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Game #100 Preview: Lynch vs Stripling

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Royals (45-56) vs Blue Jays (51-48)

Baseball opens 04/04/02 Opening day Fans at Skydome . Painted fans Shane Delaney , Daniel Janeiro an Photo by Ron Bull/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Today marks one of the most anticipated games in Blue Jays’ history, as they return home to play their first game on Canadian soil in front of fans for the first time in 670 days. They’ll welcome the Royals into town for this 3 day weekend series, with tonight’s game getting underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Ross Stripling will likely go for the Jays, making his 18th appearance of the season. So far on the year, he is 3-6 with a 4.84 ERA through 80.0 innings. As a backend starter, a 4.84 ERA isn’t too bad, but really shows an area that the Jays can add to to improve the team. And while Stripling has had his struggles this year, particularly with home runs (his 2.03 HR/9 rate is 3rd most in baseball among pitchers with at least 80 innings), he is still ~mostly~ giving the Jays good outings when he’s on the mound. He has gone at least 5 innings with 2 or fewer earned runs allowed in 9 of his 17 outings so far.

Royals’ Starter

Rookie Daniel Lynch will go for the Royals, making just the 5th start of his young career. So far this year, he has had starts on pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of results, with an absolute stinker and a couple more bad starts back in May, and then an absolutely dominating start once called back up last weekend. In the bad start, he allowed 8 runs in just 0.2 innings, but over the first 3 starts in total he allowed 15 runs on 18 hits and 5 walks over just 8 innings, striking out 7. But then he turned all of that around in his return to the Majors, throwing 8 shutout innings against the Tigers and earning his first big league win.

Lynch entered 2021 as the Royals’ 3rd ranked prospect and 78th overall according to Fangraphs. The tall lefty features a mid-90s fastball that he’ll throw in there about half the time, and then his slider and changeup make up his likely to be used to arsenal. Most of his strikeouts have come from the slider, including against right handed batters.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With the trade deadline today, there’s a chance that the Jays add a bat, although the odds of that feel quite low, and the odds of whoever that player is being able to be in Toronto for gametime seems exceptionally low. So the offensive crew that had a great time yesterday will most likely be the one that is back again today.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who took a pitch off the elbow on Wednesday (and whose x-rays came back negative for a fracture) is day to day, and while he probably really wants to play today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some more time off. If he is in there today, expect it to be as the DH, because throwing is probably quite hard for him right now.

With the lefty on the mound, we could see Santiago Espinal at third base again. He looked great once again defensively yesterday, and did very well at the plate as well, going 2-4.

Even though he did collect 3 doubles in yesterday’s game (with 2 against lefties) I really don’t like seeing Reese McGuire get a start against lefties. It seems like he and Alejandro Kirk are splitting time fairly evenly, so I’d guess Kirk will get the start today.

Royals’ Lineup

The Royals are carrying a relatively healthy team at the moment, with only Adalberto Mondesi and Emmanuel Rivera on the Injured List from the position player side of things. Rivera is on a rehab assignment right now, while Mondesi is still dealing with a sore oblique that has caused him to miss about 3 months over a pair of IL stints so far this season.

On the healthy and positive side of things for the Royals, Salvador Perez, the hulking 31 year old catcher who they gave a massive 4 year extension to this past offseason, is having one of the best seasons of his career. He earned his 7th trip to the All Star game this year, starting behind the plate for the AL. He’s hitting .280/.309/.515 (120 wRC+), and his 25 home runs so far are just 2 shy of his career high.

Joining Perez on the good side of things for the Royals are Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana, although I’m not sure either of them will still be on the team when the game starts. They’re both signed through next season, so the Royals aren’t in need of moving them, but at the same time they’re likely fielding calls on them as well, as they’re both in their early-mid 30s and don’t figure to be a part of the next contending Royals’ team, whenever that may be.

Another couple guys who could be on the move before gametime today are Michael A. Taylor and Jorge Soler. Both are pending free agents who could help somebody’s bench, although both are at about an 80 wRC+, so the demand for their services is probably fairly low. I wouldn’t expect them to be traded today, so we’ll probably see them in the lineup tonight.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Miguel Cabrera went 3-3 with a pair of home runs and a walk to pick up the Monster Bat award. His output helped his Tigers take down the Orioles 6-2.

The Phillies and Nationals played a pretty crazy double header yesterday, with the first game drawing the most craziness. J.T. Realmuto hit a game tying, 2-run single in the 7th inning to force extras, where Brad Miller hit a walk-off grand slam in the 8th inning. Miller was the WPA King through that game at a .448 to Realmuto’s .434. But in the nightcap, Realmuto hit a game tying home run in the 4th inning to push him over the edge and take home the award with a .542 mark for the day. The Phillies and Nationals split the double header, with the Phillies winning the first game 11-8, and the Nats taking the second 3-1.

Joe Musgrove and Frankie Montas both threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits. I’ll give the Pitcher of the Day award to Musgrove though, as he walked just 1 to Montas’ 3, and had one more strikeout with 11. Musgrove’s Padres beat the visiting Rockies 3-0, while Montas’ A’s beat the hometown Angels 4-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Salvador Perez, Mookie Betts and Nolan Arenado.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant