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Game #99 Preview: Stroman vs Zimmermann

Blue Jays (36-62) vs Tigers (29-63)

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

The Blue Jays continue their long road trip with a stop in Detroit for 3 games against the Tigers. Tonight’s series opener starts at 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Making perhaps his final start as a Blue Jay, Marcus Stroman will look to continue to build up his already high trade value. Stroman is currently 5-10 on the season, sporting a very solid 3.25 ERA. That ERA places him 8th among the 35 qualified AL pitchers, the same ranking that his 3.72 FIP places him. Charlie Morton is the only one putting up better numbers in the AL East.

Stroman faced the Tigers back on Opening Day, and he had one of his best starts of the season. He made it through 7 shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits while walking 4 and striking out 7. Unfortunately for him, the Jays’ bats were just as silent, and the Tigers won on a 2 run home run in the top of the 10th inning.

Tigers’ Starter

The Tigers will go with Jordan Zimmermann, who is still looking for his first win of 2019. This will be just his 12th start, but he is currently 0-6 with a 7.01 ERA. He missed nearly two months from the end of April to mid June due to a strain of his UCL. He didn’t require Tommy John surgery, so that was a good boost for him.

Zimmermann has had a bit of a rollercoaster season of results when healthy. He opened the season with a pair of great starts, followed by four straight starts of allowing 5 runs prior to going down with his injury. Once he came back, he had a pair of decent shortened starts before a great 6 inning start against the Nationals, but since then has turned in back to back 7 run performances.

Zimmermann was the pitcher that faced off against Stroman back on Opening Day. He had an even better game than Stroman, also making it through 7 shutout innings, but Zimmermann allowed just 1 hit and did not walk a batter. Like so many other pitchers in the early going against the Jays, Zimmermann carried a perfect game into the 7th inning before Teoscar Hernandez legged out an infield single. The Jays are a bit better of an offensive club compared to then, so hopefully they can have a little more success against Zimmermann this time around.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I keep hoping that Bo Bichette is going to meet the team in Detroit today, giving the team a nice little boost as the final in our series of legacy players making their debut this year (Griffin Conine will have to spearhead the next wave of legacy players). The closer we get to today though the more I doubt that is happening.

Instead we’ll likely get a lineup that features both Freddy Galvis and Eric Sogard, hoping that they continue to do well as they entice teams with skills. Eventually teams will come calling for them, and when they do, I hope Bichette is ready to go and gets his call then.

With Rowdy Tellez optioned, I’m a little surprised we’re not seeing more starts at 1B for Cavan Biggio. I would personally start him every day at 2B, but that doesn’t seem to be happening, so to me the next best thing would be to keep his flexibility up by getting him some reps over at 1B.

Tigers’ Lineup

The Tigers’ lineup is near full strength, missing just their regular full time CF JaCoby Jones and their regular catcher Grayson Greiner. Victor Reyes is getting most of the starts in CF, while Bobby Wilson and John Hicks are splitting time behind the plate.

The heart of the Tigers’ lineup still features Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos. Castellanos is the only one in the entire lineup that has gotten regular at bats who has an above average wRC+, currently sitting at 114 which is right in line with who he has been the last 4 seasons. Cabrera is just below the league average mark at 97, a far cry from his peak as one of the best hitters of the 21st century. With 4 more seasons left on his contract after this one, he has a very long ride into the sunset ahead of him.

The Tigers are in the early stages of their rebuild, and do not have a highly touted prospect on their roster to get excited about. Jeimer Candelario would likely be the closest thing to that, but it has been a couple years since he was a prospect, and his bat hasn’t shown anything close to the upside that it had teased before he came over from the Cubs.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Enrique Hernandez had a great night at the plate, going 4-4 with a pair of home runs, easily taking home the Monster Bat award. He drove in 4 of the Dodgers’ 6 runs, but that wasn’t enough as the Phillies won 7-6.

Madison Bumgarner had a great trade stock building game last night, although with the Giants continuing to win, he may not get dealt. Bumgarner held the Mets to just 1 run over 9 innings, allowing 5 hits and an intentional walk while striking out 6. That was good enough for the Pitcher of the Day honours, and since it was a tie game for the most of it and continued that way through 9 innings, Bumgarner built up .519 WPA while on the mound to get the WPA King title as well. The Giants would eventually win the game 3-2 in the 16th inning, scoring a pair of runs after falling down 2-1 in the top of the inning.

Find the Link

Find the link between Zimmermann and Frank Catalanotto.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs