Cue the music, it’s the return of Superman to the Rogers Centre. Kevin Pillar is making his first return to Toronto since he was shipped off to his home-state of California. Pillar comes into this series with 14 hits through 18 games with the Giants. Those 14 hits include two doubles, four home runs along with 13 RBI. However, while it will likely be an emotional night for Blue Jays fans as well as Pillar. This team has actually performed very well without the Man of Steel.
Since Pillar was traded back on April 2, the Blue Jays have a winning percentage of .500%. They currently own a record of 9-9 since the trade, and sit just four games out of first place. Yes, I just said the Blue Jays are close to first place in their division. I know that seems absurd and some of you might think I’m delusional. But this team has actually been playing very good baseball as of late, as they have won seven of their last ten games. So if you’re not too overwhelmed with the Maple Leafs and Raptors playoff games, then you should definitely tune into this two-game series.
Tuesday at 7:07 ET
Trent Thornton will be making his fifth start of the season in the opener of this series. The 25-year-old pitcher has had back-to-back starts that he would like to forget. Over his last two starts, Thornton has given up 14 hits, nine runs, three home runs and five walks.
As well, the right-hander has only produced six strikeouts over that same span. The Giants have been struggling to produce runs so far this season. As they currently rank second-last in the NL in runs, and are averaging less than three runs a game. So this could provide Thornton the perfect opportunity to break out of his recent slump.
Jeff Samardzija will be taking the mound in the opener of this series for the Giants. Along with having one of the hardest last names to spell in the league, he’s been a bright spot for these rebuilding Giants so far this season. In four starts this season, Samardzija currently owns a 1-1 record along with a 2.91 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 20 strikeouts and a BB/9 of 3.3. Now I put his walks/nine innings in his stat line because of how high it was last season.
Along with surrendering far too many hits last season, walks were really a problem for Samardzija. In ten starts last season, the 34-year-old’s BB/9 was 5.2. Samardzija owns a career BB/9 of 2.7, so it shows how uncharacteristic walks are for the right-hander. So with the way the Blue Jays offense has woken up as of recently, they should be able to take advantage of Samardzija if he’s unable to locate his pitches.
Wednesday at 4:07 ET
This still has me shocked, Clay Buchholz has actually pitched very effectively so far for the Blue Jays. Not in my wildest dreams would I ever have predicted that Buchholz would hold a 3.38 ERA through two starts with this team. The 34-year-old has also given up twelve hits through two starts, and yet has only surrendered four runs.
Buchholz’s ability to get himself out of jams with runners on base has been the key for him through two starts. The Giants have struggled to even get multiple runners on base in a single inning this season. So this could be another good outing from Buchholz, and maybe he’ll actually get his first win of the season as well.
Drew Pomeranz will be taking the ball in the finale of this series. The 30-year-old signed a one-year deal following his falling out with the World Series winning Red Sox. Pomeranz only made eleven starts before he was moved to the bullpen. In four starts this season, Pomeranz owns a 0-2 record along with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.607 WHIP.
While the left-hander did record seven whiffs in his last start against the Nationals. He also gave up six hits, a home run and three walks. So the Blue Jays lineup should have no problem being productive at the plate in this game, as long as they remain patient and make Pomeranz throw a lot of pitches.