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Series Preview: Angels @ Blue Jays (Do They Have Championship Hangover Up There?)

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Will the curse of Wilfredo Tovar linger?

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros
Ooh, the big boy!
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Angels (35-37) @ Blue Jays (26-45)

Yikes, looking in at that Toronto record...it’s not pretty. Although the Angels are only nine games better, so if you think long and hard, it’s a little sobering. The Angels are coming off a 4-2 week against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Last week, the Blue Jays took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles, and then they lost two of three to the Houston Astros. The one win was a 12-0 clobbering of our division rivals. We can only hope they used up all the offense Sunday.

However, the Angels do have the Wilfredo Tovar curse going on. They must have won five of the last eight games, which means wins on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and a loss of Tuesday. In addition, if Tovar reaches base safely twice or garners two bases, the Angels will lose. If not, the Angels will win. As Patrick89 likes to say, SCIENCE!

We will also get outfielder Justin Upton back, and Andrelton Simmons is a toss-up. Future Hall of Famer César Puello goes to make room for Upton, and one would think Tovar’s days will be numbered with Simba on the mend.

Weather Forecast

They have a roof. We’ll be fine. **side-eyes Tropicana Field

Okay, we will most likely probably be fine. The people and the stadium in Toronto seems competent. It’s even spelled weirdly, for crying out loud. Rogers CENTRE.

A Look at Toronto’s Hitting

GAME 1

(R) Luis Garcia (4.68 ERA) v. (R) Derek Law (5.06 ERA)
Monday, June 17 @ 4:07 PM

Summary:

Honestly, I don’t even know whether to list the opener or the bulk guy as the probables anymore. For the Angels, although Garcia has a disastrous 1.60 WHIP with a 6.1 BB/9 this season, he gets the call. He should be followed by Félix Peña, he of the 1.19 WHIP and the 4-1 record, which Rick Souddress likes to call “misleading”. Peña has struggled of late, failing to go deep into games even with the opener, and not too much should be expected against Toronto.

Derek Law is equal to the task. The 28-year-old righty has a 1.50 WHIP in 21.1 innings this season. The difference between the two teams is that Law may actually be better than his bulk guy. Edwin Jackson, pitching for his one-millionth team, has an ERA of over 10 and a WHIP of over 2. Feasting time, Angels! Except you, Tovar. Not you.


GAME 2

(L) Tyler Skaggs (5.00 ERA) v. (R) Marcus Stroman (3.18 ERA)
Tuesday, June 18 @ 4:07 PM

Summary:

Tyler Skaggs is doing his usual dance. Except although he seems to have had a couple of good starts, his ERA is now in the 5s (which is not good). After failing to last more than five innings again against the Tampa Bay Rays, Skaggs will be looking to bounce back against a Blue Jays offense that has struggled mightily.

Marcus Stroman has been Toronto’s best baseball player. There was a time when he was near the MLB leaderboards in all sorts of categories, but now he’s 4-8 with 1.32 WHIP. Before he ran into Arizona last week, Stroman was effectively coming up five straight quality starts (one was a five inning, one run performance, but the Jays were up big, so we’ll count it). With Skaggs’s inconsistency and Stroman’s general dominance, this will be the hardest matchup up the series.


GAME 3

(L) Andrew Heaney (4.57 ERA) v. (R) Aaron Sanchez (5.04 ERA)
Wednesday, May 20 @ 4:07 PM

Summary:

Andrew Heaney is doing his usual “dominate for a few innings but give up a couple of jacks so I end up with a pedestrian line.” If there was ever a performance where we could just do the former rather than both, it would be this one. Heaney has a 0.97 WHIP since being activated this year and is striking out an absurd 12.5 K/9.

Aaron Sanchez is another Blue Jays pitcher who has disappointed. Instead of turning the corner from a promising 2016, he’s regressed now in three straight seasons, and now he has a 1.60 WHIP. He’s given up at least five runs in back-to-back starts, and the potent Angels offense should be given good odds to put up at least that total Wednesday.


GAME 4

(L) José Suarez (4.50 ERA) v. (L) Clayton Richards (7.52 ERA)
Thursday, May 20 @ 4:07 PM

Summary:

Suarez has impressed thus far in his few starts with the Angels. He needs to develop more length, but he has been extremely efficient. The next step for him is to not run into trouble in the fifth and sixth innings of games, so he can demonstrate to manager Brad Ausmus that he is ready to go deeper into games.

Clayton Richard is still the same soft-tossing lefty as ever. He has a -0.3 bWAR on the season. He’s not striking anyone out, even in this strikeout-friendly era, with his K/9 just being 5.3. Combine that with the Angels aversion to K3yerout’ing, I expect to see just two from Richard in that game.


Overall Verdict: It should be three of four (judging by the matchups and the Tovar curse).

Current Standings (sorted by playoff odds)

Poll

What will the series outcome be? (4 games)

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Angels sweep
    (16 votes)
  • 45%
    Angels win 3
    (17 votes)
  • 8%
    Split
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    Blue Jays win 3
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Blue Jays sweep
    (0 votes)
37 votes total Vote Now

Notes/Credits:
(Standings/odds from fivethirtyeight.com)