip. Ramirez did lead the Guardians lineup over the past 10 games, but hit only .200 and received no protection from Franmil Reyes and other Cleveland regulars. Reyes was on a 0-25 skid before getting a day off on Sunday.

 

The series has the potential for 2 exciting pitching matchups on Thursday and Friday. Berrios has made believers of the Rogers Centre faithful after early hiccups and the Cleveland “beliebers” are hoping Shane Bieber can outduel him. No one seems to be able to hit Kevin Gausman’s splitter so far, so Guardians fans must hope youngster Triston McKenzie can find his 2020 form.

 

There is a distinct Toronto-Cleveland connection to be found. Game 3 starter Zach Plesac is the nephew of former Jays reliever Dan Plesac and finale starter Cal Quantrill is the son of Toronto mainstay Paul Quantrill. Former Jays reliever Anthony Castro is currently on the IL but trade return Bradley Zimmer has seen regular playing time with Toronto. Lest we forget that Team President Mark Shapiro left the Indians to take the helm of Toronto and GM Ross Atkins cut his teeth working for Shapiro in Cleveland.

 

Game Within a Series… be honest-you are all wondering which Blue Jays broadcaster will struggle most with the new Cleveland monicker “Guardians”. With Buck Martinez away from the team while undergoing cancer treatments, the presumptive favorite will not get the opportunity. Sportsnet analyst Pat Tabler played several seasons in Cleveland, so it would be a logical assumption that he will struggle the most with the name change. The bigger question may be this….will Tabler’s endless joking about his inability to properly use the term Guardians be more annoying or will Ben Wagner stumble through extended apologies for using the term Indians instead of the more PC Guardians?

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Fek

Jersey born, Pittsburgh resident, baseball lifer. Staff Writer jaysfromthecouch.com. Host THE ON FEK CIRCLE on JFtC YouTube Channel. Regular guest on Jays From the couch Radio Podcast. Established WPPJ Rock-a-thon benefit, which has been broadcast annually since 1981 and has raised for than $500,000 for the Early Learning Institute of Pittsburgh. IBWAA member.