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Series preview: Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays

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The Tribe has recently shown life by taking all five games on this recent home stand. The competition steps up a notch as the head to Toronto to take on the power hitting Blue Jays.

The three headed hydra of Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion
The three headed hydra of Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

After having their third winning streak of five games or better, the Indians take their show back on the road for yet another three city trip. First up is the red hot Toronto Blue Jays who have now opened up a 1.5 game lead on the New York Yankees.

  • Monday 7:07 PM: Danny Salazar (R)  vs. David Price (L)
  • Tuesday 7:07 PM: Cody Anderson (R) vs. Marco Estrada (R)
  • Wednesday 7:07 PM: Trevor Bauer (R) vs. R.A. Dickey (R)

The Next Week: After a day off on Thursday, the Indians wrap up this lengthy road trip by taking on the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox.

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Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1,000,000 fantasy football league for week 1. It's $5 to enter and first place wins $100,000. Click here to join.

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AL Playoff Watch: Tigers at Royals, Mariners at Astros, Yankees at Red Sox, Rangers at Padres, White Sox at Twins, Angels at A's, Rays at Orioles.

Team in a Box

Toronto Blue Jays

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2015 Record

74-56

Runs/Game

5.5

1st

Runs/Game

4.1

6th

AL East

1st

OBP

335

1st

H/9

8.5

6th

Last 10

8-2

SLG

450

1st

BB/9

2.5

1st

Last 30

24-6

Steals

65

8th

SO/9

7.1

12th

* All stats except records are through Saturday's ages.

When last these two teams met at the end of April, they both were in the basement respectively. They each took two games in the first four game set of the season. The Blue Jays won the opener 5-1 and then the Tribe won 9-4. The Jays hammered Kluber 11-4 and then the Indians won a slugfest 10-7.

The Blue Jays finally escaped the cellar at the end of May, and then used an 11 game win streak in early June to get them over 0.500 and into contention. Another 11 game win streak in August allowed them to reach first place briefly. In fact that streak coincided with the Indians and Yankees first series. And they reached first again last week during the Tribe's series against the Yankees in New York.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Russell Martin

R

421

240

765

110

1B

Justin Smoak

S

246

225

756

106

2B

Ryan Goins

L

308

242

657

82

3B

Josh Donaldson

R

568

300

949

158

SS

Troy Tulowitzki#

R

478

282

789

104

LF

Ben Revere%

L

490

304

716

98

CF

Kevin Pillar

R

506

264

668

81

RF

Jose Bautista

R

528

244

891

143

DH

Edwin Encarnacion

R

497

269

896

143

UT

Chris Colabello

R

296

327

892

146

OF

Ezequiel Carrera

L

170

281

700

94

C

Dioner Navarro

S

154

221

609

64

IF

Cliff Pennington&

S

186

217

561

52

Potential 9/1 callups

OF

Dalton Pompey

S

91

193

601

65

C

Josh Thole

L

34

226

584

62

IF

Munenori Kawasaki

L

20

167

528

45

# includes stats with Rockies; % includes stats with Phillies; & includes stats with Diamondbacks

Since it has been four months since there two teams met, there has been a lot of roster turnover. Bautista has moved from DH to right, and Encarnacion has taken over at DH. The trades for Tulowitzki and revere has also resulted in a few shifts. Goins is now platooning at second with Pennington. Colabello and Smoak appear to be platooning at first as well.

Make no mistake, this team is an offensive juggernaut. They lead the league in many categories. The team's 184 home runs are impressive, with three guys with 30 or more (Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion). Those three combined have 92% of the entire Tribe total. Our pitching staff, who loves to give up homers better hope that if they do, they stick to the homers of the solo variety.

Encarnacion has been the hot guy lately with 3 homers and 9 RBI on Saturday, driving his 1535 OPS in the past 2 weeks. But it isn't just him; Donaldson, Colabello, Goins, Revere, Smoak and Bautista have all cleared 1000 OPS in the past 2 weeks. The only regular struggling is Tulowitzki. In the first series, it was Martin and Bautista that led the charge while Donaldson and Goins were the ones who struggled.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

R.A. Dickey

R

4.25

4.70

173.2

1.30

5.5

Mark Buehrle

L

3.60

4.18

165.0

1.18

4.3

Drew Hutchison

R

4.87

3.82

138.2

1.41

7.9

Marco Estrada

R

3.19

4.05

135.1

1.09

7.0

David Price#

L

2.42

2.94

182.1

1.08

8.8

Roberto Osuna

R

1.87

2.18

57.2

0.85

10.3

Aaron Sanchez

R

3.12

4.78

80.2

1.24

5.9

Liam Hendriks

R

2.67

2.12

54.0

1.04

9.7

Brett Cecil

L

3.29

3.22

41.0

1.12

9.9

Bo Schultz

R

2.54

4.55

39.0

0.90

6.7

La Troy Hawkins@

R

2.76

3.03

32.2

1.26

8.3

Mark Lowe&

R

1.85

2.06

43.2

1.17

11.1

Potential 9/1 callups

Aaron Loup

L

5.20

3.89

36.1

1.27

9.9

Steve Delabar

R

3.33

3.86

27.0

1.15

9.7

Ryan Tepera

R

2.28

4.72

23.2

0.80

6.1

Scott Copeland

R

6.46

3.57

15.1

1.70

3.5

Colt Hynes

L

6.00

2.45

3.0

3.33

12.0

Chad Jenkins

R

4.50

2.62

2.0

1.00

9.0

# includes stats with Tigers; % includes stats with Rockies; & includes stats with Mariners

Since arriving with the Jays, Price has been all that they could hope for. In his five August starts, he has a 1.98 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 in 36.1 IP, winning four of the five starts. Before getting traded by the Tigers, Price made three starts against the Tribe and he was superb. He had a 0.43 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 8.9 K/9 in 21.1 IP, including one shutout. Estrada joined the rotation in May and had been their best starter prior to Price arriving. He has also been great in August, 2.05 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 7.0 K/9 in 30.2 IP while going 3-2 in those five starts. He has never faced the Tribe as he spent the majority of his career with the Brewers. Dickey has struggled since signing his big deal three years ago. He has been hittable in August, 4.17 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 5.4 K/9 in 36.2 IP. But he is 4-0 in those 6 starts due to good run support. He last faced the Indians in 2014.

Most of the bullpen has been turned over since April. The Tribe hit the staff pretty well as a whole (6.09 ERA, 1.82 WHIP), but most of those arms have been replaced.

On the Shelf

  • 2B Maicer Izturis [60 day DL], out for season
  • RF Michael Saunders [60 day DL], out for season
  • SP Marcus Strohman [60 day DL], possible September return
  • 2B Devon Travis [15day DL] , no timetable for return

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

2

2

500

24

27

446

2014

2

4

333

29

25

567

Last 5*

17

18

486

148

164

453

Last 10*

39

29

574

320

288

548

All-Time

196

198

497

1871

1865

501

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: The matchups do not favor the Tribe at all this series. Price dominates the Tribe historically and Salazar may not be fully recovered from his illness. I think Estrada beats Anderson. If Dr. Jekyll Bauer shows up, I think the Tribe salvages one of the three games.