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Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and Dustin McGowan are the three Blue Jays starters slated to pitch in this upcoming series.
Buehrle was spectacular in his first outing against the Tampa Bay Rays, going 8.2 innings and giving up no runs while striking out 11.
But Morrow and McGowan both labored in their first starts of the season, resulting in the team losing those two games.
Morrow pitched five innings in his start against the Rays and gave up four runs on seven hits. McGowan struggled even more, giving up four runs on eight hits in just 2.2 innings against the Yankees during the Blue Jays' home opener.
More is expected out of these two pitchers and both of them will be looking to rebound against the Astros.
Morrow especially is expected to be one of the top pitchers in the rotation this season. The 29-year-old had a season to forget to last year where he struggled in his first few starts before being shut down for the year due to an entrapped radial nerve in his right forearm.
The hope was that, coming into this season healthy, the right-hander would finally take that next step and build off an excellent 2012 campaign, during which he posted a 2.96 ERA in 124.2 innings pitched.
But after having trouble locating his fastball during most of spring training and then his first start of the season, Morrow has plenty of work to do if he wants to finally deliver on all his potential.
While Morrow is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future, things are much less certain for McGowan.
The 32-year-old won his spot on the rotation during the final week of spring training, but he isn’t guaranteed to hold it for long if he keeps having poor outings.
McGowan’s start against the Yankees was his first since 2008, but he showed that his stuff is still there.
The right-hander hit 95 mph on his fastball and generated several swing-and-misses off his slider. But he also failed to put everything together, getting deep into counts and having trouble getting hitters out.
While McGowan’s place on the team is secure, his spot on the rotation is not. He could be shifted to the bullpen if he has similar problems in future starts.
The Blue Jays are carrying Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond in their bullpen, and it’s worth noting that both these pitchers started games for the team last season. One of them could be tabbed to take McGowan’s spot in the rotation if he can't pitch deeper into games.