Sports Baseball

On deck for Jays

By Scott Mitchell, Toronto Sun

Wily Peralta takes the mound for Milwaukee Tuesday. (AP)

Wily Peralta takes the mound for Milwaukee Tuesday. (AP)

TORONTO - 

ON DECK

 

Milwaukee at Toronto, April 11-12, Rogers Centre

STARTING PITCHERS

TUESDAY, 7:07 p.m.

RHP Wily Peralta (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (0-1, 3.86 ERA)

Peralta shut down the Colorado Rockies over five scoreless innings to win his season debut, while Happ struck out nine in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

WEDNESDAY, 7:07 p.m.

RHP Chase Anderson (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (1-0, 1.42 ERA)

Stroman parlayed his strong spring into an excellent first start to beat the Rays, while a solo homer was Anderson’s only blemish in a no-decision against Colorado.

THREE STORYLINES

1—TOUGH START

Starting off the season 1-5 and sitting in the basement of the AL East wasn’t the plan, but it’s nothing a solid week of baseball can’t fix. The Jays will be hoping to gain back some of the early ground lost during a nine-game homestand that will also see the Orioles and Boston Red Sox come to town. While the Jays are 26-14 all-time in home openers, they’ve lost five lid-lifters in a row and six of their past seven. The Jays went 11-14 last April, proving all is not lost with a mediocre first month.

2—BULLPEN SHUFFLE

Closer Roberto Osuna (neck) is expected to be ready to come off the 10-day disabled list in time for the home opener, which is perfect timing because left-hander J.P. Howell was just lost to a DL stint of his own due to a shoulder strain. That leaves Aaron Loup as the only lefty in the bullpen, but manager John Gibbons has already said he won’t shy away from using Osuna on back-to-back days right away.

3—DORMANT BATS

Through the first week of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have scored the most runs in baseball with 48. At the other end of that spectrum are the Atlanta Braves with 18 runs. Just above that, 28th in baseball, sit the Jays with 20 runs scored. A slash line of .201/.279/.297 isn’t going to win you many ballgames.

STACKING UP

Toronto Stat Milwaukee

20 (last) Runs 29 (6th)

4 (14th) HR 10 (1st)

0 (last) SB 3 (9th)

.202 (14th) BA .215 (12th)

.280 (13th) OBP .292 (13th)

4.83 (12th) SP ERA 5.13 (12th)

4.37 (10th) RP ERA 3.41 (6th)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

3B Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays

The last thing the Jays wanted to see was their MVP exiting a game with a calf injury, but that’s exactly what happened Sunday in Tampa. Will it force him to miss any time? Stay tuned.

1B Eric Thames, Brewers

As a lefty bat who can play first and the outfield, some thought Toronto would be a fit for Thames, the opening day left fielder for the Jays in 2012, before he inked a three-year, $16-million deal in Milwaukee.

MITCHELL’S TAKE

Since Milwaukee moved to the National League in time for the 1998 season, the Brewers and Jays have seen each other for just five series since. The last meetings came in 2014, with the Jays sweeping a mini two-game set in Toronto and then splitting another two-gamer in Milwaukee. Both teams are struggling out of the gates in 2017, but one is obviously a tad more concerning than the other considering it’s no secret the Brewers are in a rebuild. Sending Happ and Stroman to the hill at home should be a good way to get back on track.

WAR BOARD

Wins Above Replacement Leaders

BLUE JAYS

1—3B Josh Donaldson 0.5

2—SP Aaron Sanchez 0.2

3—SP Marcus Stroman 0.2

4—RP Dominic Leone 0.1

5—SP J.A. Happ 0.1

BREWERS

1—3B Travis Shaw 0.3

2—SP Tommy Milone 0.3

3—1B Eric Thames 0.2

4—SP Wily Peralta 0.2

5—1B Jesus Aguilar 0.2

MLB LEADERS

1—SP Noah Syndergaard 0.8

2—SP Chris Archer 0.6

3—C J.T. Realmuto 0.6

4—RF Steven Souza Jr. 0.6

5—12 players tied 0.5

FanGraphs WAR explained: 1-2 WAR, role player; 2-3 WAR, solid starter; 3-4 WAR, good player; 4-5 WAR, all-star; 5-6 WAR, superstar; 6+ WAR, MVP.