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Game #66 Preview: Thornton vs Means

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Blue Jays (23-42) vs Orioles (20-45)

Arizona Diamondbacks v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Blue Jays hit the road, looking for some better fortunes than what has plagued them for the last 6 weeks. They’ll head to Baltimore in search of that opportunity, finding one of the two teams, the Orioles, who have a worse record than the Jays do. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Blue Jays will send their only starter not to be saddled with a loss yet this month to the mound in Trent Thornton. Thornton hasn’t lost a game since May 8, a very impressive stretch for this team, although he has at least gotten some run support.

On the season, Thornton is 1-4 with a 4.73 ERA. His FIP is right there as well, sitting at 4.70 over 64.2 innings. He is striking out over a batter an inning (9.60 per 9 innings), and while the walks aren’t good (4.31 per 9 innings), it is the home runs that are hurting him the most (1.53 per 9 innings).

Orioles’ Starter

The Orioles will send rookie left hander John Means to the mound. Means is having an excellent year so far, currently sitting at a 5-4 record with a 2.67 ERA. If you had to pick an All-Star from this team, Means is probably the one to pick at the moment.

While the ERA is quite nice, his FIP is a bit off from that, currently sitting at 4.03. His strikeout numbers are fairly low (7.42 per 9 innings) but he does a fantastic job limiting free runners (2.37 walks per 9 innings), and considering he pitches for Baltimore, his 1.04 home runs per 9 innings is quite good.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Rowdy Tellez and Justin Smoak have started together in just 1 of the last 5 games, making me wonder if something is a little bit off, injury-wise, with both of them. I know Rowdy had hamstring troubles in Colorado, but I don’t know of anything Smoak may be dealing with.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., fresh off a 2 day break, should be ready to be back in the lineup and ready to wow the hometown Oriole fans.

Orioles’ Lineup

Collectively they are the 6th worst team in baseball at scoring runs at 4.02 per game (the Jays are worse, at 3.72). They are hitting .237/.297/.400 (85 wRC+), sitting 20th in home runs at 82, but 11th in stolen bases at 33.

The offensive charge is led by Trey Mancini, .299/.353/.537 (134 wRC+), and Pedro Severino, .277/.359/.536 (137 wRC+). The only other two guys at or above a league average wRC+ in more than 20 PA are Renato Nunez (106 wRC+) and our old friend Dwight Smith Jr. (98 wRC+), who went on the Injured List a few days ago with a concussion.

Also on that injured list are Mark Trumbo, currently on a rehab assignment and likely back at some point this week, and D.J. Stewart, put on the IL a week ago with an ankle injury.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Eduardo Escobar went 4-5 with a pair of home runs and a double, knocking in 5 runs and earning the Monster Bat award. Escobar was a big player in his game, launching 2 of the Major League record 13 that were hit between the Pirates and Diamondbacks. But it was Escobar’s Diamondbacks that emerged victorious 13-7.

Charlie Morton fired 7 shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits with a pair of walks and one hit batter. He struck out 6 and accumulated an impressive .419 WPA, taking home both the Pitcher of the Day and WPA King titles en route to the Rays’ 6-2 win over the Athletics.

Find the Link

Find the link between Means and Walt Smallwood.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs