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Game #100 Preview: Thornton vs Norris

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Blue Jays (37-62) vs Tigers (29-64)

Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

After a very fun day at the ballpark yesterday, the Blue Jays will continue their 3 game set against the Tigers this evening. First pitch is set for 6:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Looking to right his season ship, Trent Thornton will make his 21st start of the season. His record is now down to 3-7 with a 5.25 ERA after another rough outing against Boston his last time out. I’m sure Thornton is looking forward to an easier outing this time, as 3 of his last 5 starts were against the Red Sox, and 1 was against the Yankees. He was lucky enough to have one against the Orioles too, in which he turned out 6 shutout innings, so here’s hoping he does have something like that still in him.

Thornton’s first start of the season was against the Tigers, and you couldn’t have asked for a much better Major League debut than that one. Thornton made it through 5 shutout innings, limiting the Tigers to just 2 hits while walking nobody and notching 8 strikeouts.

Tigers’ Starter

The Tigers will send out old friend Daniel Norris. The left handed Norris continues to search for solid ground in the Tigers’ rotation, currently sitting with an ERA over 5.00 for the 3rd straight year in limited work. Overall he’s 2-8 with a 5.14 ERA, making 16 starts after 3 relief appearances to start the year. He’s not doing anything particularly poorly in terms of FIP, as his walk rate is over 1 per 9 innings better than average, his home run rate is a smidge higher than average, and his strikeout rate, while a bit low for the baseball climate, isn’t remarkably low. Add it all up it becomes a 4.72 FIP, which is a bit higher than the league wide 4.50 mark but still a solid back of the rotation option. Just not what the Tigers were expecting when they got him David Price.

Norris got into the game against the Jays back on March 30, and pitched 2.1 shutout innings against the Jays. He allowed 2 hits and 2 walks, but otherwise escaped unscathed.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Last night was a lot of fun, with every Blue Jays’ starter collecting a hit, save for Justin Smoak who walked twice.

I would imagine we’ll see a very similar lineup back out there today, with the exception of RF, where Randal Grichuk got the night off. Considering it’s a lefty on the mound for the Tigers, I would guess that Billy McKinney is the odd man out, but it could also be one of Cavan Biggio or Eric Sogard heading to bench while the DH spot goes to an outfielder.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the DH spot get used by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with Brandon Drury starting at 3B. That seems to be a common choice with a lefty on the mound as well.

Tigers’ Lineup

JaCoby Jones went and surprised me yesterday by being activated from the Injured List. He proceeded to go 3-4 with a double and scored the Tigers’ lone run. I’m sure the Tigers are quite happy to have him back.

Also collecting multiple hits last night were Jeimer Candelario and Christin Stewart. Both of the 25 year olds are likely to be a fixture in the Tigers’ lineup through the rebuilding years. Those two, plus Jones and Niko Goodrum, at least give Tigers’ fans some solid players to cheer for going forward, as well as the career counting stats of Miguel Cabrera.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Ryan Lavarnway went 3-4 with a pair of home runs, a double and a walk to earn the Monster Bat award. He drove in 6 of the Reds 11 runs, but that wasn’t enough as the Cardinals still beat them 12-11.

The Mets and Giants made it to extra innings in a scoreless game, which means that the pitchers racked up a bunch of WPA in this one. That was especially true for former Blue Jays’ draft pick Tyler Beede, who made it through 8 shutout innings for the Giants. Those shutout innings gave him a .525 WPA, enough for the WPA King title. The Giants won it in 10 thanks to a walkoff Dominic Smith error because the Mets suck and Dominic Smith is not a left fielder. Thanks to the Mets, the Giants are now 13-2 in July, and back to .500 and within striking distance of the Wild Card.

Mike Leake took a perfect game into the 9th inning, until unbeknownst to him, Minor Leaguer started watching the game. Leake proceeded to give up a single and a walk in the 9th, but he did still manage to complete the shutout. That was more than enough for the Pitcher of the Day award, as the Mariners took down the Angels 10-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Norris and Cory Rasmus.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs