Series Preview: Welcoming in old rivals

The Blue Jays have continued to play good baseball ever since Bo Bichette joined the team in Kansas City. Since then, the Blue Jays have won nine of their last 14 games and haven’t lost any of their series as well. Coming into this series, the Rangers have played extremely poorly as of recently. They have lost four of their last five games and have produced the 4th-fewest amount of runs in the AL since the all-star break.

They’ve also recorded the 2nd-fewest walks and 4th-fewest extra-base hits in the AL since the break as well. The Rangers recent lack of offensive production should give the Blue Jays’ pitchers a great opportunity to lower their 4th-best ERA in the AL since the break even further.

Monday at 7:07 ET

The Blue Jays have decided to go with a bullpen day to begin this series against the Rangers. Once again, the lack of quality depth at triple-A has forced the Blue Jays to utilize their bullpen for an entire game. Newly acquired arm, Neil Ramirez is slated to open this game against the Rangers. Ramirez currently owns a 5.40 ERA, 1.620 WHIP, 4.9 BB/9 and a 9.7 SO/9 through his 16 appearances this season with the Indians.

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Following Ramirez, the Blue Jays will either go with Brock Stewart or Zack Godley from out of the bullpen. Both pitchers have each made an appearance since being acquired by the Blue Jays. Stewart pitched four scoreless innings during his outing. While Godley gave up three runs on five hits during his three innings of work.

Ariel Jurado is coming off one of his best performances of his professional career. The 23-year-old went seven innings against the Indians and held them to just two runs on three hits. A two-run home run by Jose Ramirez was the only blemish during Jurado’s 14th start of the season.

What was extremely impressive about Jurado’s performance was his ability to keep the ball on the ground through the entire game. Jurado induced 13 groundballs to just five fly balls. So, the Blue Jays may need to manufacture their runs in this game, instead of recording them through home runs like they’ve been accustomed to.

Tuesday at 7:07 ET

Thomas Pannone was ineffective against the Yankees during his latest start. The 25-year-old was chased from the game after just two and 1/3 innings. Pannone allowed seven runs on six hits along with a pair of home runs before he exited from the game. This was easily Pannone’s worst start since he was recalled by the Blue Jays back on July 18.

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As a starter, Pannone’s numbers are as ugly as Socrates Brito’s tenure with the Blue Jays was. Through six starts this season, Pannone owns a 10.65 ERA, 1.606 WHIP and a .912 OPP OPS. I’d suggest moving him back to the bullpen but the Blue Jays currently don’t even have a fifth starter in their rotation. So, that means Pannone will be sent out to hopefully record a quality outing against the slumping Rangers’ lineup.

Lance Lynn has surprisingly been one of the best pitchers in the AL this season. The 32-year-old currently ranks 8th in the AL in BB/9 and 9th in K/9 and OPP OPS. Lynn also hasn’t pitched fewer than six innings since his start on Apr. 23 against the Athletics.

The 1st-round pick during the 2008 draft has also specifically been tough to hit against over his last three starts. Lynn has allowed two runs or fewer and struck out a combined 26 batters over his last 20 innings pitched. For a Blue Jays team that has struck out the 3rd-most in the AL since the break, they’ll need to find a way to remain disciplined at the plate during this game.

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Wednesday at 12:37 ET

First off, Sean Reid-Foley should never grow out his mustache ever again, he looks much better without it. Not having a disgusting mustache may have even helped Reid-Foley pitch more effectively during his latest start as well. The 23-year-old pitched five innings against the Yankees and surrendered just one run on five hits.

More importantly, Reid-Foley only allowed a pair of walks along with a season-high five strikeouts. Lucky for Reid-Foley, the Rangers have recorded the 2nd-fewest amount of walks in the AL since the break. Which means this should give Reid-Foley another great opportunity to pitch effectively.

Kolby Allard pitched impressively during his Rangers’ debut against the Brewers. The soon-to-be 22-year-old went just four and 1/3 innings. But, Allard only gave up two runs on three hits and struck out seven batters. However, Allard struggled to find the strike zone at times, which led to the trio of walks surrendered.

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Walks have been concerning for Allard so far this season. As he recorded a 3.0 BB/9 through his 21 starts at triple-A this season. But, Allard has been able to limit the damage due to his 8.3 SO/9 recorded this season as well. Which means the Blue Jays will need to find a way to force a lot of walks against Allard in this game. In order for this to be another short outing for the former Braves top pitching prospect.