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Game #123 Preview: Lynn vs Manoah

White Sox (72-53) vs Blue Jays (64-58)

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

After wrapping up their third straight losing series yesterday, the Blue Jays will look forward once more, now opening a 4 game series against the visiting AL Central Leaders, the White Sox. The first of four games gets underway this evening, with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Alek Manoah makes his return from the Bereavement List to make his regularly scheduled start here. He went on the Bereavement List shortly after his last start, so I would think that it’s safe to assume that whatever reason caused the leave was also in his head in his last outing. In Washington last week, Manoah had the worst outing of his short career, going just 3 innings while allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on 6 hits and a walk, striking out just 2. That start inflated his season ERA up to 3.34.

This will be Manoah’s second start against the White Sox, and the first one was pretty good. He made it through 5 innings, allowing just 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 4 in that one an didn’t allow a home run.

White Sox’ Starter

Cy Young candidate Lance Lynn will open the series for the White Sox. Through 123.2 innings so far this year (currently 4 outs short of a being qualified for the ERA title) Lynn is 10-3 with a 2.26 ERA. Presumably by the end of the day, he’ll be back atop the AL leaderboard in ERA, as the current qualified leader is Robbie Ray and his 2.79 mark.

Lynn’s FIP is a over a full run higher than his ERA, suggesting he has been a bit lucky, but at the same time, a 3.28 FIP is still a sign of a good season. The 34 year old is putting up numbers unmatched by any season of his outside of his breakthrough 2019 season, when he became an entirely new pitcher and finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. This season, he has a 10.26 K/9 rate, a 2.91 BB/9 rate, and a 0.95 HR/9 rate, all numbers comfortably better than league average.

Lynn faced the Jays earlier this season when the two teams met up, and had one of his best outings of the year. Over 7 innings, he allowed just 1 run on 4 hits and no walks, striking out 9. Randal Grichuk hit a home run to account for the only run off Lynn, but the Jays’ bats came alive late in that one and beat the bullpen with a 6-2 victory.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Kevin Smith got the rare start at 3B yesterday, and had a rough go of it, matching Teoscar Hernández’s 0-5 with a pair of strikeouts as the low points in the lineup. However, I’d still like to see Smith get a bunch of more chances on the infield to see what he can do.

On the good side of things yesterday, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had another 3 hit night. He is now hitting .288/.336/.493 (122 wRC+) since the start of June, and really should be in the lineup at some position every day.

With the righty Lynn on the mound, expect to see both Reese McGuire and Corey Dickerson in the lineup today.

White Sox’ Lineup

The White Sox have a very balanced and deep lineup, headlined by reigning MVP José Abreu. Abreu is hitting .255/.336/.482 (124 wRC+) with a team leading 25 home runs. He also leads the Majors in RBI with 92.

Joining Abreu among players having better than league average seasons while playing pretty much this whole year are Yoán Moncada (119 wRC+), Tim Anderson (118 wRC+) and Andrew Vaughn (116 wRC+).

Young phenoms Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert, two of the best young outfielders in the game, missed a lot of time this year due to injury, but are finally healthy and will also feature prominently in the lineup.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Daulton Varsho went 3-4, falling just a single short of the cycle, while also driving in 4 runs to pick up the Monster Bat award. Varsho’s big day helped the Diamondbacks double up the Rockies 8-4.

Donovan Solano hit a huge 2-run home run in the top of the 8th inning, getting his Giants on the board and giving them a 2-1 lead. That was the final score as the Giants beat the Athletics, and Solano goes home with the WPA King award thanks to a .532 mark on the day.

Adam Wainwright looked like his dominant old self again yesterday, twirling 8 shutout innings on just 2 hits and no walks. He struck out 9 batters and got the win as the Cardinals beat the Pirates 3-0. That was the 39 year old’s second outing of 8+ shutout innings with no walks and only 2 hits in his last 3 starts (although both were against the Pirates).

Find the Link

Find the link between José Abreu and Miguel Cabrera (a bad while good).

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant