Preview: Blue Jays Aim for Yankee Sweep

A blowout one night, a walkoff the next. What will tonight’s game have in store as the Blue Jays look to sweep away the New York Yankees?

It’s another gloomy looking evening in the fine city of Toronto, so expect to be indoors again at the Dome, which is just fine since they’re 2-0 on this homestand under the roof.

Stock_Hutchison03Tonight, it’ll be Dr. Drew Hutchison (5-5, 3.86, 1.25 WHIP) taking the hill for the Jays, and we have a chance to see if the road-good, home-bad trend continues. He’s like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. There’s no place like home. In this case it’s a bad thing. (Side note: playing the role of Toto will be Dioner Navarro).

Another look at the basic splits:

Home – 1-3, 8.72 ERA – 21.2 IP, 21 ER, 28 H, 13 BB, 21 K, 1.89 WHIP, 5.39 BB/9, 8.72 K/9, .311 OPP AVG, 7 HR

Road – 4-2, 2.23 ERA – 64.2 IP, 16 ER, 53 H, 14 BB, 52 K, 1.04 WHIP, 1.94 BB/9, 7.23 K/9, .226 OPP AVG, 3 HR

Okay. What does this all mean?

Basically, too many walks at home, to start. It’s a mystery why he struggles with his command in the Dome. To compound matters, once those walks get on, he’s allowing more hits as well, as evidenced by the significant jump in oppenent’s average. That all leads to his WHIP being almost a full base runner more per inning at home. Then to throw fuel in the fire, he’s given up more than twice as many dingers, in a third of the innings.

It truly is bizarre (at least the walks and hits part – the dingers not so much). But if he wants to establish himself as a front-of-the-rotation starter like many think he can be, he’s got to be able to perform at home. It’s too much of an inconvenience to try and re-jig the rotation to maximize his potential on the road.

He started at home against the Yankees earlier this year, it was his first of three appearances in Toronto. The line: 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 3 BB. Last week in New York he was a little better, but still couldn’t make it out of the fifth. Hopefully he’s figured his shit out and can bring an end to both his struggles at home, and against the Yankees.

An interesting development today is the recall of OF Brad Glenn, at the expense of Kevin Pillar who was sent back to AAA. At first, manager John Gibbons stated the move was made to add more “thump” from the right side, and with Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie out, it makes sense – more on Glenn’s numbers shortly.

But then it leaked out (on Twitter, where else?) that Pillar was apparently very upset with being pinch-hit for with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 8th last night. Some tweets I’ve read suggested he threw his bat down the tunnel in frustration. So, when pressed, Gibbons offered this:

Very intriguing.

Firstly, Gibbons rarely discusses in-house issues with the media, so this must have really ticked him off.

Secondly, I’m in two minds about this. On one hand, Pillar should be upset about not getting a chance to hit in a key spot. All of these guys are competitive big leaguers, and losing the chance to make your mark on a game really has to suck. However, sulking and throwing a tantrum isn’t the best way to go about it, especially as a young player. We’ve already seen Gibbons doesn’t have a mind for that after Lawrie’s outburst last season.

So Gibbons is sending a message to his team – if you aren’t going to buy into our concept, you aren’t going to be here. That’s the kind of iron fist you have to rule with when you’re managing a first place club. That’s just the way it is.

Okay, so now to Glenn. Firstly, I’m skeptical becuase you should never trust a guy with two first names. Just kidding. Let’s dive into the numbers.

2014 in AA New Hampshire – 36 GP: .235/.335/.417 with 5 HR, 14 RBI and a 19/44 BB/K ratio. Not spectacular.

2014 in AAA Buffalo – 30 GP: .381/.421/.575 with 4 HR, 22 RBI and a 7/25 BB/K ratio. That’s much better.

It’s a prettty even split in playing time, and the numbers swing more positively in the shorter amount of time in Buffalo, most notably the cutdown in strikeouts. He also raked pretty well in Spring Training, but those numbers can be finicky given the split in major and minor league games.

He apparently can play some first base, which helps with Adam Lind still banged up and Edwin Encarnacion a bit as well after last night’s elbow to the head. And according to FOX’s Ken Rosenthal, the Jays are slated to face lefties eight times in the next 12 games starting tomorrow night. That will mean lots of Lind on the bench, and Glenn likely DHing, or playing RF with Bautista DHing to ease back into action. Glenn has a .325/.451/.627 slash line against southpaws this season. If he can come anywhere close to that, he’ll be a welcome addition to the bench.

The 27-year old will likely make his MLB debut tomorrow night against Chicago. Here’s the starting lineup tonight against Hiroki Kuroda:

Blue Jays 06/25 (44-35)
SS 7 Jose Reyes .313 5 20
LF 53 Melky Cabrera .344 11 39
1B 26 Adam Lind .422 4 23
DH 10 Edwin Encarnacion .361 24 63
C 30 Dioner Navarro .317 4 33
3B 47 Juan Francisco .315 12 30
CF 28 Colby Rasmus .283 10 25
2B 66 Munenori Kawasaki .286 0 1
RF 8 Anthony Gose .358 0 4
P 36 Drew Hutchison 1.25 5 – 5 73/27

Kuroda is not the pitcher we’re used to seeing, with his 4-5 record and 4.23 ERA, but he’s always pitched well against Toronto in a Yankee uniform. Oddly enough, he will only get to face one right-handed hitter tonight, Encarnacion. Gibbons is employing this customary three switch hitters, and five lefties, including the final four spots in the order.

The splits aren’t that drastic: .268 vs LHH, .250 vs RHH.

Here’s to a good game, and a sweep! The Jays are looking to move to 10 games above .500 for the first time since … last Tuesday. Isn’t that fun to say?! Enjoy the game.

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