Pitching Match Ups
Drew Hutchinson vs. Justin Masterson
The Toronto pitching staff seemed to suffer UCL injuries across the board the last few years and are just now regrouping. Hutchinson is one of those and early on he’s looked pretty good. Two starts is nothing, and one against the Yankees was as ugly as the start against the Orioles was brilliant, but somewhere in there lies Drew. He must be good – the Jays moved him from High-A to the majors after only a few innings in Double-A, and his stuff looks nice. Four-seamer in the low to mid-90’s, slider and change to complelent along with a two-seamer. He’s been projected as a back of the rotation starter, so it’s nothing shiny, but he’s still a good pitcher. Plus, teh Indians haven’t really seen him, so that could be bad for them. Thing about Tommy John is too, we have no way of knowing what kind of pitcher Hutchinson will be. At least he has the name of a pitcher though.
After some rudimentary digging into the Pitch FX data on Fangraphs, I think I found one decent reason why Justin Masterson is struggling in the early goings. It’s silly to put it all on one pitch and surely there’s more to it, but he’s just not getting the swing and misses he was on his slider as last year. The biggest reason he made a jump into pseudo-elite last year, or at least mid level acedom was because that slider was so wicked. It gave him an extra plane to work with so batters were even more off-balance. It could just be early and he still doesn’t have a feel for it, and he’s also shown decreased velocity on his fastball thus far, so it could just be April stretching out.
Jonah Keri of Grantland called Buehrle the Cy Young front runner. He’s been dealing this year and just notched his second career double-digit strikeout game. Big things are in the making for the young man, is what I’d say if he weren’t 35 years old. Anyway, I’m actually a little excited to see Mark – we’ve got good memories of him, even if they weren’t always happy. A little nostalgia can be a good thing. We all know who he is though – nothing special for seven innings, suddenly you’re losing and he’s walking off the mound in an hour and a half en route to a win. That’s Mark.
You know who’s awesome? Corey Kluber. You know who was awesome his last time out in particular? Corey Kluber. Seven and change innings of two run ball, the guy deserved the win he worked for, if Alexei Ramirez hadn’t come along and spoiled everything. He’s still prone as ever to home runs, bad news facing the Blue Jays because they can donk it. He has yet to face Toronto in his career, but hopefully he knows to avoid the middle of the zone or down and in against Bautista. I figure Cabrera will hit a leadoff homer, but that’s just what happens sometimes. As for why he’s been so good the last two starts, best I can figure is his slider has been particularly wicked (21.7 swinging strikes) and somehow, he’s only thrown his four-seamer six times. Perhaps he’s realized movement his his ally and he’s throwing everything with a little english on it. It’s something to watch for. He’s also featuring his sinker much more, and it looks a lot like a fastball out of his hand. Similar speed too. Keep the ball low, Corey wins.
There’s a whole lot of what if surrounding Brandon Morrow even though he’s only 29. It’s usually reserved for those 35-year olds, but Morrow was always almost there – electric fastball, gnarly breaker, nice offspeed work and decent walk rates. But the injury bug kept hitting, whether arm, lat muscle, leg, everything just tweaked up. He even missed all of last year with a weird radial problem in his shoulder. He can still bring it, you just never know when its all going to blow up on him. He’s nice to have as a fifth starter and if he gets it all together and stays healthy there’s not many holes in that rotation. We’ll see. At some point he might have to make the trek to the bullpen for good. He could be solid out of it, with the stuff he brings. Expect strikeouts this game.
I’m as big a proponent of Carlos Carrasco as anyone but as my Twitter feed shows, I’m getting a little tired of this. He shows flashes of such incredible brilliance surrounded by these long spells of misery and garbagery. He can be unhittable, perhaps that’s why he frustrates so. I have a feeling he’ll end up in the pen before long. Against the Sox last time out, he trusted his stuff unendingly, to his own detriment. He gave up five runs in less than five innings and got lucky on a few at ‘em balls that could have been runs too. I’m not sure what else to say – is composure the key? Should he embrace his energy and fury, try to focus it like the Death Star laser? Should he meditate and do yoga? Who knows. He’s so young still it’s dumb to quit on the guy, but if the rest of the pitching staff continues to struggle along with him Carrasco is probably the first to go to the minors or pen. This will be his first time facing the Jays.