Most years a game like tonight's, which is occurring at the same time as the MLB draft would take a backseat to the annual event but with the team streaking along with the Jays lacking a high pick it's likely that a fair number of eyeballs will remain on the big league squad. The Blue Jays will welcome the Marlins to the Rogers Centre to open a series with the boys from South Florida for the first time since the infamous trade a few years ago. The Marlins are pretty bad again this year... When Dee Gordon is the best player on your team by a fair distance then you're always going to be in trouble. To be fair though, the shortstop that came to Florida in a trade with the Dodgers this offseason has an OBP of .397 and has stolen 20 out of 28 bases. Giancarlo Stanton has been his usual self mind you, hitting home runs out of stadiums around the country although he's struck out A LOT (32.7%).
The pitching is where the team has been let down the most, with most of the Marlins big-time starters (including Henderson Alvarez) on the 15-day DL. That's left a mishmash of guys like Dan Haren and David Phelps to shoulder the load and they've been okay, although hardly front of the rotation material.
Today the Blue Jays face one of the starter replacements in Brad Hand, who has pitched out of the bullpen for the majority of the season but was thrust into the rotation after the slew of injuries that hit the team. The 25-year-old lefty, who will take on Marco Estrada, was prone to some bad outings as a reliever, but in his two starts he's been pretty solid allowing just two earned runs over 11.0 innings. He hasn't yielded a single home run this year so his FIP is looking quite nice as he doesn't walk many either.
The lefty features a fastball and curveball against lefties, while righties mainly see a sinker and changeup with the hard stuff coming in around 93 mph. As he doesn't blow anyone away he's never been given much of a chance at the major league level but if you look at the career he's put together, he's certainly not a useless pitcher. Hand's curveball is probably his best swing and miss pitch although everything is used to set up his sinker to try and induce ground balls.
Assuming Edwin Encarnacion is out, getting Danny Valencia into the game would be a good idea.
- Jose Reyes SS
- Josh Donaldson 3B
- Jose Bautista RF
- Chris Colabello 1B
- Russell Martin C
- Danny Valencia LF
- Dioner Navarro DH
- Kevin Pillar CF
- Ryan Goins 2B
Find the Link
Find the link between Brad Hand and the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions Winner of 2004.
As a note, I've attended four Blue Jays games this year and their record in them has been 4-0. It's likely I attend tonight's game as well, so get your bookie on the line. Enjoy!