Good afternoon Jays fans in eastern North America (and good morning fans out west). After splitting the first two games of the series, there's a rubber match today between our beloved corvids and the Tribe. Not only is this the rubber game for the series, but, if the Jays pull out today's game, they'll also be back above .500 (not so for the Indians, of course, who are 45-42 right now).
Pitching for the Indians will be 39 year-old Derek Lowe (8-6, 4.43 ERA), who has finally started to show some signs of slowing down the past couple years and has hit a bit of a rough patch thus far in 2012 (3.0 K/9, down from 6.6 K/9 in 2011). Lowe's tendency to keep the ball on the ground (62% gb-rate), however, has enabled him to remain somewhat successful in spite of the underwhelming strikeout-rate.
Hurling for the Jays will be Carlos Villanueva (3-0, 3.05 ERA), making his third start of the season. Villanueva has been successful with his offspeed stuff so far but that could certainly change if the hits start to fall with runners in scoring position (83% strand-rate). Modeling strand-rate based on strikeout-rate (a study done by yours truly several months ago!) suggests that a pitcher striking out around 10 batters per nine (as Villanueva has thus far, though he is unlikely to continue to do, particularly since many of his appearances this season has come out of the pen) should strand around 75-76% of baserunners. Assuming that happens, the Villanueva will be in trouble unless he brings his walk-rate (4.5 BB/9) down a notch or two.
You know the rules: 1) no talking about or posting illegal streams; 2) no animated *.gif images until the game is over; and 3) no douchebaggery. Elsewise, keep it civil (possibly covered in rule 3 but there's no harm in reiterating) and Go Jays Go!