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Game #33 Preview: Pannone vs Lynn

Blue Jays (15-17) vs Rangers (14-16)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After pulling out the win last night in a soggy affair, the Blue Jays and Rangers will look to get back to it again tonight while hoping for some dryer weather. Tonight’s game is set for 8:05 pm, and this time it’s supposed to be dry and sunny this afternoon/evening in Arlington.

Maybe they should consider getting a ballpark with a roof.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Being yanked out of the bullpen and thrust into the starting rotation for this one is Thomas Pannone. This is the second start of the season for Pannone, and just the second start by a left handed starter for the Jays this season. Pannone’s other start came on April 6 against Cleveland, and it was one of Pannone’s worst outings of the year. He gave up 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks over just 2.2 innings, although he did manage to strike out 6. That start, plus his last 2 appearances where he has combined to allow 5 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks over 4 innings, account for his 3 worst appearances of the season, so maybe things aren’t looking all that promising as Pannone faces the highest scoring offense in the game.

Pannone has thrown 41 and 42 pitches his last two times out, so while I’m just guessing on how long he’ll go, I’m thinking we’ll see somewhere in the 60-75 pitch range for this outing. While the Rangers’ lineup is quite lefty heavy (4 of the typical first 5 batters are lefties), I wonder if we will see the Jays go with an Opener. When I originally thought about this, I assumed Hudson would be good until I realized all the lefties are the first ones. So maybe you give the opening assignment to Tim Mayza, who can blow the 94 mph heat past the Rangers in the first inning before settling in with the 90 mph Pannone? But then you don’t have a lefty left in the bullpen for a Gallo at bat in the later innings.

So I don’t think we’ll have an Opener tonight.

Rangers’ Starter

The Rangers will send veteran right hander Lance Lynn to the mound for tonight’s contest. Lynn, who will turn 32 next Sunday, hasn’t seen the greatest success this year, despite a 3-2 record. Through 34.2 innings, he has a 5.45 ERA, and has been knocked around a bit to the tune of 40 hits on a .352 BABIP. His strikeout, walk and home run rates have all been good though, which has given him a 3.47 FIP, so no doubt the Rangers are hoping for a little more luck for their prized offseason acquisition.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With the righty on the mound, we’re likely to see an outfield that consists of Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk and Billy McKinney, even if they’re only hitting a collective .228/.287/.364 (75 wRC+). Grichuk (109 wRC+ in 1848 career PA), Hernandez (109 wRC+ in 730 career PA) and McKinney (112 wRC+ in 132 career PA) came into this season with a lot more of an expectation and hope of an above average hitting outfield. They haven’t lived up to it obviously, but there is for sure still hope, even if the expectations are gone.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has looked really solid at 3B, and I think we’re also starting to see the bat coming around. As Dan Shulman mentioned, Guerrero had a couple very loud outs yesterday, at 108.1 mph and 106.6 mph. If he can get back to not chasing out of the zone and continue hitting the baseball super hard, good things will eventually come his way.

Rangers’ Lineup

I touched on the great seasons that a few of their players were having in yesterday’s intro, but what we got to see yesterday did not look like a group of great hitters. The combination of rain, Thornton and the Jays top relievers held them to just 4 hits over 12 innings, shutting out the highest scoring team in baseball. So that was fun, but I won’t hold my breath on that happening again tonight.

Hunter Pence coming off the bench last night caught me by surprise a bit. I forgot that he was now on the Rangers, and we are likely to see him in today’s game with the lefty Pannone on the mound. He’s off to a pretty good start to the season, hitting .293/.344/.500 (118 wRC+), numbers he hasn’t approached since 2016.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Josh Phegley went 4-5 yesterday, hitting a home run, 2 doubles and a single while driving in 8 runs, good enough to bring home the Monster Bat award. Phegley’s bat helped lead his Athletics to the 14-1 win over the Pirates.

Mike Minor, with his 8 shutout innings yesterday in a scoreless game, gets the WPA King title. He put up a .592 WPA in the 1-0 loss.

But that wasn’t quite good enough to get Pitcher of the Day, as that honour goes to Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks threw an 81 pitch complete game shutout, surrendering 4 hits but walking none and striking out 3. His Cubs beat the visiting Cardinals 4-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Lynn and Maikal Cleto.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs