Toronto Blue Jays-Los Angeles Angels Series Preview: Pitching Match-Ups

Adam GreuelSenior Analyst IJune 2, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 09:  Brian Tallet #56 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Oakland Athletics on May 9, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I guess the off day, and coming home after a nine game losing streak was exactly what the Jays needed. A sweep would have been nice, but considering the circumstances, taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox and pulling within a game of them is pretty good.

There is another much needed off-day today, so our series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starts tomorrow at the Rogers Center. Here are the pitching match-up previews.

Roy Halladay (8-1, 2.63 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (6-3, 3.26 ERA)

Advantage: Jays

Despite the two off days within a week, Halladay is still pitching on four days rest as the Jays elected to skip Scott Richmonds start. This game should be a pitching duel as it involves both teams ace's.

Halladay is once again vying for the Cy Young Award as proven by his amazing 8-1 record and 2.63 ERA. Halladay has also thrown 82 innings this season, putting him on pace for 255. In those 82 innings, he has struck out 68 batters and only walked 11.

Halladay has a smooth, repeatable delivery with a low three-quarter arm slot. He has incredible command of his pitches including a low-90’s tailing fastball that he can cut or sink, a very good change up, and a tight curve with a huge bite that can be thrown at any point in the count.

With John Lackey out because of an injury, Saunders has been one of the best Angels pitchers along with Jared Weaver. Saunders is 6-3 this year with a very respectable 3.26 ERA. He has struck out just 33 batters in 66 innings and has walked 19.

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Saunders has a good fast ball and uses a very effective Change-up to keep hitters off balance but he can become predictable which leads to him giving up to many hits.

Casey Janssen (1-1, 4.15 ERA) vs. Jared Weaver (4-2, 2.36 ERA)

Advantage: Angels

Casey Janssen made his first appearance in the MLB on May 23rd since 2007 after a torn Labrum kept him out for the entire season last year. Janssen has not looked to bad so far, going 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA.

In his 13 innings of work, Janssen has struck out just two batters while walking three. His WHIP and opposition batting average are not looking to good but they will get better with time.

His pitches include a 90 mph two-seam fastball, a slider, change-up, and curveball. Janssen doesn't strike out many batters because of the lack of a true out pitch, so he induces a lot of ground ball outs.

Weaver has become the Angels best starter this season with the absence of John Lackey due to injury. He is 4-2 this year with an amazing 2.36 ERA in ten starts. He has also pitched two complete games.

In 68 and two-thirds innings, Weaver has struck out 53 batters and has only walked 18. Hitters are only hitting with a .213 average against him and he has a very impressive 1.03 WHIP.

Weavers arsenal includes a low-90's four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a good slider, and a change-up. He controls all these pitches with good command.

Brian Tallet (3-3, 4.26 ERA) vs. John Lackey (1-1, 6.05 ERA)

Advantage: Tie

This is a tie because we all know Lackey can be a very good pitcher, but he hasn't shown that since returning from injury and Tallet has been a very pleasant surprise for the Jays this year.

Tallet started the year in the bullpen, but was put into the rotation after Jesse Litsch became sidelined due to a strained forearm. So far, Tallet has gone 3-3 with a 4.26 ERA, having pitched 13 games, nine of them starts.

In 61 and one-third innings, Tallet has struck out 47 batters and walked 29. He has a 1.24 WHIP and an amazing opposition batting average of just .206! Tallets fastball tops out in the lower 90`s and he compliments it with a slider and change-up. His control is not very good most of the time.

Meanwhile, John Lackey started the year on the disabled list and has taken some time to shake off the rust. Lackey is 1-1 with a 6.05 ERA in just four starts.

In 19 and one-third innings, Lackey has struck out ten batters and walked three. He has a WHIP of 1.40 and opposing batters are hitting .340 off of him.

Lackeys arsenal includes a two-seam fastball with late sink, a four-seam straight fastball, a 12-6 curveball, a late breaking slider with which he can change speeds with and a change-up with average tailing action.

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