After a successful road trip, the Blue Jays return to Buffalo to welcome the Orioles to town. Game 1 of the 4 game weekend series gets underway this evening at 7:07 ET.
Blue Jays’ Starter
With Steven Matz still on the COVID IL (the expectation seems to be that he’ll be back next time through the rotation), Anthony Kay will slide into the rotation and make his 5th start of the year. This will be Kay’s 7th appearance overall, and through the first 21.0 innings of his season, he isn’t having the greatest success. He has 23 strikeouts against 10 walks, but he has allowed 5 home runs in that short time as well. With 22 hits allowed, that all adds up to a 6.43 ERA, on with an FIP that comes close at 5.92.
Like many of the pitchers in this series, Kay’s last appearance came in last weekend’s series, so he has familiarity with this lineup. He came on in relief of an ejected Alek Manoah. Kay ended up going 3.1 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and no walks, striking out 3. This was the game where the Jays allowed 6 home runs, and Kay surrendered a pair of them - one to Cedric Mullins, and the other to Ryan Mountcastle.
Going for the Orioles is Dean Kremer, making his 12th start of the year. He enters play with an 0-6 record and a 6.20 ERA. In 49.1 innings, he has 45 strikeouts against 19 walks, but the big number is the 13 home runs allowed. Nobody else in baseball with fewer than 50 innings has allowed more than 11 home runs, so he’s really allowing a lot of home runs this year. His 2.37 per 9 innings is the worst rate among any pitcher with at least 40 innings.
Kremer also pitched in the game last Saturday with all of the home runs, except he had one of his best starts of the year in that one. He went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6. He gave up a pair of solo home runs in the top of the 1st to Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., followed by a double by Randal Grichuk, but that was the last hit he allowed. Thankfully the Jays’ offense woke up against the bullpen and won the game with 6 runs in the 9th.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
They’re going to need to figure out Kremer a lot more consistently in this one. Thankfully they’re at home where they hit better (117 wRC+ compared to 103 on the road). They also have a healthy Springer back in the lineup, who I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the DH spot today.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who was the odd man out yesterday with the stupid NL rules, should be back in the lineup today and probably in LF.
Reese McGuire will be back behind the plate against the righty, and hopefully he can continue his hot hitting. He has multi-hit games in 3 of his last 4 starts, and with his pinch hit yesterday, he is 10 for his last 16 with 5 doubles. His season line is now up to .300/.347/.443 (117 wRC+) over 76 PA.
The Orioles haven’t made a roster move relating to their position players since last weekend, so it’s pretty safe to assume we’ll see pretty much the same group we saw last weekend.
Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle were the two big thorns in the Jays’ side last weekend, and they’re definitely the ones to watch out for again this weekend. Mullins went 5-14 with 4 home runs in the 3 games, while Mountcastle was 6-12 with 3 home runs of his own.
The rest of the roster in the series went a combined 15-76 with 4 home runs, so they weren’t completely inept, but they weren’t anywhere near the threat that Mullins and Mountcastle were. Trey Mancini contributed 2 of the home runs, while old friend Freddy Galvis had 4 hits.
Trevor Story went 2-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 3 to pick up the Monster Bat award. He was the big part of the Rockies offensive attack as they took down the Mariners 5-2.
The Nationals and Phillies played an incredibly fun, back and forth game, with runs and lead changes galore. As a result, the WPA King comes from that game, and goes to Josh Bell and his .600 mark. Bell hit a big grand slam in the top of the 6th, while also contributing a single in the top of the 9th, and a walk in the 5th. Ultimately, his Nationals won the game 13-12.
Germán Márquez threw 8 strong innings, allowing just a solo home run, plus one other hit and no walks. He struck out 7 on his way to the Pitcher of the Day award, and got the win in the aforementioned 5-2 Rockies’ win.
Find the Link
Find the link between Ryan Mountcastle and Luis Ortiz.