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Doubleheader Preview: Royals vs Blue Jays x2

Garcia and Biagini for the Jays (9-5) vs Skoglund and Duffy for the Royals (3-10)

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After playing all of one game over the span of five days, the Blue Jays maybe will play a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals today. The first game is scheduled for 3:07 ET, while the second one is supposed to get underway at 7:07 ET, barring any other cancellations and extra innings.

Blue Jays’ Starters

Jaime Garcia will get the ball for the first game, 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.

Joe Biagini is getting the call for the second game, as teams are allowed to carry a 26th man for the second game of a double header. This will allow the Jays to keep their rotation in tact without having to run anyone out there on short rest (which otherwise would have been Garcia on Saturday in New York).

Biagini has made one start for the Bisons through all of their rainouts and snowouts. In that start, he went 5 shutout innings, striking out 4 and walking 1 while allowing 2 hits. That start came last Monday, April 9. Every Jays’ starter has had a lot of rest.

Last season he threw 119.2 innings across 18 starts and another 26 relief appearances, compiling a 5.34 ERA with a 4.27 FIP.

Welcome back to the team Joe, even if it’s only for a day.

Royals’ Starters

The Royals have a scheduled off day on Thursday, so the double header won’t be messing with their rotation.

Eric Skoglund is scheduled to get the ball in game 1. He has played in all of 8 career games (6 starts) since making his Major League debut last May. In that start, Skoglund went 6.1 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits and a walk. In the 5 starts and 2 relief appearances since then, Skoglund has thrown 16.1 innings, allowing 25 runs (24 earned) on 34 hits and 13 walks, striking out 10.

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. 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).

Left hander Danny Duffy is scheduled for game 2. He is their best starting pitcher by a non-insignificant margin, whether you want to believe that’s due to his skill or a symbol of their depth, I’ll let you decide.

Duffy has struggled thus far this year, perhaps due to the a further dip in velocity. He fought with shoulder problems this Spring after oblique and elbow problems last year. After averaging 94 mph on his fastball up through 2016, and peaking at 94.8 mph that year, he has seen it drop to 92.8 mph last season, and it is down further to 91.6 mph so far this year.

He also has a slider and changeup, and occasionally throws a curveball. By pitch values, his fastball has historically been his best pitch. So if his early season velocity drop is a continuation of the trend he started last year, he might not be a well above average starting pitcher for the remaining 4 years of his contract.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

They’re both lefties, so there’s a decent chance that Pearce is the DH for both games. I would also expect the outfield to be Teoscar-Pillar-Grichuk for both games. Solarte-Diaz and Smoak will probably start both games at 3B-SS and 1B.

Travis and Martin are unlikely to play both games. If I was in control, I’d put Maile out there for the first game, having Martin catch Happ in the second game. I would hope that means Ngoepe starts at 2B in game 2, allowing us to alternate our historically terrible hitters between the two games.

Poor Curtis Granderson is probably the lone man not getting a start during today.

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.

Former Blue Jay legend Ryan Goins is on the bench for those that miss him.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Yesterday’s monster bat was Asdrubal Cabrera of the New York Mets. He went 4-5 with a home run and a double, but his Mets finally lost, collapsing in the 8th inning. The Nationals beat them 8-6.

Daniel Mengden of the Athletics is the WPA King and Pitcher of the Day. He went 8 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits and a walk, as Oakland piled on late to beat the White Sox 8-1. His WPA on the day was .432.

Find the Link

Find the link between both Royals starters and the 2017 Major League Leader in stolen bases by a First Baseman.