Blue Jays’ Starter
Aaron Sanchez makes his first start of 2019, looking to put all the woes of the last 2 seasons behind him, and regain the form that saw him win the 2016 ERA title. Indications in Spring Training certainly were that he was healthy, as he pitched a very good 11.2 innings, so there is optimism that he’s healthy.
Because an unhealthy Sanchez is not a good Sanchez. Over the last 2 seasons, after battling through various finger maladies (who hasn’t crushed their finger in their suitcase?), he threw just 141 over 28 games. The on field results weren’t very good either, pitching to a 4.72 ERA with a 5.00 FIP, a far cry from his excellent 2016 campaign.
But he’s supposedly healthy now, and we can expect reasonable dominance again.
The Tigers are going with rookie right hander Spencer Turnbull. The 26 year old righty made it into 4 games last season, 3 starts, and put up an ugly 6.06 ERA in 16.1 innings. It was obviously small sample sequencing luck, as he allowed just 1 home run and 21 baserunners, while seeing 11 of them score.
Fangraphs indicates that Turnbull has a Fastball, Slider, Changup and Cutter, with the Cutter and Fastball possessing 60 grade potential. The command is what could hold him back from being a solid mid-rotation starter, but the stuff should be pretty good. In his short stint last year, the fastball sat 94.1 mph.
Baseball Savant breaks his fastball into two categories - a sinker and a four seamer. The sinker is the harder pitch at 94.4, topping out at 96.9 mph. Through the low Minors, this was getting him a high volume of groundballs (upper 50s and into the 60s), but he has been in the 40s in his small samples at the upper levels.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
With the righty back on the mound, look for Rowdy Tellez to be back in the lineup. He may even get a chance to play some 1B, although with the way that Lourdes Gurriel Jr has been throwing balls to 1B so far this season, I have definitely been happy to have Justin Smoak at 1B.
Look for Danny Jansen to be back behind the plate this afternoon as well after the game off last night. I’m not sure how Charlie Montoyo will deploy his catchers yet, but I wonder if Luke Maile will get Matt Shoemaker and Clayton Richard, while Jansen catches Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and whoever the 5th guy is (which is Trent Thornton this weekend, but Ryan Borucki should be back soonish, and Clay Buchholz still exists somewhere too).
How Montoyo balances playing time between Teoscar Hernandez and Billy McKinney will be interesting to see going forward as well. I think we may see McKiney in there today, while Teoscar gets the day off. Or maybe Pillar gets a day off?
They’re making our starting pitchers look good, or maybe our starting pitchers are making them look bad. But either way, it hasn’t been a good start to the season for the Tigers bats, having collected all of 4 hits and no runs in innings not pitched by Daniel Hudson.
Miguel Cabrera, who looked pretty great in Spring Training, has not found his stride in the first couple games in Toronto, going 0-7 with a walk and a pair of strikeouts, while grounding into a double play along the way. Of the 5 balls that he has put in play, 4 have been on the ground, which is definitely not where he will find many hits.
Mitch Moreland of the Red Sox was the WPA King, hitting a pinch hit, come from behind 3-run home run in the top of the 9th, giving the Red Sox the 7-6 lead and ultimately the win. over the hometown Mariners. His WPA was .677 on that play.
In a feat that we rarely got to see last season, a Blue Jays’ pitcher is the Pitcher of the Day winner. Matt Shoemaker, with his 7 shutout innings with a pair of hits and walks gets the award, edging out Marco Estrada who threw 6 shutout innings.
Find the Link
Find the link between Turnbull and Wade LeBlanc.