Blue Jays Series Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays are 30-26 on the year and are in 3rd place in the AL East.  They are 3-7 in their last 10, 19-9 at home, and 11-17 on the road.  The Jays .679 winning percentage at home trails only the Los Angeles Dodgers and their astounding .741 mark.

The Kansas City Royals are 23-30, in 4th place in the AL Central, and 5.5 games back of the division leading Detroit Tigers.  They are 2-8 in their last 10, 15-15 at home, and 8-15 on the road.

Team Rankings:

Blue Jays

Pitching

Royals

4.34

15th

ERA

4.27

12th

167

3rd

BB

183

t-11th

392

8th

SO

373

t-13th

1.32

t-2nd

WHIP

1.42

t-18th

259

21st

Runs Allowed

249

14th

Blue Jays

Hitting

Royals

.282

t-1st

BA

.248

t-26th

.348

t-8th

OBP

.317

26th

.438

6th

SLG

.397

23rd

56

t-13th

HR

43

t-23rd

29

t-19th

SB

27

25th

200

13th

BB

164

26th

338

11th

SO

357

15th

282

8th

Runs

213

27th

Blue Jays

Fielding

Royals

.989

t-3rd

FP

.983

t-18th

.7102

11th

DER

.6875

29th

24

t-6th

E

34

t-20th

The Pitching Matchups:
6/5 RHP-Zack Greinke (8-1, 1.10) vs. LHP-Ricky Romero (2-2, 4.15)
6/6 RHP-Luke Hochevar (0-2, 10.80) vs. RHP-Scott Richmond (4-2, 3.50)
6/7 RHP-Kyle Davies (2-5, 5.20) vs. RHP-Roy Halladay (9-1, 2.77)

Thoughts:
The Blue Jays series brings us a chance to watch two of the best pitchers in all of baseball.  I would love to watch Greinke duel Halladay head to head, but coming off the Rays series, I’d like to head into a game thinking the Royals are probably going to win.  The Greinke vs. Romero matchup allows us to hope that tonight is the night that the losing streak comes to an end.  Of course to win a game you have to score some runs.

As a team the Royals are statistically inferior to the Blue Jays in every category listed above table except for ERA and Runs Allowed.  To make matters worse the Royals are trending in the wrong direction in both of those categories.  Speaking of trending in the wrong direction, prior to the Cardinals series (5/22-5/24) the offense was in the middle of the pack of all ML teams.  Now they are in the bottom 6th of most of those same categories.  As of today, they rank 27th in runs scored with 213 and are closer to last (208) than they are to the White Sox and Astros who are tied for 25th in the league with 221.

In the 3 game series against the Rays they were outscored 18-4 and hit .149 with only 14 hits, 1 walk, and 26 strikeouts.  The offensive ineptitude is getting downright absurd.  Their leadoff hitters, Maier and Crisp, went 1-12 and Alberto Callaspo went 2-12 hitting second.  Billy Butler collected 3 of the Royals 6 hits in yesterday’s series finale, but was only 3-12 in the 3 games.  Butler is appropriately cast hitting 3rd in the lineup, but when the guys in front of him hit 3-24, it really doesn’t matter who is hitting 3rd.  Production at the top the lineup is vital for any team heading into any series against any opponent.  For the Royals heading into Toronto to face the Blue Jays, it is critical that the top two hitters get on base multiples times in each game.  I’d like David DeJesus to be hitting 1st and Coco Crisp hitting 2nd, but at this point I don’t care if it is Butler and Jacobs as long as they get the job done.  This team needs a good start at the plate and a big offensive inning in the worst way.

While the offense is walking less and striking out more, the pitching is doing the exact opposite.  Against the Rays the trio of Davies, Bannister, and Meche walked 14 batters and managed to collect only 11 strikeouts.  7 of those strikeouts were from the arm of Kyle Davies on Tuesday night.  There was a small ripple of people wanting to remove Davies from the rotation by Wednesday afternoon, but in hindsight he was the best Royals starter in the series.  Davies’ 1.59 WHIP was far better than Bannister’s 3.27 or Meche’s 1.83.  It doesn’t matter if you walk a bunch of guys if you don’t give up many hits.  I don’t know why fans are so ready to embrace Bannister as the real deal and are so ready to kick Kyle Davies out of the rotation, but the reality is that Kyle Davies is more valuable pitcher to the Royals present and future than Brian Bannister.  There is far more value in letting the 25 year old Davies stay in the rotation than there is in letting the 28 year old Bannister stick around.  If the Royals want to call Lenny DiNardo up at some point to take a turn in the rotation it should be at the expense of Bannister and not Davies.

Before the games are played, Greinke’s game 1 start against the Jays figures to be the only chance KC has to take a game and end the losing streak.  If Greinke gets it done, I can see the Royals winning either behind either Hochevar or Davies as well.  If the Jays get past Greinke to take game one, then the series figures to be another sweep and the losing streak will stand at 10 games.  If Greinke throws another complete game shutout tonight, the Royals should place a statue of him outside of Kauffman Stadium.

Tags: AL Central Baseball Greinke Kansas City Royals KC MLB Toronto Blue Jays

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