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Game #3 Preview: Howard vs Ryu

Rangers (0-2) vs Blue Jays (2-0)

Toronto Blue Jays play the Texas Rangers Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Blue Jays will look to finish off the sweep of the visiting Rangers this afternoon, as they play game 3 of their opening weekend series. The game will get underway at 1:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Hyun Jin Ryu will make his first start of 2022, looking to bring back some of his pre-2021 dominance. Last year wasn’t a good one for him though, as he went 14-10 with a career worst 4.37 ERA. His FIP of 4.02 was a fair bit better, thanks to a typically low walk rate of 1.97 per 9 innings. His home run rate came in at a roughly league average 1.28 per 9 innings, but it was his strikeout rate that was uncharacteristically low for him at 7.62.

While his fastball velocity wasn’t any worse in 2021, coming in an at an average of 89.8 mph, right in line with his 89.9 average from a third place finish in the 2020 Cy Young voting. However, the movement on his pitches across the board were a bit worse than his 2020 season, and probably a good reason for some of his struggles anyway. But after a better offseason for him, where he spent a good amount of the lockout working out with his former KBO team the Hanwha Eagles, we will hopefully see an improvement on those 2021 numbers.

Rangers’ Starter

While it may have made sense for Martín Pérez or Taylor Hearn to make the start today, but as they’re lefties, the Rangers will likely go with Spencer Howard to at least get the bulk of the work today, whether he’s starting or coming in after an opener.

Howard had an injury filled rookie season, pitching in just 19 games, starting 15, and totaling just 49.2 innings. He struggled with walks, giving up 27 in his short time, while being a lot closer to league average in home runs and strikeouts. Ultimately though, he finished the year with a 7.43 ERA, but a much nicer looking 4.72 FIP. Hopes are still a fair bit higher for him, as he possesses a strong 4 pitch mix of fastball, slider, curveball and changeup, but he’ll have to figure out control of them if he’s going to find success.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

And there’s this update about Zimmer and Katoh:

Rangers’ Lineup

Yesterday’s Heroes

Nolan Arenado went 4-4 with a trio of doubles, scoring twice and driving in 3 to take home the Monster Bat award. His big day helped his Cardinals to the 6-2 win over the Pirates.

Byron Buxton hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th, giving his Twins the 3-2 lead and Buxton the WPA King trophy. While his .478 WPA put them on the cusp of victory, the Twins’ bullpen couldn’t close it out, and they lost to the Mariners once again, this time falling 4-3.

Kyle Gibson threw 7 shutout innings for the Phillies, allowing just 2 hits and no walks while striking out 10, taking home the Pitcher of the Day award. The Phillies’ bullpen was able to hold on, getting Gibson the win in their 4-2 victory over the Athletics.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nathaniel Lowe, his brother, and Delmon Young.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant