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Game #46 Preview: Thornton vs Lopez

Blue Jays (18-27) vs White Sox (21-23)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays wrap up their series against the White Sox and finish up their 7 game road trip, looking for a series split in Chicago. Today’s game gets underway at 2:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Trent Thornton, who is quickly becoming one one of the longest tenured members of the Jays’ rotation, makes his 10th career start this afternoon. I’m certainly happy that the Jays were able to get him over the winter for Aledmys Diaz, even if Diaz has picked it up over the last few weeks after a rough start. Thornton may not be even a mid-rotation arm long term, but I can definitely see the potential to be a useful piece, and he’s a very necessary piece this season as the rest of his rotation mates drop like flies.

Thornton is just 1-4 on the season, sporting a 4.81 ERA with a very similar 4.85 FIP. His walk rate is twice as high as it had ever been in the Minors, so that is something that we can expect to come down at least a little bit as he continues to get experience in the Majors. His strikeout rate, thanks to his elite spin rates, is higher than anything he put up in the Minors too, but is at least close to where he was last season. But Thornton’s biggest problem so far in 2019 is the fact that he has given up a lot more balls in the air than he is accustomed to, which are also leaving the ballpark at a higher rate than it has against him before. It is to be expected that the launch angle heavy Major Leaguers would be able to get the ball in the air against him more, so figuring out how to counteract that going forward will be the key to unlocking his upside.

White Sox’ Starter

Right hander Reynaldo Lopez goes for the White Sox, looking to get his season back on track. Lopez entered the season with a career 4.21 ERA, but with upside a lot greater than that thanks to an overpowering fastball and good secondaries. However, he has yet to be able to conquer those beasts, which is resulting in a lot of bad pitches. He currently sits in the top 10 in the Majors in both home runs allowed and walks allowed, which is really going to make things difficult if you want to have success. As a result, he is 3-4 on the season with a 5.58 ERA, although his FIP is a bit better at 5.09.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Brandon Drury went hitless yesterday, so he is back to the bench in this one. I’m not sure how he gets back into the lineup based on his arrangement with Charlie Montoyo. Maybe he has to sit for as many games as he had strikeouts in his 0-fer?

Danny Jansen also returns behind the plate, giving a break to the battered Luke Maile who had a terrible time trying to catch the knuckleball yesterday.

Jonathan Davis returns to the outfield in this one too, moving Randal Grichuk back to his natural right field.

White Sox’ Lineup

Welington Castillo gets the start behind the plate in this one, his second start of the series giving James McCann the afternoon off.

Nick Delmonico and Yolmer Sanchez are both back in the lineup after getting yesterday’s game off.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Josh Bell went 3-4 with a pair of home runs and a walk, eking out the Monster Bat award thanks to the walk. His Pirates beat the Padres 7-2.

Pablo Lopez threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just a solitary hit and a pair of walks, striking out 7 to earn the Pitcher of the Day honours. His Marlins were able to hold down the Mets 2-0, making it 2 in a row against the Mets and an attempt at their first sweep of 2019 this afternoon. Lopez’ .377 WPA from that game also gives him the WPA King title, so it was a good day for the Marlins.

Find the Link

Find the link between Lopez and Dawel Lugo.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs