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Game #5 Preview

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White Sox (2-0) vs Blue Jays (2-2)

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Blue Jays welcome the White Sox to Toronto for a 3 game series, starting tonight at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays Starter

Newly acquired Jaime Garcia starts for the Blue Jays. Garcia spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, but was traded last offseason to the Braves. In a pair of deadline deals, Garcia made one start with the Twins before being shuttled off to the Yankees, where he walked far too many and gave up a lot of home runs. All told, he put up a 4.41 ERA/ 4.25 FIP/ 4.18 xFIP over 157 innings for his 3 teams.

The 31 year old lefty is a ground ball pitcher who has put up a solid career, having thrown 1053 innings of 3.69 over 8 injury riddled seasons. Only twice has he reached the 30 start threshold, as a variety of major injuries have shelved him, including:

  • Tommy John Surgery in 2008
  • Shoulder Discomfort in 2012
  • Shoulder Surgery in 2013, which lead to shoulder bursitis that delayed the start of his 2014
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in 2014

2016 saw him pitch in 32 games, including 30 starts. Last year he started 27 games, missing a couple of games in May and September from what I can tell were just to give him a break.

Garcia throws a 91 MPH fastball with good sink, and complements that with a changeup, slider and slow curveball. Prior to last season, he allowed far fewer than average walks, but found himself struggling with walks from start to start last year. If he can harness the walk problems, he should have success in Toronto.

White Sox Starter

Reynaldo Lopez will be making his 15th career start. He has a lively fastball that has produced great strikeout totals in the Minors (131 strikeouts in 121 AAA innings last year) but has yet to show the ability to rack up the strikeouts in the Majors (72 in 91.2 career innings).

The 24 year old Lopez came to Chicago along with fellow top prospect Lucas Giolito in the trade that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals in December 2016. Giolito made the start on Saturday, so we won’t be seeing him in this series.

Besides having a mid to upper 90s fastball, the right handed Lopez also features an above average curveball and changeup. If he figures out how to control these pitches, he will be a solid mid-rotation pitcher for the White Sox for many years.

Blue Jays Lineup

This tweet from John Lott was on Saturday morning. Not sure if Donaldson will be good enough to take the field this week yet, or if they wait for the weekend series in Texas. If he can throw, Morales is at DH. If he still can’t throw, we likely see Solarte at 3B.

Diaz is likely to be back at SS, and if they’re sticking to Travis on the 2 on, 1 off program, he’s on day 2 so he’ll be at second today. Otherwise I don’t see any changes from yesterday.

White Sox Lineup

They scored 18 runs in 2 games against the Royals. Matt Davidson, Tim Anderson, Avisail Garcia and Adam Engel were the big stars for them, going a combined 14-32 with 5 home runs. Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada also chipped in a home run. They’re a young team that will battle inconsistencies throughout the year, but they should be a fun team to watch.

The first two games of the season, they rolled out this lineup. I imagine they’ll be similar today.

Yoan Moncada, 2B

Avisail Garcia, RF

Jose Abreu, 1B

Matt Davidson, DH

Nicky Delmonico, LF

Wellington Castillo, C

Tim Anderson, SS

Yolmer Sanchez, 3B

Adam Engel, CF

Yesterday’s Heroes

No surprise here as Justin Smoak was the offensive powerhouse and WPA king across the league, as his 7th and 8th inning home runs turned a 4-1 deficit into a 7-4 win over the Yankees.

Jose Berrios of the Twins pitched a complete game shutout, giving up 3 hits while striking out 6 and walking 1 as the Twins beat the Orioles 7-0. Buck Martinez named him his “lesser known Cy Young Candidate”, and he’s probably right.

Milestone Watch

Roberto Osuna is closing in on 100 career saves, currently sitting at 96.

Steve Pearce is 4 hits away from 500 for his career.

Find the Link

Find the link between the White Sox starting pitcher, and the greatest shortstop in Blue Jays history.