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Game #116 Preview: Ryu vs Kikuchi

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Blue Jays (62-53) vs Mariners (62-55)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After the bad loss last night, the Blue Jays will look to right their ship this evening in game 2 of their 3 game series in Seattle. Tonight’s game is once again at 10:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Hyun Jin Ryu will get the start for the Jays, making his 23rd start of the season. He will be going for his 12th win of the season, which would tie him back up with Chris Bassitt of the A’s for the AL lead. Overall, Ryu is 11-5 with a 3.62 ERA, and a matching 3.63 FIP. Over his 126.2 innings, he has 103 strikeouts to just 26 walks, with 14 home runs allowed as well.

Ryu has faced the Mariners once this year, pitching the Canada Day game in Buffalo. In that one, Ryu had one of his worst outings of the season, lasting just 4.0 innings while allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walk. He also allowed 2 home runs in that one, one to Jake Fraley and one to Shed Long Jr., who is currently on the Injured List.

Mariners’ Starter

The Mariners will counter with Yusei Kikuchi, the Mariners’ prized international free agent signing prior to the 2019 season. Now in his 3rd season with the Mariners, Kikuchi is showing the promise that landed him a $43m guarantee from the Mariners. Through 21 starts this season, the first time All Star is 7-6 with a 3.73 ERA. Over 125.1 innings, Kikuchi has 135 strikeouts, while allowing 43 walks and 22 home runs.

Kikuchi went head to head against Ryu on Canada Day, and he earned the win with one of his best starts of the year. He made it through 7 innings, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 6. The lone run came on a Semien solo home run to lead off the game.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The left handed Kikuchi will keep Corey Dickerson on the bench to start this game, regardless of how his back is doing. Dickerson was healthy enough last night to pinch hit, ripping a single in place of Randal Grichuk, and then was able to stick around to run the bases and play the outfield. So he’s probably going to be fine.

Expect to see both Randal Grichuk and Santiago Espinal in the lineup today against the lefty as well. Reese McGuire, who should be limited in his batting opportunities against lefties, probably will be in there catching Ryu. Not an ideal matchup on offense, but having the catcher Ryu wants to pitch to is probably more important.

If I had to guess who will be DH today, I think I’d go with Gurriel. He hasn’t been DH since July 30, and is having a really good road trip so far. In 4 games (he only started one of the two in the double header, and came on for the injured Dickerson on Thursday), he is 6-13 with a double and 2 home runs, driving in 7. In 203 plate appearances since the start of June, he is hitting .283/.330/.508 (124 wRC+) with 12 doubles and 10 home runs, much more in line with the Gurriel we grew accustomed to in late 2019 and 2020.

Mariners’ Lineup

Jake Fraley, who usually sits against lefties, will be an interesting name to watch out for as the lineups are announced. As mentioned before, he hit a home run off Ryu when these two teams met before, but he also is hitting just .141/.274/.197 in his career against lefties, with that home run accounting for 1 of just 2 extra base hits in 84 plate appearances.

Catcher Cal Raleigh, one the Mariners’ top prospects, got the night off behind the plate yesterday, but will more than likely be back in the lineup today. He hasn’t started his career off well on the hitting side of things, but he has a very powerful bat, and should end up with a good number of home runs over how ever long his career is.

Looking at the game preview on Baseball Savant, the differences between these two offences is quite stark. The Mariners have just 1 batter (Luis Torrens at 91 mph) with an average exit velocity this season over 90 mph. The Blue Jays have 7.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Bobby Dalbec went 3-4 with a home run and a pair of doubles, driving in 3 runs to earn the Monster Bat award. He also helped lead his Red Sox to the 8-1 victory over the Orioles.

Daulton Varsho hit a walkoff home run to lead off the bottom of the 9th for the Diamondbacks, earning himself the WPA King trophy with a .453 mark. The home run gave the D-Backs the 3-2 win over the Padres.

Zack Greinke went 7 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and walking none while striking out 7 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the win, as the Astros beat the Angels 4-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Cal Raleigh and Steve Phoenix.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant