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Series Preview: Blue Jays come to town for Alex Cobb’s return

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Rays come home from a frustrating road trip where they went 2-4 that could easily have been 4-2. The Blue Jays will make the trip down to St. Pete to take on the Rays.

The big story is the return of Alex Cobb to the starting rotation, and you can read all about what to expect from him tonight here.

The Matchups:

Friday: Marcus Stroman vs Alex Cobb

Saturday: JA Happ? vs Blake Snell

Sunday: TBA vs Chris Archer

Stroman is the only starter that’s been announced.

The Blue Jays announced that they will also be going to a six man rotation in order to keep Aaron Sanchez’s innings down without moving him to the bullpen. Sanchez started Wednesday, so he’s likely the only starter that you could rule out for this series.

Marcus Stroman has had a real disappointing year based on runs allowed. He’s put up a 4.58 ERA, but his FIP is only 3.66. His 67.3% left on base rate which is the sixth lowest among qualified starters. He’s been a home prone with a 17.1% homerun per fly ball rate, but he his league leading 60.9% ground ball rate helps him avoid too much damage.

Blue Jays bullpen has been their weakest link.

The Blue Jays pen has allowed a 3.95 ERA and 3.87 FIP, but the rotation has limited them to a league low 374.0 innings. The Blue Jays have burned through 22 different arms this season from the bullpen.

Roberto Osuna has been great in the closers role. He has a 2.48 ERA and 2.99 FIP while converting 29 of 32 save opportunities. He’s struck out 31.3% and walked 4.8% of batters faced. Left handed batters have had much better success specifically with a .226 ISO.

Joseph Biagini is probably the biggest impact player taken in the rule 5 draft this year. He’s thrown 56.0 innings of 2.24 ERA and 2.34 FIP baseball. He has yet to allow a homer. He doesn’t strike out a lot with a 20.0% strikeout rate, but he’s done a good job limiting walks at 5.4%.

Josh Donaldson might win a second AL MVP.

The Blue Jays offense has been disappointing coming off a season where they led the league in runs scored. They have still put up 653 runs to this point though.

Josh Donaldson is putting together an excellent season after winning the AL MVP last year. He hitting .296/.407/.579 and a 162 wRC+. He’s stayed healthy and played good defense on his way to putting up a 7.0 fWAR season with a month remaining.

Edwin Encarnacion has been the second best bat for the Blue Jays. He is hitting .265/.357/.544 and 138 wRC+ with 36 homers.

Jose Bautista hasn’t had the season he would hope to have heading into free agency. He’s hitting a good, but not great .230/.351/.460 and 117 wRC+. He’s been injured for parts of the season and hasn’t been great on defense.

Hope everybody is safe from the storm.

For our readers in northern Florida I hope they were able to stay safe and continue to do so. I wish everybody the best in cleaning up the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine. It will be interesting to see if the Category 1 storm has any impact on tonight’s game, on or off the field.

On the bright side, it will be nice to see Alex Cobb finally return tonight almost two years after his last start in the majors. He will be on a pitch count and the Blue Jays offense is a tough first test.