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Game #14 Preview: Matz vs Minor

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Blue Jays (6-7) vs Royals (7-4)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough loss yesterday, the Blue Jays are right back at it against the Royals in game two of four in Kansas City. Today’s game is another later one, set to start at 8:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Lefty Steven Matz will make his third start of the season, and will try to continue the early season magic that he has going on. Through 12.1 innings, Matz has allowed just 2 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks, striking out 13. He has done a fantastic job with the strikeouts, with limiting the walks, and also with inducing a fair amount of weak contact.

Royals’ Starter

The Royals will send out an offseason acquisition of their own in lefty Mike Minor. Minor signed with the Royals on a 2 year, $18m contract, one of the few 2 year deals given out to starting pitchers this past winter.

So far this year, Minor is having an alright start to his seasons. Through 10 innings, he has allowed 5 runs on 8 hits, but he has walked 5 against 9 strikeouts. I’m sure the Royals would like to see his walk rate drop a bit, and it probably will, as he’s currently almost 2 walks/9 innings higher than his career rate.

The 33 year old Minor brings a 92 mph fastball, which he’ll mix fairly evenly with what has been his best pitch thus far in 2021, his slider. Behind those two pitches, he throws a changeup that has traditionally been his best out pitch to righties, and the curveball which he has slowly abandoned over the years.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Cavan Biggio took a ball off his hand yesterday and was pulled early. X-rays taken last night came back negative, so there doesn’t appear to be anything broken. I think there’s a pretty good chance he’ll get today off though.

If Biggio is out for just a game, I would imagine we just see Joe Panik make the start over at 3B. If he, like so many other Blue Jays, ends up on the Injured List, I would imagine we’ll see Santiago Espinal rejoin the team. At that point, I’m not sure if it would be Espinal playing there, or if we see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. make some starts at the hot corner.

With the lefty on the mound, I’m thinking we’ll see Jonathan Davis in the outfield. I’m not sure what the plan with Rowdy Tellez is, but I would imagine they’ll keep him in the lineup after his first multi-hit game of the season last night.

Royals’ Lineup

It’s not very often a team will face four lefties in a four game series, but that’s what the Jays are throwing against the Royals, and rookie Kyle Isbel may be the one who suffers most. He started on the bench with the lefty Kay on the mound yesterday, and has sat against a few lefties this year, which could mean he’s out all weekend. Hanser Alberto got the start last night in his place, and would presumably get one in each game of this series, although he may spell some other guys instead.

The Jays managed to keep Michael A. Taylor off the bases yesterday, just the second time in this young season he didn’t reach. Although he isn’t so much the problem on the bases, whereas both Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi each have a trio of stolen bases in the early going, and the Royals can also go to speedster Jarrod Dyson off the bench.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Justin Turner went 3-3 with a home run and double, driving in 3 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. He helped his Dodgers to the 7-5 win over the Rockies, and pushed his reigning World Series Champion team to an incredible 11-2 start.

While Turner got the Monster Bat in that game, it was Max Muncy who had the clutch hit. Muncy turned a 5-3 deficit in the bottom of the 7th into a 6-5 advantage for the Dodgers, a hit that was worth .545 WPA, and brought his total for the day up out of the negatives for a WPA King total of .472.

Michael Pineda was lights out for the Twins yesterday, throwing 7 shutout innings in picking up the Pitcher of the Day award. He held the red hot Red Sox to just 2 hits and a walk while striking out 6. The Sox ended up tying it against the Twins’ bullpen and taking the win away from Pineda, but the Twins walked it off in the 9th by a score of 4-3, ending the Red Sox 9 game winning streak.

Find the Link

Find the link between Kyle Isbel and the Padres’ new international star Ha-Seong Kim.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant