After winning the homecoming yesterday, the Blue Jays will look to keep the momentum going this afternoon as they play game 2 of 3 against the visiting Royals. The game is scheduled to get underway at 3:07 ET, a bit of a weird start time.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Alek Manoah will return from the IL to make the start today, after missing about 2 weeks with a bruised back due to a fall. But he’s back in the rotation now, making his 9th start of the season. Through his first 8 and 40.1 innings, he is 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA so far, a very enjoyable addition to rotation and to the team. He has struck out 52 against 15 walks, and while he has allowed 7 home runs, they’ve only come in 2 of his starts. He’s either doing a great job keeping the ball in the ballpark, or he is doing terrible at it. There is no in between.
Veteran lefty Mike Minor will make the start for the Royals, his Major League lead tying 22nd of the year. Through his first 118.1 innings this year, Minor is 8-8 with a 5.32 ERA. His peripherals suggest that he is pitching a fair bit better, with an FIP of just 4.10. That’s based on a very strong strikeout rate of 8.75 per 9 innings against a walk rate of 2.74. That strikeout rate is just below league average of 9.06, while the walk rate is comfortably below the league average rate of 3.40. For home runs, Minor is pretty much right in line with league average, sitting at 1.29 per 9 innings, just above the league average of 1.24. So basically Minor is about your league average starting pitcher this year, just running into a bit of bad luck.
Minor faced the Jays when these two teams met back in mid-April, and the Jays handed Minor his first loss of the season. Minor made it through 5.2 innings, and ultimately allowed 4 runs on 7 hits. He didn’t walk anyone in the outing, but the Jays managed a pair of home runs off him - one from the recently DFA’d Jonathan Davis, and one from Vladdy.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
With the lefty Minor on the mound, I’d expect the Jays to go with Santiago Espinal at third base again today. The Jays didn’t upgrade the position at the deadline, and he’s far and away the best defender there, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a lot more of him. Biggio had the opportunity to fully take it, but with poor defense and a renewed struggle with the bat, he’s really on the chopping block for playing time until he can get back to his pre-2021 self.
Behind the plate, I really hope that Alejandro Kirk is catching again today. He had a good game yesterday, and it’s nice to see a catcher come up where you have confidence in him. He should be starting every game that he’s able to.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was the DH yesterday after taking a ball to his elbow on Thursday in Boston. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team give him a couple more days at DH to really allow him to heal up.
Prior to yesterday’s game, the Royals called up Lucius Fox to take the spot of the traded Jorge Soler. Fox didn’t make it into the game yesterday, so there’s a chance that he makes his Major League debut today.
Salvador Perez hit a home run again yesterday, his third straight day with a home run, and 5th in 7 days. It’s not quite a Joey Votto level run, but he’s still hitting a lot of home runs, and is now 1 short of his career high with 2 months to go. He’ll be in the lineup tonight, and either today or tomorrow he’ll get a day off from catching and slide into the DH spot.
With the exception of Fox probably getting a start somewhere today, expect to see the same lineup as yesterday.
Jonathan India went 3-4 with a pair of home runs, a double and a walk while driving in 3 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. India’s output helped carry the Reds to the 6-2 win over the Mets.
Chris Bassitt threw 7 shutout innings, stranding 6 hits and a walk with 7 strikeouts. He earned the win and the Pitcher of the Day award in the Athletics’ 2-0 shutout of the Angels. And since the game was so close, he gets the WPA King trophy as well with a .496 mark.
Find the Link
Find the link between Lucius Fox and Hall of Famer Lee Smith.