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Game #29 Preview: Estrada vs Gibson

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Blue Jays (16-12) vs Twins (9-15)

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

After taking game 1 in ugly fashion last night, the Blue Jays go for the series win against the Twins tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada makes his 6th start of the season, looking to put a rough April behind him. He’s 2-2 with a 6.00 ERA.

In his last start against the Red Sox, Estrada allowed 5 runs over 5 innings, striking out 5. He started great, stranding a single in the first and striking out the side in the second. Then the Sox chipped away for a run in the 3rd and 4th, before a 2 out rally ended his night. He gave a hard single, followed by a bloop and a blast, the home run by newcomer JD Martinez. The Jays would ultimately lose 5-4.

On the season, Estrada has thrown 27 innings, falling just short of the 5.5 inning average. He has allowed 18 runs runs on 30 hits, walking 9 and striking out 23. The big number is the 7 home runs, and they seem to have bitten him this year at the most inopportune time (although in his other loss he didn’t allow any home runs, he just got knocked around for 4 runs in 4 innings against the O’s).

Twins’ Starter

Right hander Kyle Gibson has been the Twins second best starter thus far, going 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA over 27 innings. The 30 year old has found a new gear as he has approached and reached the completely meaningless age milestone, setting a new career high in fastball velocity (92.0 mph) last year, while adding another 0.1 this year. He has used it about 60% of the time, while he also deploys a slider, curveball and changeup about 13% of the time apiece. Historically this hasn’t lead to much in the way of strikeouts (6.37 per 9 innings career), but thus far this season he has 30 in his 27 innings.

In his last start, Gibson held the Yankees to 1 hit over 6 shutout innings. He walked 3 and struck out 10, but because they were playing the Yankees, the Twins still lost.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Unless there are any roster changes, today’s lineup will probably look the same as yesterday.

Just going off memory here, but I believe Luke Maile has caught Estrada a lot more often than Stroman, so he might be in there today. Although given that Estrada has a 6.00 ERA and Stroman an 8.88, maybe switching up the catchers isn’t a bad thing.

Steve Pearce, even though he should, isn’t likely to start this game. Eventually Gibbons will figure it out, but don’t count on it today.

Twins’ Lineup

After Mitch Garver was so generous to us behind the plate last night, Jason Castro probably goes back behind the dish.

Byron Buxton remains on the DL, but he did stand in against Twins pitchers yesterday. No mention of swinging, and he still hasn’t run at all. So he’s not coming back before tomorrow from his toe injury.

Miguel Sano tried running yesterday and it “didn’t go well” per 1993 World Series MVP Paul Molitor (I think he manages the Twins or something too). He has missed 3 days already, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a DL move today, and the Twins bring in somebody else. Said new player might be in the lineup tonight.

Yesterday’s Heroes

AJ Pollock had the big bat yesterday, going 3 for 5 while launching 3 home runs into the night. They ultimately proved to be the difference, as the Dodgers chipped back late but lost to Pollock’s Diamondbacks 8-5.

Pinch hitter Nick Hundley gets the WPA King title. Down by 1 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th and bases loaded, the Giants sent Nick Hundley to the plate. Hundley ripped a 1-0 pitch up the middle for the walk off win over the Padres. Hundley’s WPA in this 6-5 game was an impressive .734.

Pitcher of the Day is Jake Faria of the Rays. He threw 8 shutout innings against the Tigers. The Rays scored their first 3 runs of the night in the top of the 9th, and Chaz Roe almost gave them all back in the bottom of the 9th, but the Rays held on to the 3-2 win. Faria gave up 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 on the night.

Milestone Watch

We’ve been waiting for a while, and will probably continue to do so, but some day Pillar will get those 2 stolen bases and get himself into the top 20 all time as a Blue Jay.

Marco Estrada needs 5 more strikeouts to reach 500 for his Blue Jays’ career, which would make him the 20th Blue Jay to reach that mark.

Find the Link

Find the link between Gibson and the only Cardinal to win Rookie of the Year and MVP.