clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Toronto Blue Jays series preview: Avoid getting Smoaked

New, 10 comments

At least there won’t be any postponements. (edit: oops!)

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Behave Justin
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Despite a lineup considerably lacking the gravitas that their 2015 squad that advanced to the ALCS against the Royals possessed, the Toronto Blue Jays have jumped out to a 9-5 start positioning them three games out from the Boston Red Sox and two games up on the New York Yankees in the American League East standings. One of these teams would appear to no be like the others, but the Jays have held their own thus far without the wattage that the other two clubs have.

Toronto playing in the Rogers Centre means that the Royals needn’t worry about weather-related delays or rescheduling, a rarity thus far this season. (edit: spoke too soon)

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Monday, April 16, 2018 - 6:07 PM CDT - Eric Skoglund (L) versus Jaime García (L)
  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 6:07 PM CDT - Danny Duffy (L) versus J.A. Happ (L)
  • Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 3:07 PM CDT - Ian Kennedy versus Aaron Sanchez

Royals at Blue Jays pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Eric Skoglund (L) 1 4.2 1 4.0 2 8.0 9.64 8.62 9.25 6.61 -0.1 -0.2
Jaime García (L) 2 11.1 12 26.7 4 8.9 3.18 4.56 3.73 3.49 0.0 0.2
Danny Duffy (L) 3 15.0 15 22.1 8 11.8 5.40 5.26 4.97 4.63 0.0 -0.1
J.A. Happ (L) 3 16.0 23 32.9 5 7.1 3.94 4.74 2.63 2.60 0.0 0.1
Ian Kennedy 3 18.0 16 22.2 4 5.6 1.00 2.67 3.54 3.71 0.5 1.1
Aaron Sanchez 3 19.2 13 15.9 11 13.4 3.66 4.53 5.25 5.17 0.1 0.3

The three Jays starters the Royals are set to face have had a mixed bag in the early goings of the season. Jaime García has been a bit lucky thus far on the batted-ball front. Given the quality of contact he’s allowed, Garcia’s ERA appears to be markedly lower than his performance warrants. Looking at the peripherals, J.A. Happ appears to have been considerably more dominant than his ERA suggests. His 25.7 K-BB% is the 12th-best mark in baseball. His SIERA is 14th-best, just behind Justin Verlander. Ground-ball machine Aaron Sanchez has not done his best on the strikeout and walk fronts. While it seems like he might have put last year’s blister issues behind him, he hasn’t fully righted the ship. Sanchez has dramatically increased how much he’s throwing his changeup (h/t to Jeff Sullivan), so perhaps he can limit some of the damage done with this change.

Toronto Blue Jays position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Yangervis Solarte (S) 3B 52 2 7 4 0 .286 .423 .500 .402 160 0.4 0.4
Justin Smoak (S) 1B 63 2 11 10 0 .288 .397 .500 .391 153 0.4 0.6
Luke Maile C 17 0 3 4 1 .400 .471 .600 .463 203 0.3 0.4
Curtis Granderson (L) LF 42 1 6 4 0 .324 .405 .514 .401 160 0.3 0.3
Kevin Pillar CF 54 1 9 5 3 .308 .333 .462 .347 122 0.2 0.5
Aledmys Díaz SS 39 4 7 8 1 .237 .256 .605 .367 136 0.2 0.3
Steve Pearce DH 33 3 9 7 0 .233 .303 .600 .385 148 0.2 0.5
Teoscar Hernández OF 5 0 0 2 1 .400 .400 .800 .509 235 0.1 0.1
Russell Martin C 37 2 3 6 0 .152 .243 .333 .261 63 -0.1 0.4
Gift Ngoepe IF 14 0 1 0 0 .077 .143 .077 .113 -40 -0.3 -0.3
Randal Grichuk RF 47 1 1 2 1 .071 .149 .167 .150 -15 -0.5 -0.4
Devon Travis 2B 41 0 3 1 0 .079 .146 .105 .127 -31 -0.5 -0.5

With Josh Donaldson and Kendrys Morales heading to the DL last week (shoulder and hamstring, respectively), the Jays are down two men, one a crucial contributor to their offense. Much of what has helped Toronto to their hot start has been their balanced attack. Even without Donaldson, they have eight players in their lineup with wRC+ over 100 this season (100 representing league average). Their 104 team wRC+—dragged down considerably by the dismal production of Randal Grichuk and Devon Travis—is tied for 10th in baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. Justin Smoak and Yangervis Solarte look to have been doing the most heavy lifting for the offense.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Toronto?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Royals sweep
    (8 votes)
  • 16%
    Royals take two of three
    (26 votes)
  • 39%
    Blue Jays take two of three
    (63 votes)
  • 38%
    Blue Jays sweep
    (62 votes)
159 votes total Vote Now