The Indians have badly struggled at the start, going 9-15 early on.
Since the last time the Jays and Indians met, Trevor Crowe and Travis Hafner have either been injured or been sent to the minors. In their place, David Delucci, Matt LaPorta, and Luis Valbuena have joined the team, after strong starts in AAA Columbus.
However, the pitching staff continues to struggle, with a 5.90 ERA, second worst to the Yankees 5.92 ERA.
Some of the factors that should be considered in this series include:
Why the Jays will win
1. Tough hitting squad
The Jays are still No. 1 in the league in hits, runs scored, RBIs and batting average. This could be bad for Cleveland, who have given up the third most hits in the AL, at 236, nearly 10 hits a game. They will have a good chance at taking advantage at the wild arms of Cleveland, who lead the AL in giving up walks (103)
Patience is important for the Jays to succeed.
2. Home Run Derby
Next to Baltimore, Cleveland's pitching staff is third in the league in giving up HR's, at 33 so far.
3. Cleveland's Weak Defense
Due to the weakness of their defense due to Jhonny Peralta and Mark DeRosa, they are fourth worst in the AL in defense, whereas Toronto is No. 1.
4. Lousy bullpen
Cleveland has struggled in the bullpen, with arms such as Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez and others struggling. If the Jays knock out the starter early, they may have a chance to win.
5. Very lousy starters
Anthony Reyes (7.58 ERA) and Fausto Carmona(6.28 ERA) absolutely stink. With numbers like this, the Indians will be calling to the bullpen quickly, giving the Jays a great chance of winning.
Why Cleveland will win
1. Solid Catching
Kelly Shoppach and Victor Martinez are rock solid behind the plate, allowing only 12 SBs. Despite this, they have struggled to throw runners out, only able to catch two runners so far this season. In addition, they can contribute with the bat as well.
2. Unproven Toronto Pitching
Brian Tallet and Brett Cecil are the starters this week, and Tallet struggled last start against Kansas City. However, he was good in Chicago, so he should rebound. Brett Cecil is making his MLB debut, and struggled in Vegas, likely due to the air and design in that ballpark.
3. Good, Paitent Batters
Like Toronto, Cleveland is near the top in BBs at 108. Whether they can take advantage is a question.
With these factors, both teams should have a chance to win, but Toronto may have the advantage.
Projection: 1-1 split. It depends what happens with Brett Cecil and Brian Tallet. However, the lousy Cleveland pitching and the Travis Hafner injury give us a major advantage.