Blue Jays’ righty packed lineup won’t get to beat up on lefties vs. Royals

3 Comments

Toronto’s lineup knocked around everyone during the regular season, leading MLB in runs with 891 when no other team scored more than 764, but the Blue Jays were especially dominant against left-handed pitching.

They led all of baseball in on-base percentage (.354) and slugging percentage (.463) versus lefties, posting a combined .818 OPS off southpaws that was tops in MLB and 70 points higher than any other playoff team.

And that dominance against lefties makes plenty of sense, because Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, and Chris Colabello are all right-handed hitters. They faced left-handed starters in four of the five games against the Rangers in the ALDS, going 3-1 in those games and making particularly quick work of poor Derek Holland in Game 4.

Toronto is built to beat up lefties, but here’s the thing: Kansas City won’t be using any left-handed starters in the ALCS–going with righties Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, and Johnny Cueto as their rotation–and may not use a left-handed reliever much either. Only five of the 24 pitchers the Royals used this season were left-handed are only two of those five–Danny Duffy and Franklin Morales–are on the playoff roster, both in middle/long relief roles.

If the Blue Jays are going to put up crooked numbers in the ALCS they’ll have to do their damage against right-handed pitchers. They’re definitely capable of that–Toronto also led the league in OPS versus righties, albeit with less dominant numbers–but it’s one subtle advantage Kansas City has in the series.