Preview: Blue Jays Turn to Morrow to Snap Skid

Brandon MorrowThe Toronto Blue Jays (11-12) send Brandon Morrow to the hill in hopes of snapping their first three-game losing streak of the season, when they take on the Boston Red Sox (11-13), (1:07 ET, Sportsnet).

Last night was one of the ugliest games I’ve had the misfortune of attending in person. So instead of re-hashing all those painful memories, let’s just do a quick Good Bad and Ugly.

The Good:

Juan Francisco hit his first home run as a Blue Jay. A majestic shot to the 4th deck in right field. It cut the lead to 7-1 in the 7th. That’s about it.

The Bad:

Mark Buehrle, after a tremendous first four starts, came crashing down to Earth. He surrendered four runs in the second inning, and wasn’t able to make it through six, which has become the hallmark of a Blue Jays starting pitcher these days. Buehrle gets a pass, however, because he’s been so spectacular thus far. I have absolutely zero concern about him moving forward.

The Ugly:

It could have been uglier. The Red Sox left 12 men on base. 12! That’s twice as many as the Blue Jays had hits! They went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position! This game easily could have been 15-1. I’m glad it wasn’t. So once again, for about the 4th time in the last nine days, the Jays have to just turn the page.

The Next:

Brandon Morrow will look to build off a solid start last weekend in Cleveland. He was in line for the win before Aaron Loup walked the bases load and then allowed David Murphy to clear them. Morrow has a good line, pitching into the 6th inning, allowing just two runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out six. The Indians worked him into some deep counts, which ran his pitch count up to 95 pretty early. That could be a problem again today. The Red Sox are a patient team, who will draw the walk (they took six last night). They’re fourth best in the league in that department this season.

Morrow will be opposed by Clay Buchholz, who has been a nemesis of the Blue Jays’ over the years. But, he’s struggled early on this year, going 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA. His opponent’s batting average is a scorching .375, and he’s amazingly walked only 3 batters (he’s the anti-Blue Jay!) Although, similar to a Toronto pitcher, he hasn’t gone passed the 6th inning yet, and his last start was only 2.1 innings long against Baltimore. So we all know he’s going to toss a gem this afternoon, right?

Here’s the lineup that will hope to avoid that:

Blue Jays 04/26 (11-12)
SS 7 Jose Reyes .207 1 4
LF 53 Melky Cabrera .370 5 8
DH 19 Jose Bautista .466 6 14
1B 47 Juan Francisco .435 1 2
C 30 Dioner Navarro .305 1 13
CF 28 Colby Rasmus .244 4 7
3B 13 Brett Lawrie .213 5 18
RF 14 Moises Sierra .130 0 1
2B 17 Ryan Goins .197 1 1
P 23 Brandon Morrow 5.03 1 1

Stock_Encarnacion04Don’t panic about the absence of Edwin Encarnacion. We know he’s struggling this year, and his numbers against Buchholz in his career are awful, at just 1-for-18. Gibbons called it a “perfect time” to give him a day off, and you know what, I’m not going to argue with that.

And elsewhere on the 1B/DH front, Adam Lind is scheduled to resume baseball activities on Monday, as he recovers from lower back tightness. Typically, these “activities” go for about 3-6 days, depending on the injury and the player. It’s then followed by a 3-4 game rehab assignment. So given that timeline, Lind is still about 10-14 days from returning. I’d put my money on some time in that four-game home and home with the Phillies in the first week of May, if all goes well.

On the bullpen front, Chad Jenkins was recalled after last night’s game and Neil Wagner was optioned back to AAA Buffalo. Jenkins has the ability to throw multiple innings, but he was also being used primarily as the closer in Buffalo. I don’t care how long he can pitch for, so long as he’s throwing strikes while he’s in there. There’s nothing more annoying than watching a pitcher issue a walk in the 9th inning of a game his team is trailing by seven runs. I’m looking at you, Todd Redmond.

Casey Janssen is still out with a muscle strain in his side, and John Gibbons said he is probably a couple of weeks away from returning to the team.

We should have a live tweet during the game today, and a post-game recap afterwards. And tomorrow, we’ll get around to our first podcast. Something to look forward to!


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