With 12 straight wins under their belts and the continental United States thoroughly conquered, the Cleveland Indians will turn to Canada as their next landing spot. Specifically, they will target the metropolitan city of Toronto to take down the Toronto Blue Jays.
Before this series even begins, the Indians already have their longest winning streak since 1951. A win tonight in Game 1 would tie the franchise record, while a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays would send the Indians fanbase into unprecedented levels of hypeness.
Fatigue could potentially play a part for the Tribe, who played a 7:10 p.m. game down in Atlanta yesterday and are playing another 7:10 p.m. game tonight. Following that, they play three-straight afternoon games.
Thursday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Carrasco (RHP) vs. R.A. Dickey (RHP)
If you are sick of hearing about the Chris Archer trade as an Indians fan, imagine how Blue Jays fans must feel about the R.A. Dickey trade. Toronto acquired the veteran knuckleballer when his value was at its highest, right after he won a Cy Young award, and they had to send away some prospect by the name of Noah Syndergaard to get him.
Even though Dickey has been an above-average pitcher for the Blue Jays, it cannot feel good seeing Thor take over New York like he has.
This season, so far, has arguably been Dickey's worst with the Jays. In 16 starts he carries a 4.23 ERA and a 5.22 FIP. His current 8.4 percent walk rate would be the highest of his career since 2009 if it holds over the whole season. In his last start, Dickey lasted 5.1 innings against the Chicago White Sox and allowed four earned runs off six hits. He has allowed at least one home run in his last four starts -- 17 total on the season.
The Indians will send a rejuvenated Carlos Carrasco to the mound. Cookie is coming off his best start the season -- a complete-game shutout of the Detroit Tigers in which he allowed just one walk and struck out seven. He already has two shutouts on the season (9 starts) and his ERA has dropped to 2.73.
Friday, 1:07 p.m. ET: Josh Tomlin (RHP) vs. Marcus Stroman (RHP)
With David Price leaving the Blue Jays and heading for the Boston Red Sox, Marcus Stroman was left as the Blue Jays' ace pitcher. He has not lived up the moniker so far this season. He currently holds a 5.33 ERA (worst among Toronto starters) and a 4.05 FIP.
Stroman is currently in the midst of a string of bad starts, including his last: a five-inning loss to the White Sox in which he allowed four earned runs off seven hits. Stroman has allowed five or more runs in five of his 16 starts this season.
Josh Tomlin rounds out the best rotation in the league; his last outing was an eight-inning win against the Tigers. In 14 starts this season, Tomlin has 56 strikeouts to just eight walks. That is crazy.
Saturday, 1:07 p.m. ET: Trevor Buaer (RHP) vs. Marco Estrada (RHP)
Similar to Josh Tomlin, Marco Estrada has peripherals that say he should not be a great pitcher, yet he has a 2.81 ERA. His 4.06 FIP (and 4.52 xFIP) suggests he is due for regression, mostly due to a "low" -- but high for him -- 34.8 percent ground ball rate and a low 9.4 percent HR/FB ratio. Estrada's opponents have also had a .189 BABIP against him this season.
After allowing two or fewer runs in six of his first nine starts, Estrada has two straight games with three runs allowed.
Trevor Bauer continues to be a surprise this season, with Chris Gimenez serving as his personal catcher. His groundball rate has jumped to 50 percent from 39.2 percent last season, and he is walking fewer batters than he ever has in his career (2.99 BB/9).
Sunday, 1:07 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) vs. J.A. Happ (LHP)
After a season away from Toronto last season, J.A. Happ returned to the great white north in 2016. His strikeout rate is down this season (16.9% in 2016, 19.5% in career). Happ is coming off a rough game against the Colorado Rockies in which he allowed five earned runs off nine hits.
Corey Kluber, on the other hand, could not be hotter coming into this series. In his last two outings he has pitched 17 innings and allowed two earned runs with 16 strikeouts and just three walks. The Klubot is back.
The Indians will finally return home after this series to face the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. They finished the month of June 11-0 at Progressive Field.
Team in a box
The Blue Jays are middle-of-the-road in just about everything this season, and it reflects in their win/loss record and position in the competitive American League East. They are coming off two-straight wins over the Colorado Rockies and have won four of their last six, overall.
Toronto Blue Jay roster
- C: Russel Martin
- 1B: Justin Smoak
- 2B: Devon Travis
- SS: Troy Tulowitzki
- 3B: Josh Donaldson
- LF: Michael Saunders
- CF: Kevin Pillar
- RF: Eziquiel Carrera
- DH: Edwin Encarnarcion
- IF: Darwin Barney
- IF: Ryan Goins
- OF: Junior Lake
- C: Josh Thole
- RHP: Marcus Stroman
- RHP: R.A. Dickey
- RHP: Marco Estrada
- LHP: J.A. Happ
- RHP: Aaron Sanchez
- RHP: Joe Biagini
- RHP: Jesse Chavez
- RHP: Jason Grilli
- RHP: Roberto Osuna
- RHP: Bo Schultz
- RHP: Drew Storen
- RHP: Ryan Tepera
- OF: Jose Bautista, 15-day DL
- LHP: Brett Cecil, 15-day DL
- RHP: Gavin Floyd, 15-day DL
- LHP: Franklin Morales, 60-day DL