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Game #15(!) Preview: Skoglund vs Garcia

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Royals (3-10) vs Blue Jays (9-5)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays
Sure would have been nice to have one of these things this past weekend.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After a rain assisted sweep of the Clevelands this past weekend, the Blue Jays head home to the comfy confines of the Rogers Centre. Tonight’s game kicks off at 7:07 ET.

Also, as an added bonus, since the Jays’ Jackie Robinson Day celebrations were rained out yesterday, the Blue Jays will honour him today. Curtis Granderson will be honouring both Robinson and Larry Doby with special edition, Hall of Fame bound cleats:

Blue Jays’ Pitcher

With the rain rolling through Cleveland, the Blue Jays were given two extra off days while sacrificing one on May 3. Couple that with the regularly scheduled off day on Thursday, and the Jays have played one game in the last 4 days. That means that the starters (save for Stroman who pitched Friday night) will have had an extra three days off as the rotation holds its form while just being bumped back.

Jaime Garcia will get the ball this evening, and he will be doing so having not pitched since Sunday April 8 against the Rangers. In that start, Garcia went 5.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, with a pair of walks and 5 strikeouts. A Joey Gallo 2 run home run in the 6th inning chased Garcia from the game and made his night look worse than it really was. But the Jays beat up on Cole Hamels, and Jaime was able to get his first win as a Blue Jay in that game.

Royals’ Pitcher

Eric Skoglund will be making his second start of the season tonight for the Royals. In 8 career games (6 starts) since making his Major League debut last May, Skoglund has thrown 22.2 innings, allowing 25 runs on 36 hits and 14 walks, striking out 15. And the scary part (for him) - in his Major League debut, he went 6.1 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits and a walk. His pitching numbers post-debut would make Darwin Barney embarrassed, but I guess if you’re not looking to win (see: tanking), you might as well see what kind of pitcher you have.

The left handed Skoglund throws a fastball and curveball, which are both about average, occasionally flashing above, while also featuring a below average slider and changeup. Humans Righties have hit him especially hard since he came up, going a combined 31-95 with 15 extra base hits (.374/.453/.639), although lefties don’t have anything to be embarrassed about either (.278/.435/.353 in their 23 PA).

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It may not feel like it, but it has been 5 full days since Josh Donaldson last played. His trick with the weather in Cleveland bought him a double header on May 3 that he better be back for, but I’d prefer if he came back healthy even sooner. Like maybe Sunday when he’s first eligible.

Anyway, with lefty Eric Skoglund on the mound, Curtis Granderson and his HoF bound cleats will be on the bench. Teoscar-Pillar-Grichuk will be across the outfield, catching anything that moves (maybe choose a different night to go streaking). Solarte-Diaz-Travis-Smoak will be your infield, while Martin should be behind the plate.

Edit: Pearce will also be in the lineup, playing his natural position.

Royals’ Lineup

They haven’t been good. Collectively they have a 75 wRC+, which surprisingly isn’t the low mark in baseball (we just played them) - but their -0.2 WAR is the low point.

Mike Moustakas (.327/.352/.596, 160 wRC+) is off to a great start after coming back on an embarrassing “Free Agent Deal”. Moose joins fellow Free Agent signing Lucas Duda (123 wRC+) as the only Royals with wRC+ above 100. Those two, plus strong defensive catcher Drew Butera are the only three with positive WAR.

Everything about this game screams advantage Blue Jays, so they better not let it get to their heads.

Yesterday’s Heroes

There were 6 games rained out yesterday, but we were still able to massage out a monster hitter. The honour goes to Starling Marte, who went 5-5 with 4 singles and a solo shot, coming around to score 4 times while helping his Pirates catch the Marlins 7-3.

Michael A. Taylor (not to be confused with Michael D. Taylor because too many people name their kid Michael) earned the WPA King title yesterday, providing his team with 0.604 WPA. That wasn’t enough to overcome his pitchers as Stephen Strasburg (-0.207), Shawn Kelley (-0.199) and Sean Doolittle (-0.291) gave the Rockies the 6-5 win.

The Pitcher of the Day award goes to Bartolo Colon, because I don’t care what you think. The 44 year old Colon took a perfect game into the 8th inning last night against the defending World Champion Astros. He left the game in a tie because Justin Verlander is also too good at baseball, but the Rangers did ultimately get the win.

Milestone Watch

John Axford hasn’t pitched in nearly a week, so he’s still sitting at 499 career relief appearances. Once he reaches 500, he’s just 2 short of John Hiller for 4th all time relief appearances for a Canadian.

Kevin Pillar needs 5 more walks to reach 100 for his career (this one should allow me to have a Milestone Watch for a while).

Find the Link

Find the link between today’s Royals’ starter and a fellow AL Central left handed pitcher who goes by the nickname “Los”.