After a disappointing series in Oakland, the Jays (52-42) now go to Arizona for a two-game set with the Diamondbacks (40-53). The DBacks have played true to their record this month, as they have gone 3-9. The teams split the two-game series at the Rogers Centre four weeks ago. The Jays will send Aaron Sanchez to the mound on Tuesday, opposite Zack Godley (9:40 PM ET). Marcus Stroman gets the start on Wednesday afternoon against Patrick Corbin (3:40 PM ET). This is the last series on the road before the trade deadline.
The Meeting on the Mound
Aaron Sanchez gets the start on Tuesday night after an extended rest. Now that the second half of the season is truly and fully upon us, the discussion surrounding his innings limit will only get louder. The most he can do is continue to pitch as well as he has all year. As long as he looks sharp, management will have a difficult time trying to rationalize a move to the bullpen. On the Diamondbacks’ side, Zack Godley has not lived up to his surname. In only 15.1 innings, he has pitched to an ugly BB/9 of 4.11 and a HR/9 of 1.17. If he continues to pitch like that, then the Jays should be able to circle the base paths all night.
Following the soon-to-be ace will be the ace that might have been. Marcus Stroman struggled against the A’s on Friday night. That performance was in contrast to his previous three, in which he had shown considerable progress. With no legitimate options to replace him, he remains the fifth best starter in the organization. As such, the Jays need to rely on him for the rest of the season (unless they acquire a couple of starters). They can only hope that he will regain his form from before the break. The Diamondbacks will respond with Patrick Corbin. The lefty was impressive in Toronto, where he limited the Jays to two runs over 6.1 innings. The four starts that followed were less impressive. Corbin is a better pitcher than he has shown this season, and could perform as such against the Jays for a second time.
Players to Watch
With the trade deadline getting ever closer, fans will want to keep tabs on all possible targets. The Diamondbacks have had a disastrous campaign thus far, and could be in line for a rebuild. There have been reports that they are willing to trade some relievers, most notably Tyler Clippard. He is the one pitcher on their roster that could be of interest to the Blue Jays. It helps that he has a decent contract with another year of control. These two games will provide an opportunity for management to see him in action.
On the Blue Jays side, one player who stood out in the Athletics series was Michael Saunders. Captain Canada had a miserable three games, as he went 0-for-10 with four strikeouts. The Jays need better production from their cleanup man. While his struggles in Oakland shouldn’t continue, he is worth keeping an eye on to see how well he bounces back.
The final player to watch is Paul Goldschmidt, but that’s just because he’s an excellent player. It’s not every day that the Jays get to see the Goldschmidts and Harpers (and Colons) of the world, so this opportunity shouldn’t be missed.