Toronto Blue Jays vs. Colorado Rockies Pick & Prediction APRIL 13th 2024

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Yariel Rodriguez is scheduled to make his major league debut Saturday afternoon against the visiting Colorado Rockies.

The 27-year-old Rodriguez arrived from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday, and the plan is to activate him Saturday to make the start.

The Rockies will counter with right-hander Dakota Hudson (0-2, 2.38 ERA). Colorado used a 20-hit attack to win the opener of the three-game set 12-4 on Friday night.

Rodriguez is signed to a five-year, $32-million contract with Toronto, although he did not pitch professionally in 2023 after pitching in Japan.

He had 10 strikeouts over 6 1/3 shutout innings for Buffalo.

Right-hander Bowden Francis (0-2, 12.96) had been scheduled to start for Toronto on Saturday, but he likely will come out of the bullpen to take over for Rodriguez in a tag-team approach.

“I think that makes sense when you’re looking at that (fifth) spot in the rotation, for sure,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “So I think we’ll probably roll it out with some kind of consistency. But it’s a nice little tandem there.”

Francis was solid as a reliever last season and earned a starting role with a good spring training.

“Asking any pitcher to transform into a major league starter is tough,” Schneider said. “Not that we don’t think (Bowden) can do it. But when you have other avenues to (consider), I think it’s beneficial. Bowden in (a relief) role, if you’re looking for a good sixth and seventh inning or something, he’s more than capable.”

Rodriguez most recently played Sunday for Buffalo, throwing 47 pitches. His season high is 55.

“He just has such a good pitch mix,” said catcher Brian Serven, who worked regularly with Rodriguez during spring training. “He’s so calm and his motion is so clean that you just go to sleep on him, and then everything explodes out of his hand.”

Hudson will make his third start with the Rockies and will pitch against Toronto for the first time in his career. He took the loss last Sunday against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, allowing three runs on seven hits across six innings in the Rays’ 3-2 victory.

On Friday, in the Rockies’ first-ever win in Toronto after going 0-9 in three previous trips, Colorado got solo home runs from Nolan Jones and Ezequiel Tovar.

“It was a good feeling to see us break out the way we did,” said second baseman Brendan Rodgers, who was 3-for-4 with his first RBI of the season. “You play 12 games (without) an RBI and you think, ‘When am I going to come through?’ I struck out the other day with the bases loaded, and that one really hurt. So just putting the ball in play pretty much does the job, and it felt good to get that RBI.”

Friday marked the sixth time in franchise history that the Rockies recorded at least 20 hits in a road game. Colorado hit eight doubles, one shy of the club single-game record.

“It was great,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “It’s contagious. Let’s hope so, though we won’t know until tomorrow.”

Toronto’s Kevin Gausman had his second straight poor start, allowing six runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

The Blue Jays are 2-2 on their nine-game homestand.

–Field Level Media

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