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Series Preview: The House of Horrors

It’s been exactly a month since the Blue Jays won a series. A sweep against the Athletics last month is last time that the Blue Jays came away with a series-win. Unfortunately, we’ll likely have to wait even longer before witnessing another series-win by the Blue Jays. Last time the team north of the border played the team that technically isn’t even from Tampa Bay, the Blue Jays gave up a total of 20 runs through their three games against the Rays.

Luckily for the Blue Jays, they have two of their best pitchers starting in this three-game series. They’re also coming off an exciting game against the Padres, where their two-recent call-ups tore the cover off the ball. So hopefully the Blue Jays’ hitters will be able to continue to supply their pitchers with some run support in this series, as they have scored the 6th-most runs during this past week among teams throughout the AL.

Monday at 1:10 ET

Aaron Sanchez displayed in his last start that blisters aren’t his kryptonite any longer. The 26-year-old pitched six-innings and only surrendered four hits and a pair of runs, along with creating five strikeouts against the Red Sox in his latest outing. What was most-encouraging about his start was Sanchez’s usage of his curveball.

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Following the blisters that Sanchez sustained during the 2017 season, he was then worried that the use of his curveball would then cause those blisters to re-emerge. However, Sanchez’s awareness of when to take himself out of games once those blisters start to form, are why he’s been able to avoid the injured list so far this season. The Blue Jays have been hit hard by the injury bug within their starting pitching, so they will need Sanchez to continue to pitch well. As he comes into this start pitching with a 3.79 ERA, along with recording 26 strikeouts over his last four starts.

This will be Yonny Chirinos’ fifth-start so far this season. Chirinos has mainly be used as a multi-inning reliever this season. The 25-year-old’s last start came against the Orioles back on May 4. In that game, Chirinos went seven and 1/3 innings and gave up seven hits, but just three runs and a lone walk.

Since that start, Chirinos has pitched a combined 12.1 innings in his three appearances out of the bullpen. The 2nd-year pitcher has also only surrendered a combined three runs and one walk, while striking out six batters in those three outings coming out of the bullpen as well. Chirinos could be in for a rough outing in this game, as the kids within the Blue Jays lineup are currently mashing balls over outfielders’ heads.

Tuesday at 7:10 ET

Clayton Richard will get the start in game two of this series down at the disgusting Tropicana Field. Richard, who shares the same name as the pitcher who’s won multiple Cy Young awards and an MVP, pitched very effectively in his first-start of the season. The 35-year-old threw 54 pitches and exited following the fourth-inning, after reaching his set pitch-limit.

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The Blue Jays have to be very impressed that Richard gave up just a pair of hits and one run against the slugging Red Sox lineup. Richard will likely be on a pitch count once again in this start against the Rays. Although, the Blue Jays currently have multiple pitchers in their bullpen who can pitch for more than just one inning. Which means that even if Richard gets roughed up by the Rays early on in this game, the Blue Jays shouldn’t have to worry about over-using their bullpen in this game.

The Rays haven’t officially announced a starter or an a opener for game two of this series yet. But they will likely go with Ryan Yarbrough to make his second-start since being recalled. Yarbrough actually made his first-start of the entire season last time out against the Indians.

The Florida-native shutdown the Indians’ lineup through his 7.1 innings pitched. Yarbrough gave up just four hits, two runs and a single walk, along with recording four strikeouts. Last time Yarbrough faced the Blue Jays was just for two-innings out of the bullpen, but he was very effective against the Blue birds. Yarbrough kept the Blue Jays off the bases in his last outing against them.

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Wednesday at 7:10 ET

Trent Thornton will be making his 6th-start this month, and will be looking to pitch beyond the sixth-inning for the 3rd-straight game. The rookie-pitcher has been fantastic in four out of his five starts this month. Thornton has only surrendered more than four hits and three runs once through his five outings this month. The Blue Jays have been in desperate need for depth in their starting rotation behind Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, and it appears that they’ve found that in Thornton.

Their bullpen is also exhausted due to being needed to pitch the majority of the first two games in the series against the Padres. So the Blue Jays really need Thornton to pitch at least six-innings once again, in-order to give their relievers some rest, as well, to give Thornton an opportunity to earn his 2nd-career win.

Blake Snell will be facing the Blue Jays for the 2nd-time this season in this start. Snell was virtually unhittable in his start against the Blue Jays last month. The 26-year-old surrendered just a hit and a walk, while setting down nine hitters on strikes.

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Last year’s Cy Young award winner has been a strikeout machine so far this season. Snell has created seven or more strikeouts in seven of his ten starts this season. The Blue Jays currently rank 5th in the AL for strikeouts this month. So while the kids have been crushing the ball lately, the finale of this series will still likely be a rough offensive game for the Blue Jays.