By Jonny Adornetto @jaysjonesers on April 7, 2014
The Toronto Blue Jays have the luxury of playing against a lowly Houston Astros ball club at the start of their season. After dropping four of their first seven games to division rivals, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, the Jays need to use an inferior Astros baseball team to figure things out and get back on track.
Here are five reasons why this series against the Astros is so important for the Jays.
After what was a very busy Opening Weekend for the Jays in terms of their ticket sales will come the inevitable slide in mid-week game ticket purchases that the city of Toronto is so famous for. If the front office wants to sell tickets for these types of games, the team has to be winning. If the Jays falter against the Astros at home on a Tuesday night, there will be plenty of seats available at any time during the week in the future.
Compared to other major league clubs, having an overall inferior starting pitching rotation is a cause for concern for the Jays. If the Jays want to start to put together a string of wins, their offense will have to come up big more often than not. Lucky for them, there's no better team to tee off on than the Astros. Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera can use these next few games to focus on driving the baseball and driving in runs as well.
The Astros enter their series against the Jays with a record of 3-3. The Jays will face Astros' pitchers Brett Oberholtzer, Lucas Harrell and Dallas Keuchel. All three are responsible for the Astros' three losses on the season. The likes of Colby Rasmus, Brett Lawrie and Ryan Goins can perhaps use the weak Astros pitching to either get back on track or start hitting altogether.
Heading into Tuesday's matchup with the Astros, Melky Cabrera is one of the hottest hitters in Major League Baseball. Like the struggling players on the Jays' ball club, Melky can use the Astros' pitching to stay hot and continue to drive the baseball out of the ballpark. As long as the Jays continue with their subpar pitching rotation, players like Cabrera are going to continue to have to come up big.
R.A. Dickey was the first of the Blue Jays' pitching staff who capitalized on a chance to redeem himself following a rough season debut. Now both Dustin McGowan and Brandon Morrow need to follow suit if they want to restore any hope to the Jays' front office and more importantly their fans. The Astros don't bring a lot of power to the plate with their lineup, so the Jays' pitching needs to put up great numbers and dominate at all costs.
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