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Photo Credit: © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Our Triple-A Lineup Against Your Triple-A Rotation

The Blue Jays are completely decimated. Today, Francisco Liriano was placed on the 10-day disabled list, where he joins Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Russell Martin, and more. Y’know, like, the entire team.

But if there’s anybody who’s been hit as hard in the face with the injury stick, it’s the Seattle Mariners, who are quite literally tossing out a Triple-A pitching rotation, as Yovani Gallardo, Hishashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, and Drew Smyly are all on the shelf. I mean, it’s been so bad that the Mariners grabbed Casey Lawrence off of waivers from the Blue Jays in order to plug a hole.

Funny how that works out. We’ll see this weekend which team’s organizational depth can reign supreme!

Thursday at 7:07 ET

Former Blue Jay alert! Chase De Jong was once traded from the Blue Jays to the Dodgers in exchange for two bonus international free agent slots, which was essentially just L.A. flexing their financial muscles. De Jong pitched quite well in the Dodgers system, and was moved this winter to Seattle in a deal for a couple other prospects. De Jong has made four appearances, two of them starts. In one of them, he was hammered for six earned runs over two-and-two-thirds innings by Cleveland, and in the other, he held Texas to one run over six innings.

Marco Estrada is happy not to be pitching against the Tampa Bay Rays. That’s pretty much the only team who gives him a rough time. Against the Rays? Estrada has allowed ten runs and five homers over 12 innings. Against everyone else? He’s allowed five runs and zero homers over 32 innings.

Friday at 7:07 ET

Joe Biagini was phenomenal in his first big league start last weekend in Tampa. Coming up through San Fransisco’s system, Biagini had always been a starter, but the Jays transitioned him into the ‘pen last season to fill a need. But after Sunday’s performance, in which he held the Rays to two hits over four innings, it makes you wonder whether Biagini should be moved into the rotation long-term. I mean, hell, it’s not like we haven’t talked about this before, but his strong start re-affirmed it, and another one on Saturday would only help his cause.

Christian Bergman is, like, the Casey Lawrence of the Mariners. Okay, no, Casey Lawrence is the Casey Lawrence of the Seattle Mariners now, but you know what I mean. He worked his way through Colorado’s system never being a highly touted prospect, has made some starts, and pitched in long relief, and doesn’t have particularly good stuff. Over his career, he’s tossed 151 1/3 innings and has a 5.71 earned run average. But, ya know, Colorado.

Saturday at 1:07 ET

Marcus Stroman seemed to be fine in the wake of his sore arm on Monday, as he shut Cleveland down over six innings of work. It wasn’t his best outing, and nobody expected it to be, as Stroman was pulled from his previous start against the Yankees due to armpit soreness, which was terrifying. Stroman relied heavily on excellent defence, as Cleveland threatened multiple times but grounded into three double plays.

Dillon Overton will pitch for the Mariners on Saturday. Who the hell is that? He used to be a heralded prospect in the Athletics’ system, putting together some damn good seasons in the lower minor leagues, flew through the system, and then got drilled at the big league level. Seattle acquired him in January in a swap for another prospect, and since, he’s made one start and five relief appearances. In his one start on April 30, Overton allowed three runs on four hits against the Clevelanders. His stuff isn’t overwhelming at all, as Overton throws a high 80s fastball, but he largely pitches to contact with an assortment of secondary pitches. It would be really, really nice if the Jays lineup could tee off on this guy, because it seems they’re often on the wrong side of some hack having a weirdly good spot start.

Sunday at 1:07 ET

That TBD slot will be filled by Aaron Sanchez, who’s salted to come off the disabled list on Sunday. Sanchez, as we know, has been on the DL twice this season, both times due to that goddamn nagging finger blister. Last time, he was only able to pitch one inning before being pulled from the game, so hopefully this time Sanchez is back for good.

Going for Seattle in the finale will be Ariel Miranda, who’s the only one left standing from the starting rotation that the team brought into the regular season. And, ironically enough, I’m pretty sure Miranda only actually cracked the team because Gallardo was injured. Yikes. And we thought the Jays had it rough.

Anyways, Miranda has made seven starts this season, and owns a pretty ugly 5.20 ERA. His peripherals aren’t any better, as he allows quite a bit of contact, allows some walks, and doesn’t really strike anybody out. In his last time out, he was drilled by the Phillies for eight earned runs over just three-and-a-third. Sooooooo maaaaaybe the Bisons Jays can tee off on him too?

Thoughts

This is a very winnable series for the Jays. While Toronto is beaten down by injuries up and down their lineup, they’re better off than Seattle. The Jays still have a strong pitching rotation going out there, whereas the Mariners have Triple-A calibre starters each night, and things could get ugly for them quickly.

This is a great opportunity for the Jays to get their season back on track. They’re 13-21 and have played weirdly decent baseball in the wake of their injury catastrophe, and a hot streak over these next eight games, Seattle and Atlanta, could save the season. Still, though, if these guys are ever going to have career games, it’s going to be against a lineup featuring Ryan Goins, Luke Maile, and Mike Ohlman. You just know it.