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Game #123 Preview: Lynn vs Pannone

Rangers (59-59) vs Blue Jays (50-72)

Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

After an exceptionally fun win last night, the Blue Jays will look to keep their foot on the pedal and take game 2 of this 3 game series against the Rangers. Gametime is 7:07 ET this evening.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Thomas Pannone is currently listed as the starter for this one, although there are some whispers that the Jays will go with an opener before Pannone comes in as the bulk guy. Either way, Pannone is the one to talk about here, as he looks to improve upon his 2-5 record and 6.83 ERA. He occasionally will have flashes of a good starter, games that make you go “alright, I guess I can handle watching the Jays today”, but other games he really seems to be struggling as he works through the lineup. Realistically, he should be a long man in the bullpen, but due to the fact that there really are no other options for the rotation, Pannone will continue to get starts despite his struggles.

Pannone faced the Rangers once this year, and that start definitely falls under the “struggles” category. Back on May 4 in Texas, he managed to make it through just 2.1 innings, allowing 7 runs on 5 hits, walking 3 and striking out just 1. He surrendered a solo home run to Nomar Mazara in the bottom of the first in that one.

Rangers’ Starter

The Rangers will go with breakout ace Lance Lynn, making his 25th start of the season. Lynn is having a career year at 32, putting up single season bests in strikeout rate (10.34 per 9 innings, more than 1 per 9 higher than his previous best) and walk rate (2.21 per 9 innings, just short of 1 per 9 innings lower than his previous best) while keeping his home run rate right at his career rate, despite the massive uptick in home runs league wide. This has led him to a 14-7 record with a 3.60 ERA, and a career best 2.93 FIP. With those numbers, he has already shattered his previous high in WAR, now sitting at 5.5, pretty much 2 WAR higher than his previous best.

Lynn faced off against Pannone back on May 4, and had one of his worst starts of the season in that one. He managed to fight through 6 innings, but not before giving up 5 runs on 8 hits, striking out 3 and walking a season high 5. He did still manage to get the win, but only because Pannone was just that little bit worse.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Last night was a lot of fun, as every one in the lineup was able to chip in at least 1 hit, en route to season highs in runs, hits and doubles. That game brought the team wide wRC+ up to 91, inching ever closer to that league average mark, an impressive feat considering as a team they were at 73 on June 11.

Brandon Drury, who is expected to get even more playing time now that Freddy Galvis has moved on to the Reds, is working on a 9 game hitting streak. He is now hitting .275/.298/.525 (110 wRC+) since the All Star Break.

Bo Bichette added to his resume and legend last night, knocking 2 more doubles to become the first player ever with 15 extra base hits in his first 15 games. I’m sure these silly stats will keep coming as long as he keeps hitting. He has now caught up to Billy McKinney for 10th on the team in doubles, despite Billy having nearly 3 times as many plate appearances.

Speaking of McKinney, I expect him to be in the lineup today after being added to the roster yesterday. I’m not sure in deference to who, but if I had to guess, it would either be Justin Smoak or Teoscar Hernandez. Given Lynn’s pretty heavy splits that favour lefties, I would say he’ll be in for Teoscar. Those splits could also mean today is a good day for Reese McGuire to be behind the plate as well, especially with the lefty Kolby Allard scheduled to go tomorrow.

Rangers’ Lineup

Rougned Odor really Odor’d the place up last night, hitting a home run down 17-2 and enjoying every minute of his drawn out walk around the bases. Somehow, despite being one of the worst qualified batters in baseball of the last few years, he still needs to remind everyone how much they should hate him.

We should get to see Hunter Pence in the lineup today with the lefty on the mound. Pence is hitting .286/.341/.557 (124 wRC+) on the season, and his wRC+ shoots up to 142 when taken against just lefties, which is why he is being platooned a bit harder recently.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa will likely make another start in the field in this one as well, as he has drawn a lot of starts recently, and could be used today to get another lefty out of the lineup.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Gleyber Torres took full advantage of the fact that he was playing the Orioles yesterday, and launched 3 home runs in the double header, as well as collecting a single and drawing a walk. He earned the Monster Bat award for his efforts, and the Yankees swept the double header 8-5 and 11-8.

Carlos Santana hit a walk-off home run, sending the Cleveland fans home happy and the Red Sox reeling after another loss. The Red Sox are now 13-18 in the second half, and have fallen pretty much out of the playoff picture, while Cleveland is an MLB best 22-9, taking sole possession of 1st place in AL Central for the first time in months with that win. For Santana’s part, he gets the WPA King title with a .352 mark in Cleveland’s 6-5 win.

The short schedule from yesterday makes the Pitcher of the Day award a tough pick. I’ll go with Erick Fedde, who made it through 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4. The Nationals won the game 7-6 over the Reds.

Find the Link

Find the link between Lynn and Huston Street.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs