The first series of 2012 features the Cleveland Indians hosting the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. As usual this matchup will see each teams top pitchers going against each other to start the season off. Here are those matchups:
Both teams aces had breakout seasons in 2011 cementing their position as ace in their first year in the job. While Romero had a much better overall Spring, Masterson did have a couple very well pitched games in addition to two poor outings. Masterson's main goal on opening day will be to keep the ball down and let his sinker work, testing out the improved Indians infield. With the addition of Casey Kotchman and the inclusion of Jack Hannahan, the Tribe will have no excuses for any ball that finds its way into the outfield on the ground.
Like the rest of the Blue Jays (24-7 record during Spring Training) Brandon Morrow was extremely successful this Spring. Of course we all know how important Spring Training numbers are (just ask the 2011 AL champion Kansas City Royals, 20-10 last year). Even so, the former closer turned starter is definitely a formidable opponent. On the Indians side there is some need for worry. Jimenez had more starts this Spring than any other pitcher but has not been able to put anything consistent together. This comes after a very erratic 2011 and a drop in his fastball velocity as well. Jimenez could find his old self sometime this season, but he is unlikely to find it this week. Jimenez is able to play in the game as he is appealing his five game suspension to start the season.
Carreno will be starting his rookie campaign as the Jays third starter after only pitching in 5 innings this Spring. He has very little Major League experience, limited to only 11 games in relief last season. He jumped straight from AA to the pros last year to throw those 15 innings in his 6th professional year. Derek Lowe will be pitching his first game for the Tribe and is almost the exact opposite of Carreno as we know just what to expect. After 15 years in the Major Leagues, he is a known quantity. Expect about 4 runs allowed per game, 6 strike outs and 3 walks. Ever since he became a starter in 2002, Lowe has started 32 or more games every season. Hopefully he will be able to bring that kind of mediocrity to the Cleveland Indians this season.
Indian's Ace Justin Masterson is ready to go against the Blue Jays tomorrow afternoon.