Oh right, there’s baseball games to be played! With the trade deadline going down today and the Jays likely shipping some rental players out for prospects, the actual games have been shoved to the back of everyone’s mind. But the Jays will kick off a three-game series with the very bad Chicago White Sox this week, presenting Toronto an opportunity to maaaaaayyyybbbbeeeee climb a little in the AL Wild Card race.
Monday at 8:10 ET
As of right now, Marco Estrada is slated to start on Monday against James Shields. Of course, if he’s dealt before the trade deadline today, somebody else will be given the ball. But for now, Marco it is. Estrada’s last start against the A’s was solid. He went five innings for the first time since June 24 in Kansas City, surrendering just two earned runs on three hits and four walks.
James Shields will take the mound for the White Sox, which is good because he’s, uh, bad. The Jays won one of three against the Sox back in mid-June, the one that they did win came in a Shields start. He was actually really good, but allowed a two-run, game-tying homer to Russell Martin immediately after Troy Tulowitzki hit a greasy infield single. Shields owns a 5.86 ERA for the season, and is damn near walking as many guys as he’s striking out. He strikes out 6.8 guys per nine innings, which is bad enough, but walking five per nine makes it even worse. In his last four starts, Shields has made it out of the fifth inning just once.
Tuesday at 8:10 ET
Mike Pelfrey was one of the guys who threw an inexplicably good game against the Jays in that series back in June. He went six innings surrendering just one earned run on four hits. It was one of the worst holy shit this offence is actually that bad games this season because it was one of only two times Pelfrey has managed to make it through six innings. For the season, Pelfrey owns a 4.73 ERA, walks many, doesn’t strike out many, and doesn’t have the stamina to ride far into many games. Since that dominant start against the Jays, he’s started seven games and has made it out of the fifth in just three of them.
Marcus Stroman started against Pelfrey in that game in June and took the loss despite a solid outing. He allowed three earned runs, two of them back-to-back solo homers in the second inning, over seven innings. In Stroman’s last start, as you’ll surely remember, he was booted from the game by home plate umpire Will Little in one of the most absurd ump showings we’ve ever seen. It marked just the fourth time all season Stroman didn’t make it through five innings.
Wednesday at 2:10 ET
J.A. Happ also could be traded before the deadline, but that seems unlikely at this point as he’s under control again next season and would be a key piece to a competitive Jays team. Happ had an OK start in his last outing against the Angels, allowing three earned runs over six innings of work, but has been largely solid since coming off of the disabled list earlier this summer.
He’ll go against Derek Holland, who, like everyone else starting for Chicago this week, is bad! Holland pitched his whole career for the Texas Rangers, and, as you’ll likely remember, pretended to wipe his ass with a Jays rally towel during the 2015 playoffs. He also got his fuckin’ life rocked in Game 4 when the Jays blasted him for six earned runs over two innings of work.
The White Sox are…. very bad. Very, very bad! They’ve dealt Adam Eaton, Carlos Quintana, Todd Fraizer, Chris Sale, and David Robertson in the past few months, and while they’re absolutely overflowing with prospects, their actual MLB roster is decimated. Since the All-Star break, Chicago has won two games. TWO. GAMES. The Jays need nothing short of a miracle to climb back into the playoff race, but a sweep of the Chi Sox would be a great start.