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Game #88 Preview: Blue Jays @ White Sox

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays try to salvage a series split with the White Sox this afternoon with first pitch going at 2:10 pm. If they fail to do so, the team will return to the all-too-familiar mark of .500....completely average. The pitching matchup doesn't provide much hope as Jeff Samardzija (oh no) faces off against R.A. Dickey (hmmm), which shouldn't provide Blue Jays fans with much confidence. The greatest part about this matchup is that the Sportsnet promos are describing the game as some sort of "pitchers' duel" despite being anything but.

The Blue Jays scouts won't have to go very far to see the hurler they're targeting in a trade, as he'll be showing his stuff against their own organization. The 30-year-old righty is in his last year of team control before he lands his big free agent contract that every strong starter inevitably receives these days. With the White Sox dropping out of contention, that means they should cash in big before the deadline in an attempt to bolster their squad for the coming seasons.

Speaking of potential trades, Ken Rosenthal reports that many scouts watched Daniel Norris and Jeff Hoffman start in Buffalo and Dunedin respectively last night. Teams like the Padres may line up with the Jays in terms of a trade partner and would require big prospect hauls in return for their major league players (please no). Rosenthal also notes that the team's payroll flexibility is not as tight as last season "but (they) still will require cash back in deals, sources say".

In 17 starts this year, Samardzija has an ERA of 4.33 and a FIP nearly a point lower at 3.50, partly due to a BABIP of .323. His strikeout rate has declined a bit this season pitching in the AL Central, although he's still on course for a solid year if he can remain healthy. He throws a fair amount of pitches regularly, including a fastball, sinker, slider, cutter, and splitter. Give or take a few percentage points, each pitch is thrown nearly a fifth of the time. This season he's thrown mainly his fastball, cutter and splitter to left-handed hitters, while righties have seen mostly the sinker and slider.

Samardzija's cutter has been his best pitch this season in terms of pitch value, which has resulted in him throwing it the most out of all his weapons. For all the stuff he throws, the Notre Dame alum sees most of his pitches cluster in the same place in terms of movement:

Samardzija

Hopeful Lineup

In a day game after a night game, I'd switch the lineup a bit and give the shaky Jose Reyes the day off.

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

Bullpen Usage

John Gibbons has ridden Bo Schultz and Aaron Loup pretty hard in the past few days, but it looks like no reinforcements are coming from Buffalo. This means that everyone's favourite reliever (or just mine?) Ryan Tepera and possibly Liam Hendriks will have to bail out R.A. Dickey this afternoon if things go bad.

Pitcher

Usage
Brett Cecil

One Day Ago: 1.0 IP, 14 pitches
Five Days Ago: 0.2 IP, 3 pitches

Bo Schultz

One Day Ago: 1.0 IP, 10 pitches
Two Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 10 pitches
Four Days Ago: 2.0 IP, 24 pitches

Steve Delabar

One Day Ago: 2.0 IP, 30 pitches
Five Days Ago: 0.1 IP, 36 pitches

Liam Hendriks

One Day Ago: 0.2 IP, 21 pitches

Aaron Loup

One Day Ago: 0.1 IP, 4 pitches
Two Days Ago: 0.1 IP, 5 pitches
Four Days Ago: 0.2 IP, 18 pitches

Roberto Osuna

One Day Ago: 0.0 IP, 2 pitches
Two Days Ago: 1.0 IP, 17 pitches
Four Days Ago: 1.1 IP, 21 pitches

Ryan Tepera

Five Days Ago: 1.1 IP, 17 pitches

Find The Link

Find the link between Jeff Samardzija and the only golfer to win a major this year.

Enjoy the game today! Hopefully R.A. Dickey can show some of his old form.