Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have been on a roll as of late. They have won 12 of their last 16 games and after a miserable start, have raised their record up to .500.

Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 22-22, .500, 5.5 GB (AL East)
Place: U. S. Cellular Field
Time & TV: Game 1: 7:05 p.m. (FSN); Game 2: 7:05 p.m. (WCIU); Game 3: 7:05 p.m. (FSN+)
2002 Record vs Sox: 2-4
2003 Record vs Sox: 0-0

THE LATEST The Jays are led offensively by Frank Catalanotto and his .323 average, Vernon Wells and his major-league-leading 43 RBIs, along with Carlos Delgado and Shannon Stewart. The pitching rotation is headed by ace Roy Halladay who is 4-2 with an ERA of 4.54. Cory Lidle has been most consistent for the Jays with six wins and one complete game. Toronto is not anything to be worried about on the basepaths. They have stolen nine bases whereas opponents have stolen 38.

WHO'S HOT (Last 7 days)
Vernon Wells, CF: .407, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .815 SLG
-- Wells has been a consistent bat in the Blue Jays lineup so far this year and he is continuing his hot play into this series. In his last six games, he has 22 total bases and has accounted for 10 runs.

WHO'S NOT (Last 7 days)
Carlos Delgado, 1B: .200, 5 hits in 25 at-bats, 8 K's, 1 GIDP
--Carlos Delgado is currently in a mini-slump, but it has not yet dragged his average from above .300. He has struck out eight times in the last six games.

PITCHING PROBABLES
Game #1:
Cory Lidle (6-2, 5.09, 44 K) vs. Danny Wright (0-1, 4.22, 5 K)
--Lidle has been a solid #2 starter for the Jays this year. He ranks fourth in the AL in wins and eighth in strikeouts. He has won his last three starts but his ERA is also continually rising. In the last three years, Lidle has a 2-0 record with a 1.67 ERA against the Sox.

Game #2:
Doug Davis (1-2, 7.94, 6 K) vs. Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.98, 39 K)
-- Davis was acquired off waivers from the Texas Rangers, and has hardly been worth it. He won his first start for the Jays, but then walked five in his second start, and only lasted 1 2/3 innings against the Devil Rays while giving up seven runs. He has given up nearly as many walks as runs, and batters are hitting .300 off him.

Game #3:
Mark Hendrickson (4-4, 5.40, 24 K) vs. Mark Buehrle (2-7, 4.96, 25 K)
--Hendrickson has been the opposite of Davis, steadily lowering his ERA and having better starts with each game. He has won his last three starts, where he has averaged 6 1/3 innings. He induces many ground balls in relation to fly balls. Watch for him to either feast or famine this game.

KEYS TO THE SERIES
#1 - Get three quality starts. If Danny Wright and Bartolo Colon can duplicate their previous starts, and Mark Buehrle can just figure out what is wrong, this series can be had.

#2 - Find the bats. Cory Lidle is Joe Mays-like against the Sox, but the second and third starters in this series are going up against Colon and Buehrle, the two men who should be Sox aces. Davis and Hendrickson are not pitching like quality starters, so if the Sox can inflict damage early, they should be able to win each game.

#3 - Figure out a lineup, and stick with it. Jerry Manuel has been shuffling his lineup cards lately, even putting Ordonez in center field. If the Sox can find a lineup with any sort of consistency, they should stick with it.

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