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Game #35 Preview: Pérez vs Stroman

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Twins (20-12) vs Blue Jays (15-19)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

After a brutal road trip out west, the Blue Jays head home to welcome the first place Minnesota Twins into Toronto to kick off a 6 game homestand. Tonight’s first pitch is set for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marcus Stroman heads to the mound for the 8th time this season. Through the first 7, he is 1-4 with a 2.20 ERA, averaging just under 6 innings per start. Those numbers all looked a fair bit better before his most recent outing, where he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks in just 3.1 innings against the Angels. Stroman has still yet to allow a home run, but he’s playing a team that has hit the third most in the AL, so it could come today.

Twins’ Starter

The Twins will counter with veteran left hander Martín Pérez. Pérez is off to a great start to his season, currently sitting 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA. He is doing a good job keeping the ball in the ballpark, and he has increased his strikeouts this year compared to his career levels, both aspects definitely helping him out in the early going.

Pérez made the start against the Jays back on Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, his first start of the season after getting his first 3 appearances in the bullpen. He allowed 1 run on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5 and left the game with a 3-1 lead. However, the Jays touched up Adalberto Mejia for 4 runs in the 8th, capped by a Teoscar Hernandez 3 run home run, as the Jays won 5-3.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With another lefty on the mound as the Jays return home, I hope there is a person sized gift waiting for them in the clubhouse. I’m hoping the person inside that person sized gift is Jonathan Davis, who I’m hoping will be called up today and take the place of the soon to be departed Socrates Brito, and we can maybe have an outfield consisting of outfielders today.

Not that a call up really matters, even in the off chance that it does happen, because it really seems like Brandon Drury will be in RF anyway. He has gone from everyday third baseman to everyday second baseman to just the short side of a right field platoon in less than 2 weeks, even though he’s hitting .313/.333/.656 since being moved off 3B.

Rowdy Tellez will likely continue getting at bats against lefties, for the time being anyway. Since launching the Grand Slam against Tony Watson on April 23, Tellez has started all 5 games against lefties, and has gone 5-14 with a double and a walk in 15 PA against lefties.

Twins’ Lineup

The Twins enter play today with a 2 game lead over Cleveland, and have gotten to this point with the help of a pretty good and balanced lineup. Six of the eight hitters to have over 100 PA so far (and eight of ten over 50) have a wRC+ above 100, led by their 38 year old DH Nelson Cruz.

The big surprise so far this year is SS Jorge Polanco, who came into the year with a career 103 wRC+. He is hitting .303/.373/.571 (147 wRC+), and a not outrageous .323 BABIP. He has never really struck out much, so his 14.2% rate this year seems likely to be a number he can maintain, and while his 9.7% walk rate is a career high, it isn’t so high to be an obvious outlier either. The big concern for the 25 year old will be whether he can improve at all on defense, as he has a career -11.3 UZR/150 at the position.

Willians Astudillo is also on this team to get excited about, so don’t forget about that.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jonathan Lucroy launched a pair of homers yesterday, earning our Monster Bat award. Too bad for him and the Angels though, as Lucroy’s productivity couldn’t balance out the Astros’ potent offense, as Houston won 10-4.

It was a pretty heavy day for WPA, as three different players put up a WPA over .500, but none higher than Hunter Renfroe’s .739 for the WPA King win. Renfroe entered as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and 2 outs with his Padres down by 1 in the bottom of the 9th, and he proceeded to launch a walk off Grand Slam to beat the Dodgers 8-5.

Zach Davies of the Brewers gets our Pitcher of the Day award, tossing 7.2 innings of 2 run ball. He allowed 6 hits and walked 1 while striking out 5 in the 3-2 win over the Mets.

Find the Link

Find the link between Pérez and Cody Allen