After going through the process in New York and Texas, it’s the Blue Jays turn for their Home Opener, although I’m sure everyone will be a lot more excited for the Toronto opener, whenever that actually finally comes. But for now TD Ballpark in Dunedin is where the Blue Jays call home, and they’re welcoming the Angels in for a four games series. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET, but if you tune in sooner you’ll get to watch the ceremony.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Veteran right hander Ross Stripling will head back to the mound again for the Jays. He wasn’t expected to be in the rotation to start the season, but with injuries to Robbie Ray and Nate Pearson, Stripling drew the second start of the season. Now he’s back again, looking to have a bit more success than he did the first time.
Last weekend against the Yankees, Stripling lasted just 3.1 innings, surrendering 3 runs on 7 hits. A few of those hits were the super frustrating bloopers just over the infield type hits. And to his credit, he looked alright overall, just gave up the bloops, and one of his bequeathed runners came around to score. He did manage to strike out 5, but the 2 walks don’t look that great.
Griffin Canning will make a start for the Angels this year, after being pushed back because he was warming in the bullpen with the potential of being brought in a game. He was supposed to start Tuesday’s game, but he was instead warming in the bullpen with the potential of being brought into Sunday’s game. He never got into that game, and his start got bumped back to today.
Canning, once a fairly well regarded prospect, has now had 146.2 career innings of relatively good success thus far. He has a 4.36 career ERA, with a damn near matching 4.35 FIP. He has struck out just over a batter per inning, while walking one every three or so, and has allowed home runs at about a league average rate.
Canning features a fastball, slider, cutter, changeup and curveball, with the slider receiving the best grade (60) while he was a prospect, and that has held true now that he’s in the Majors too. In 2019, batters had an expected batting average of just .212 with it, while last year he brought that down even further to .145.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
The Jays are expected to honour their Silver Slugger Award winner Teoscar Hernandez prior to the game, presenting him with the official hardware. Perhaps that will help kickstart his bat, because since going 3-4 with a home run on Opening Day, he is 2-20 with 9 strikeouts, failing to reach base otherwise or drive in a run.
I do wonder if the Jays will try to shake up the lineup a little bit to try to group some of the guys having good at bats. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is making a solid case to be bumped up to the 3 spot in the order, while Bo Bichette could bump up to 2 and Cavan Biggio could then move down to Vladdy’s 5 spot. I’d also consider bringing Randal Grichuk up some too.
Discussion of the Angels’ lineup begins with living legend Mike Trout. Trout is arguably the best player ever (when considering competition, etc), and I’m personally super excited to see him bat against the Jays after not getting that last year. He’s off to a great start this year too, hitting .368/.556/.737. He does have a lot of strikeouts (8 in 27 PA), but other than that, he’s his typical dominant self. Maybe his most ridiculous early season stat is his 90.9% hard hit percentage.
Outside of Trout, Shohei Ohtani brings some very exciting and unique talent to the game. He’s finally starting and batting this year, and his bat is off to a solid start so far, hitting .250/.286/.550. And we’ll likely get to see him pitch on Sunday too.
Other parts of their big name offense aren’t doing too great, as Justin Upton and his 98 wRC+ leads the group of other guys making over $15m per year, one that also includes Anthony Rendon (77 wRC+), Dexter Fowler (12 wRC+ - although he’s mostly being paid by the Cardinals) and Albert Pujols (16 wRC+).
Fangraphs isn’t cooperating with me this morning, so I’m going to have to take a wild stab at these.
José Ramirez launched a pair of home runs and drove in 4, so that seems good enough for the Monster Bat award. And it was enough for his Clevelanders to pick up the 4-2 win over the Royals.
WPA King is probably the hardest one to figure out without the help of Fangraphs stats from yesterday, but I think we’ll give the award to Kyle Higashioka, who hit a game tying single in the 10th inning to force an 11th inning. I’m going with him simply so I can mention that the Orioles still beat the Yankees 4-3, despite Higashioka’s heroics with a .417 WPA.
Nathan Eovaldi went 7 strong innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7 and picking up the Pitcher of the Day award. He also picked up the win in the Red Sox 9-2 drubbing of the Rays.
Find the Link
Find the link between Mike Trout and Michael Bourn.