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Blue Jays staying course with 5-man rotation

Hendriks to take next turn on Tuesday in series opener against Tigers

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have decided to stick with the status quo in their starting rotation. With an off-day on Monday that means everyone will get a little bit of extra rest.

The last time Toronto had an off-day was May 19 and it allowed the club to temporarily go with a four-man rotation. Right-hander Liam Hendriks has since been named the club's No. 5 starter and although the Blue Jays had the option to skip his next outing that's not the decision they decided to make.

Hendriks will get the start on Tuesday in the series opener at Detroit. R.A. Dickey and J.A. Happ will follow before the Blue Jays return home for an Interleague series vs. the Cardinals.

"At this moment, yes," manager John Gibbons said of moving forward with a five-man rotation.

It's technically hard to argue with Hendriks' numbers. Through two starts, he has allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over 11 2/3 innings. He recorded a quality start in a 3-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday night and has done enough to keep the Blue Jays in both of the games he pitched.

The problem is that the pitching lines have also been deceiving. During the outing vs. Tampa Bay, Hendriks got seven of his outs on fly balls hit to the warning track. There was also a shot into the second deck by Desmond Jennings that went just foul, a double off the wall by Matt Joyce and a two-run homer off the bat of Wil Myers.

There also was a series of spectacular plays made by the Blue Jays' defense that kept the game tied at 2 until the ninth inning. In other words, the start could have gone a whole lot differently if not for a series of events that worked in Hendriks' favor.

"I thought early on he wasn't using his offspeed pitch enough," Gibbons said. "He has a pretty good changeup. As a starter, I think he has to flip his curveball in there and I don't think he was doing that enough early on. Then, he started doing it and I thought he was better.

"But some games are like that. He's a contact guy, he's going to give up hits, he's going to barrel some balls, but we played some kind of defense and that was the difference."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
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