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Series Preview: Where did the offense go?

The Blue Jays are currently on a five-game losing streak entering this series against the White Sox, and it has been extremely ugly over that stretch. This team has produced just three runs over their last four games. While they have also surrendered a total of 30 runs over that same span.

However, this offense may be able to turn things around a little bit during this upcoming series against the other team from Chicago that most people don’t even really care about. The White Sox pitching staff currently owns the 2nd-worst team-ERA in the AL. They have the highest opponents BA in the AL at .274, and they’re also tied for the most amount of free bases awarded in the AL as well. So this series should provide the Blue Jays a great chance to show exactly how bad this White Sox team is during this three-game series.

Friday at 7:07 ET

So apparently the Blue Jays can’t catch a break when it comes to untimely injuries this season. Clay Buchholz was suppose to open this series for the Blue Jays. But then it was announced earlier this morning, or late last night depending on what time you get up and go to sleep at, that Buchholz would miss this start due to an elbow or forearm or some kind problem where he can’t throw a ball type of injury.

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Which now brings the Blue Jays to just three starting pitchers who can actually start games. If Thomas Pannone wasn’t just sent down to be stretched out to fill one of those vacant spots, than he would have likely gotten the start in this game. So that means this will be a bullpen game for the Blue Jays, and they have decided to go with Daniel Hudson to open this game. The reliever has pitched in 17.1 innings so far this season and holds a 3.63 ERA, 1.269 WHIP along with 16K/9BB.

Dylan Covey will go for the White Sox in game one of this series. The 27-year-old has made just one other start so far this season, as he’s just come out of the bullpen to fill-in for the injured Carlos Rodon. In his only start of the season, Covey pitched 4.2 innings against the Red Sox, or as the President calls them, the Red Socks. Covey surprisingly only surrendered five hits and two runs against the Red Sox.

I say surprisingly because Covey gave up 12 flyballs against the team that currently ranks 5th in the AL in hits, so hopefully the Blue Jays can find similar success and place those fly balls over the tall blue wall at the Rogers Centre.

Saturday at 3:07 ET

StroShow probably wishes that the calendar hadn’t changed to May, because he was one of the best-pitchers in the league during the month of April. Stroman has given up a combined 15 hits, eleven runs, four walks and a pair of home runs over his last two starts. The face of this pitching staff has also failed in pitch beyond the 5th inning in either of his starts this month, which has been a big problem for every starter in this rotation so far this season.

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The White Sox have been almost as bad as the Blue Jays at being patient at the plate this season. Their lineup currently ranks right behind the Blue Jays at 3rd in the AL for the most amount of strikeouts. Which should benefit Stroman in this game, as he recorded five or more strikeouts in all six of his starts last month.

Ivan Nova will get the ball in game two for the White Sox. The 32-year-old has been very inconsistent so far this season. Nova will either get blown up by the opposing team, or he’ll completely shut them down by forcing his opponents to hit a lot of weak ground balls.

To further explain Nova’s inconsistency, he has given up just one run in three of his seven starts and five or more runs in his other four starts. In his last start against the Indians, he went seven innings and allowed eight hits, but just one run and one walk while recording five strikeouts. Nova also has a tendency to throw a lot of pitches in each of his starts. So the Blue Jays will have to find a way to force a lot of deep counts in order to be successful in game two of this series.

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Sunday at 1:07 ET

Aaron Sanchez was fantastic last time he took the mound for the Blue Jays. He wasn’t perfect as he sustained a rough 31-pitch first-inning. But that was the only damage Sanchez surrendered against the still surprising division-leading Twins. So while this rotation is currently suffering from the lack of depth due to recent injuries, Sanchez can help calm that situation with another great start this time out.

Sanchez will need to focus on locating his pitches more effectively at the start of this game, so that he doesn’t surrendered another long inning to start the game. Hopefully this offense will also be able to provide him with some support as well. As Sanchez has received just two runs of support over his last two starts.

Lucas Giolito is a pitcher that most people have forgotten even still existed in this league. His numbers don’t exactly jump off the page at you, but he’s actually pitched a lot better than his numbers suggest. Last season was Giolito’s first full-season at the major-league level. So his 6.13 ERA, 1.477 WHIP and 5.56 FIP didn’t make him an attractive name coming into this season.

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But the 24-year-old has made some key improvements this season, that suggest he could be troublesome for the Blue Jays’ hitters in this game. Giolito has lowered the amount of hits and walks he gives up per game compared to last season, and has drastically increased his strikeouts per nine innings as well. The former first-round draft selection recorded eight strikeouts through 7.1 innings against the Indians in his last start. So this game could be very frustrating for the Blue Jays, as they currently rank 2nd in the AL in strikeouts.