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Series Preview: Indians at Jays

 

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Summary:

The Blue Jays might be gaining some momentum after winning three in a row from the White Sox. This was the opposite of the way the Blue Jays have been doing things this season. They lost the first game to the White Sox then won the next three. Usually they are good at winning the opener and losing the rest of the games in the series. The all-important wins aside, the bats are showing signs of life, and Adam Lind will probably be back in the coming week after he plays in some minor-league games. Lind has been out with lower back tightness, and if there was a side benefit to him going on the disabled list, it was the reawakening of Juan Rivera as a first baseman. His fielding has been good enough and his bat has come alive. Because he has taken to the position, the Blue Jays will be able to ease Lind into first base by also using him as DH to alleviate any stress there might be on his back. Aaron Hill and Edwin Encarnacion finally came through with their first home runs of the season in Sunday’s 13-4 win over the White Sox. Hill’s homer also was his first career grand slam. If those two get going and Lind returns, this could be a potent lineup.

 

Injuries:

  • INF John McDonald (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list May 27.

  • 1B Adam Lind (lower back stiffness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 8. He resumed baseball activities at the minor league complex in Dunedin, Fla., on May 21, and was expected to begin playing as DH in minor league games May 30.

  • RHP Jesse Litsch (right shoulder impingement) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive May 19. He felt soreness when he threw off flat ground in Dunedin, Fla., in late May, and he was shut down for a week.

  • RHP Dustin McGowan (right shoulder surgery in June 2010) went on the 60-day disabled list March 12. He was throwing in extended spring training in late May, and he could begin a rehab assignment in early June.

  • LHP Jesse Carlson (strained left shoulder) went on the 60-day disabled list March 29. He underwent season-ending rotator cuff surgery May 26.

Blue Jays Roster:

Rotation:

LHP Ricky Romero

RHP Kyle Drabek

LHP Jo-Jo Reyes

RHP Brandon Morrow

RHP Carlos Villanueva

Bullpen:

RHP Jon Rauch (closer)

RHP Octavio Dotel

RHP Shawn Camp

RHP Jason Frasor

RHP Casey Janssen

LHP Marc Rzepczynski

RHP Frank Francisco

LHP Luis Perez

Catchers:

J.P. Arencibia

Jose Molina

Infielders:

1B Edwin Encarnacion

2B Aaron Hill

SS Yunel Escobar

3B Jayson Nix

INF Mike McCoy

Outfielders:

LF Corey Patterson

CF Rajai Davis

RF Jose Bautista

DH Juan Rivera

OF Eric Thames

Tidbits:

  • OF Eric Thames finally had a chance to play in the outfield in Saturday’s 9-8 win over the White Sox. He made his big-league debut in left field after being used as DH in his first seven games since being called up from AAA Las Vegas. It was a way for Farrell to rest LF Corey Patterson, who went 5-for-7 with his 14th homer that won the game as DH. Thames has been working on his outfield defense, specifically on the way he goes back on fly balls. He has played left and right fields in the minors.

  • LHP Luis Perez (1-0) won for the first time in his fifth major-league outing when he held the White Sox to two hits over 3 2/3 innings in Saturday’s 9-8 win in 14 innings.

  • DH Edwin Encarnacion used one of LHP Ricky Romero’s bats when he hit his first homer of the season Sunday in a 13-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Encarnacion broke the bat of a fifth-inning single.

  • 2B Aaron Hill hit his first home run of the season in the first inning of Sunday’s 13-4 win over the Chicago White Sox and it also happened to be his first career grand slam.

  • RF Jose Bautista and White Sox LHP John Danks exchanged words after Bautista popped out to shortstop in the fourth inning Sunday in Toronto’s 13-4 win. Danks didn’t like the way Bautista reacted by slamming his bat to the ground.

  • LF Corey Patterson was 5-for-7 Saturday with a walk-off homer in the 14th inning to beat the White Sox 9-8. He came back Sunday by going 4-for-5 with three RBIs, two on his fourth homer of the season, in five at-bats in Sunday’s 13-4 win over Chicago. He was 11-for-19 in the four-game series against the White Sox.

Pitching Matchups:

Tonight: Fausto Carmona vs. Jo-Jo Reyes

Who is Jo-Jo Reyes and why does he have a cool name?

Tomorrow night: Mitch Talbot vs. Brandon Morrow.

Wednesday night: Josh Tomlin vs. Kyle Drabek

Drabek’s combination of elite athleticism, plus velocity, and one of the best breaking balls in the prospect world gives him All-Star potential. He throws an 89-93 mph two-seamer that he can cut or sink, and can dial his four-seamer up to 97 when he rears back for something extra. Baseball America states that “[h]is over-the-top hard curveball is a plus-plus monster with plenty of bite, and he generates as many strikeouts with it as the fastball. Previous questions about his makeup are no longer discussed, as he came out of Tommy John surgery with considerably more maturity and an outstanding work ethic.” Drabek has greatly improved his changeup, and while it projects as an average pitch in time, it isn’t quite there yet. His command and control waver from above average to below, depending on the outing. So far this season, he has not fared well. He has started 11 games and is striking out just as manny hitters as he is walking (6.03) per nine innings.

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