clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Blue Jays series preview

New, 23 comments

It’s been 12 years since the Jays have been at Wrigley.

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The 2017 season has been tremendously disappointing for the Blue Jays. A postseason team in 2016, they had been expected to contend this year. They got off to a horrendous 6-17 start and despite a decent run in May and June in which they got to within a game of .500 six different times, they have never been at the break-even point all season.

Since the Cubs haven’t played the Jays in three years, and not at Wrigley since 2005, I asked Tom Dakers, manager of our SB Nation Blue Jays site Bluebird Banter, to update us on his team.

The Blue Jays started the season with one win in their first 10 games and have played roughly .500 ball since. They had a good May, going 18-10, and flirted with the .500 mark several times, without ever actually making it to the to break-even mark. When the calendar turned to June, they were back to playing crappy baseball.

All in, it’s a pretty mediocre team, there isn’t anything they do particularly well, other than filling the disabled list with names. Right now, Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki (both likely gone for the season), Russell Martin, Aaron Sanchez and four others are on the DL.

Offensively, they have been a major disappointment. It appears they have been suddenly stuck down with old age. They are second to the bottom of the American League in runs. The only pleasant surprise has been Justin Smoak, who is having an All-Star caliber season. Everyone else has either been disappointing or has spent much of the season on the DL. Beyond him, Josh Donaldson seems to have finally pulled out of a long slump and Steve Pearce has two walk-off grand slams in the past month.

The pitching has been, somewhat, better, but cursed with injuries and inconsistency. 28 different pitchers have appeared in games and 12 different pitchers have made starts. It seems like every time through the rotation the Jays are throwing out another journeyman starter and hoping he show enough to prove he deserves a second start. The only starter who has been consistently good is Marcus Stroman and you are lucky enough to be missing him. He is great to watch.

Add in that the Jays are terrible on defense and on the basepaths, it hasn’t been a fun season.

Overall, they are in a strange spot: The team refused to fall far enough back to convince management to go full rebuild at the deadline, but since April they haven’t spent more than a couple of days out of last place in the AL East. Being 3½ games back of the Wild Card spot keeps us thinking that a hot streak could put the Jays in the race, but that hot streak hasn’t happened.

Not-so-fun fact

The last time these teams met was in Toronto in 2014. The Jays swept the Cubs and outscored them 28-3 in the three-game series.

Things are better now.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (12-8, 3.73 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 4.00 FIP) vs. J.A. Happ, LHP (6-8, 3.63 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, 4.19 FIP)

Saturday: Jose Quintana, LHP (7-10, 4.33 ERA, 1.270 WHIP, 4.10 FIP) vs. Nick Tepesch, RHP (1-2, 5.25 ERA, 1.917 WHIP, 9.55 FIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (4-4, 3.45 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 4.14 FIP) vs. Marco Estrada, RHP (5-8, 5.09 ERA, 1.461 WHIP, 4.54 FIP)

  • Jose Quintana’s numbers above include his 18 starts with the White Sox. With the Cubs: six starts, 3-2, 3.86 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 4.39 FIP

Times & TV channels

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago, MLB Network (outside the Chicago market)

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, MLB Network (outside the Chicago market)

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

The Jays have played a bit better recently (10-5 in August) but this fits their 2017 pattern: do well for a while, then go on a skid. The Cubs have favorable pitching matchups in all three games here, and the Jays just got finished taking three of four from the Rays at home, so it seems time for them to start losing again, and they are 25-33 on the road. I don’t like predicting sweeps, so I’ll say two of three.

Up next

The Cubs are off Monday, then head to Cincinnati for a three-game rematch of this week’s Wrigley series against the Reds beginning Tuesday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Blue Jays?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    3
    (43 votes)
  • 41%
    2
    (58 votes)
  • 22%
    1
    (32 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (8 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now