Series Preview: Blue Jays at Indians 7/9-11

Game 1: Tuesday, July 8th, 7:05 PM EDT
Josh Johnson, RHP, 1-3, 4.89 ERA vs Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, 6-4, 4.67 ERA

The Blue Jays rotation is full of underachieving starters that they over-paid for during the 2013 off-season. Johnson is one of those, a former NL Cy Young candidate that has just won a single game in 2013. Johnson has improved throughout the entire season after starting off with an ERA over 11.00 after his second game. He hasn't improved to anywhere near his 2009-2012 seasons, however, and still gave up 15 runs over his past three starts.

Ubaldo pitched will his last time out until the sixth inning, when he gave up a grand slam before recording an out. Before that he had pitched five innings of shut out baseball and the Indians would have won the game despite the grand slam if it weren't for a terrible performance by the bullpen. The Indians relief corps is becoming something to worry about, but they have little choice than to let their stars (Perez, Smith and Pestano) work out their problems with no decent replacements available. 

Game 2: Wednesday, July 9th, 7:05 PM EDT
Esmil Rogers, RHP, 3-4, 3.84 ERA vs Justin Masterson, RHP, 10-7, 3.78 ERA

What? They guy who couldn't pitch a single inning with out walking two batters is now starting games for the Blue Jays? Apparently Toronto is trying to get everything out of the trade that cost them both Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes as Rogers has been in the rotation since June. He has actually been pretty good since becoming a starter as he has allowed just eight runs in 29.2 innings through his first five starts. His last start out wasn't quite as nice as he allowed seven runs to Detroit in five innings. The Indians may not be the offensive juggernaut that the Tigers are, but they may be able to be patient enough at the plate to garner similar results.

The Indians ace had a similar experience to Rogers as he also gave up a lot of runs to the Tigers in his last start. It was his shortest start of the year (just 4.2 IP), in fact he has made it through the sixth inning in every other start this year except one (4/17).

Game 3: Thursday, July 10th, 12:05 PM EDT
Mark Buehrle, LHP, 5-5, 4.50 ERA vs TBA

Carlos Carrasco was originally scheduled to pitch this game, but was sent back to AAA after his last start and won't be able to return unless someone is placed on the DL. The Indians have a few options in AAA to make the start including Trevor Bauer, who has been used in spot starts this season, along with T.J. House, Joe Martinez and Matt Langwell, who made the team as relievers. Other options that exist are the resurrection of Daisuke Matsuzaka or the emergence of Danny Salazar. No matter who the Indians use, their time with the team will likely be very short as it will be the last start for this position before the All-Star break and Zach McAllister will be coming back in the near future.

Opposing the anonymous Indians pitcher will be a very familiar foe in Mark Buehrle. The great rivalry is gone however, as Buehrle is no longer with the White Sox and his major rival on the Tribe, Travis Hafner, is no longer with them. Current players still have more than 250 at bats against Buehrle with Jason Giambi leading the way, batting .414 with four home runs in 29 at bats. Look for this game to be the game that he gets his rare start as the DH.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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