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Game #56 Preview: Astros @ Blue Jays

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros visit the Rogers Centre this weekend after the Blue Jays were rudely swept by the AL West squad in a four-game set a few weeks ago at Minute Maid Park. The boys from Houston are still among the league's elite, although they've been scuffling a bit lately losing two of their last three series'. The offence is being led by our old friend Colby Rasmus, along with Chris Carter, Jose Altuve, Evan Gattis, and George Springer. On the pitching side, starters Dallas Keuchel and young stud Lance McCullers have pitched strongly while the bullpen has been dynamite as well.

Luckily for the Jays they miss both of the strong starters mentioned above in this series, which gives them a fair chance of winning at least two of three from the AL West leading squad. Tonight's pitchers are Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Hernandez who are both having up and down seasons although they are certainly trending in different directions. While Sanchez is beginning to reign in his control problems recently, Hernandez has seen his ERA jump from 3.99 to 4.92 in just his last two starts.

The man who used to be known as Fausto Carmona is only being paid $2.65 million this season after signing a minor league deal with the Astros this offseason so not much should be expected of him by Houston fans. He's up to his usual tricks of not striking out many, not walking many, and not winning all that many either. The righty pitcher throws exclusively a sinker and changeup against lefties, while righties see the sinker and a slider with the changeup also occasionally making an appearance.

The poor guy is losing velocity hand over fist, although he's never actually been that good so it hasn't affected him too negatively:

Carmona

Hernandez certainly pitches to contact as he's tied for 13th this year in Contact% (with our own Mark Buehrle being first) and with the way the Blue Jays have been swinging the bats recently, it could be quite the long game for Astros. Though this is one of those games that could be mighty frustrating to watch if all of the Jays hard-hit balls find Houston's gloves, since there won't be a lot of punchouts coming from the Dominican.

Hopeful Lineup

This lineup is pretty daunting for opposing pitchers and should beat up on Hernandez tonight.

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. Josh Donaldson 3B
  3. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  4. Jose Bautista RF
  5. Russell Martin C
  6. Chris Colabello LF
  7. Justin Smoak 1B
  8. Kevin Pillar CF
  9. Ryan Goins 2B

Bullpen Usage

Thanks to Papa Buehrle, the bullpen couldn't be more well-rested and Blue Jays fans should feel quite optimistic about the next few games.

Pitcher

Usage
Brett Cecil

Three Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 14 pitches

Bo Schultz

Three Days Ago: 2.0 IP, 23 pitches

Steve Delabar

-

Liam Hendriks

Three Days Ago: 2.0 IP, 27 pitches
Five Days Ago: 1.1 IP, 15 pitches

Aaron Loup

Five Days Ago: 0.1 IP, 3 pitches

Roberto Osuna

Five Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 32 pitches

Ryan Tepera

Five Days Ago: 0.0 IP, 5 pitches

Find the Link

Find the link between Roberto Hernandez's alias and the man who is tied with him for the stat mentioned in this preview that Mark Buehrle currently leads.

Time to feel some positivity on this Friday! The Blue Jays are looking good and face some beatable pitchers this weekend.