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Game #6 Preview

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White Sox (2-1) vs Blue Jays (3-2)

Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

After beating Welington Castillo 4-2 yesterday, the Blue Jays play game 2 against the White Sox today at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

We’re back to the top of the rotation, as J.A. Happ makes his second start of the season. Outside of its brevity, Happ had a good first start as he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and a walk in Thursday’s Opening Day loss to the Yankees, while also striking out 5. A 2 out walk to Aaron Judge which the bullpen allowed to come in, and a liner off Curtis Granderson’s glove which scored on a mammoth home run to lefty eater Giancarlo Stanton defined his day, and Happ ultimately walked away with the loss in the Blue Jays 6-1 defeat.

White Sox Starter

Former Oriole Miguel Gonzalez gets the start for Chicago. This will be his second stint in the White Sox rotation, as a deadline deal last year sent him to Texas after 45 starts over 1.5 years in Chicago.

Gonzalez is a solid back end starter, compiling at least 135 innings each year over the last 5 seasons. He has put up a career 3.95 ERA, although ERA estimators like FIP and SIERA like his work a fair bit less, giving him marks of 4.58 and 4.62 respectively.

The 33 year old righty gets by with a Fastball/Slider/Curveball/Split-Finger combo, with decent control (7.6 career BB%) but poor strikeout totals (16.6%). As a flyball pitcher who doesn’t strike out many and induces popups at only a slightly above average rate, Gonzalez relies on non-hard contact driving a below average BABIP. That has risen a bit over the last few years, and his days of producing below average ERAs in spite of his peripherals may be behind him.

Blue Jays Lineup

Josh Donaldson will be back at 3B today, while it also should be Devon Travis’ day off if they’re sticking to his 2 on, 1 off schedule. Look for Solarte to slide over to second as Josh returns to the field, and Kendrys Morales gets reinserted back into the lineup at DH.

White Sox Lineup

Old friend Welington Castillo reminded us why we were happy to see him sign outside of the division, as his two home runs provided all of the offense for the White Sox yesterday.

They do have a solid offensive team outside of Castillo though, even if we didn’t see it in the first game. Guys like Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Matt Davidson and Avisail Garcia give the White Sox a strong batting order that will fight inconsistencies but score runs in bunches, as witnessed in their first game when they hung a 14 spot on the Royals.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Welington Castillo was the powerhouse of the league yesterday with his 2 home runs. Nick Ahmed gets the title of WPA King on the strength of his 15th inning 1-out game tying double as the Diamondbacks fought hard and came back twice, tying the game in the 9th after being down 3, and winning it in the 15th being down 1, ultimately beating the Dodgers 8-7 in a very exciting game. Ahmed’s WPA on the day was 0.47.

Tyler Mahle of the Cincinnati Reds threw 6 shutout innings, striking out 7 while allowing 1 hit and a pair of walks as his Reds shutout the visiting Cubs 1-0 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award.

Milestone Watch

Roberto Osuna picked up career save number 97 yesterday, inching closer to the 100 save milestone, which also happens to be 3rd place all time in Blue Jays history, as Billy Koch saved 100 games for the Jays from ‘99-’01.

Steve Pearce is 4 hits away from 500 for his career, but he also wasn’t even at the game yesterday due to illness. This one is probably at least a good week away from being reached, especially considering he is the weak side of a platoon.

Find the Link

Find the link between today’s White Sox starting pitcher and the last player to hit for a natural cycle (and while you’re researching, look at the names of the pitchers in that game).