The Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians get their weekend series underway tonight, with Marcus Stroman and Mike Clevinger hitting the hump on Friday night. It hasn’t been a bad start for the Blue Jays at all. Not necessarily great, but I think many people thought the sky was falling on this team after they lost Jose Bautista.
Edwin Encarnacion already hit the market for more money, ultimately landing here in Cleveland with the Indians. And then Bautista who is still waiting for a team to sign him. He isn’t going to settle for cheap, but he certainly isn’t going back to Toronto, especially after the signing of Randal Grichuk. Grichuk hasn’t been great this year by any means, it’s been a slow start for the former Cardinal. However, there are no doubts about Bautista returning to the Blue Jays.
There shouldn’t be a team out there willing to pay him big numbers. He saw a sharp decline in number a year ago and isn’t getting any younger. I expect him to settle on a contract eventually, though. It isn’t that the Jays want him back, but it’s more so about replacing the production he gave them when he was flipping bats and getting the whole state of Texas. Grichuk has posted an abysmal batting average of 0.77, along with just 1 long ball and 2 RBI’s. The Jays as a team are doing fine, though, as they head into the weekend with a record of 8-5. I don’t expect them to be much of a threat to the top of the American League East, but they might be better than many expected. Head below for our free Blue Jays vs. Indians pick.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
Marcus Stroman (0-1, 8.38 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (1-0, 0.71 ERA)
I think for the Blue Jays to be successful, there must be a strong year from Stroman. They’re depending on him to reach the same level of success he did in 2017. Stroman yielded a nice ERA of 3.09, in what was an otherwise down year for the Jays. They finished with a record of 76-86 for 4th in the AL East. That of course is not going to get it done. Stroman has gotten off to a rocky start to the 2018 season. He heads into Friday with an ERA of 8.38 and was out there throwing BP for the Yankees and Rangers. He allowed 4 runs against the Yanks in his first outing of the year, and then followed it up with another less than desirable start against the Rangers with 5 runs allowed. It was a disaster in Texas, surrendering the 5 runs for a 9.64 ERA and 2.36 WHIP.
On the other side, Clevinger has been doing nothing wrong. I noted previously in the past that he is the most underrated pitcher in their rotation. A couple of starts don’t tell the whole story, but Clevinger is looking rather strong already. He owns a 0.71 ERA with just 1 run allowed in just over 12 innings of work. Dating back to last season, he hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in his last ten appearances. 2 runs only came up once as well. I think the Blue Jays are overachieving slightly at the moment. They should be a team who finishes below .500 again, but we’ll see how it goes. I like the Indians to get the job done behind another solid performance from Clevinger.