The Blue Jays welcome the Mariners to the Dome this weekend as they face off against their third straight AL West opponent (in order of their division standings interestingly enough). The first pitching matchup isn't exactly the most fair thing you'll ever see in the world as Felix Hernandez goes up against Marco Estrada, who surprisingly didn't lose his rotation spot when Todd Redmond was called up for a spot start on Monday.
The Mariners sit at 18-22, within striking distance of the Angels and Astros who both have enough weaknesses that the division will likely be a three-horse when it's all said and done. The team's rotation has been strong, with Hernandez and three lefties in J.A. Happ, James Paxton, and Roenis Elias picking up Taijuan Walker's slack (7.47 ERA). The bats on the other hand have been largely quiet with only Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller pulling their weight, with Robinson Cano being one of the largest disappointments.
Hernandez, who is now 29-years-old, has been great for essentially a decade now and has continued his fine form this season sporting a 2.30 ERA and a 3.36 FIP. His K-rate is above 25% for the third year in a row thanks to pinpoint command and dynamite stuff that has made hitters league-wide look silly. As most people know, Hernandez throws mainly a sinker, curveball, and changeup with velocity in the low 90's. Each season his pitch speed slowly ramps up as the season wears on and it appears this year is no different.
The righty's off-speed stuff has been particularly nasty this year, especially his curveball, with some of the highest whiffs/swing rates in his career. He throws the changeup more against right-handed hitters, which is a tad unusual, as it is the curveball that sees most of its action against opposite-handed hitters. Normally a pitcher with a curveball and a changeup would struggle against righties as both those pitches have reverse-platoon splits, but Hernandez certainly makes it work.
Some good news for the Blue Jays though, as Hernandez has made 13 previous starts against the team and only managed a 4.80 ERA.
The lineup has already been posted with Danny Valencia once again appearing against a right-handed hitter. Maybe not the best rest day for Josh Donaldson eh? Especially with lefty James Paxton starting tomorrow.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Tonight's lineup vs SEA (7:07pm start), presented by <a href="https://twitter.com/MajesticOnField">@MajesticOnField</a> <a href="http://t.co/zIFvE3PogN">pic.twitter.com/zIFvE3PogN</a></p>— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueJays/status/601812397184012289">May 22, 2015</a></blockquote>
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R.A. Dickey did the bullpen some favours last night by going all nine innings.
Find The Link
Find the link between Felix Hernandez and the Australian cartoonist born in February 1887.
The Blue Jays were able to complete what looked like an impossible task last night, so let's see if they can do it again this evening.