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Game #49 Preview: Kopech vs Ryu

White Sox (23-24) vs Blue Jays (28-20)

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a thrilling win last night, the Blue Jays will look to do it again against the White Sox, as they play the second game of their three game set. Gametime is once again set for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Hyun Jin Ryu will look to keep up his excellent string of starts that he has put together since coming back from injury. In his three starts since that four week IL stint, Ryu has thrown 15.2 innings, allowing just 3 runs on 16 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. That’s a 1.72 ERA over that stretch, which brings his season numbers to 2-0 with a 5.48 ERA, still hurt by a horrible start to the season.

Ryu left his last start a bit early after feeling some tightness in his elbow. He wasn’t concerned at that time, and it seems like he’s healthy and ready to go for this one. It’s a bit concerning after his first trip to the IL was for a forearm issue. He’ll likely have a lot of close eyes on him today.

White Sox’ Starter

The flame throwing Michael Kopech gets the start for the White Sox. A reliever last year, Kopech has been moved full time back to the rotation, and after throwing just 69.1 innings last year, the White Sox are undoubtedly limiting his innings. He hasn’t pitched in 10 days now, and it was a week long break before that. He’s probably going to need a bit more consistency than that, but the extra help seemed to help him his last time out - 7 shutout innings with just 1 hit allowed.

Overall Kopech has been quite dominant. In 42 innings this season, he is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA. With 39 strikeouts, his K rate isn’t anything special, but hasn’t allowed a home run yet. That’s important, because he has walked 19 batters, the only dent in an otherwise really impressive season. But walks are pretty much the only way to get on base, as he has somehow allowed just 17 hits in 8 starts, resulting in a .121 batting average against. Both his 1.29 ERA and his .121 batting average against are the best in all of baseball among the 110 pitchers who have thrown at least 40 innings.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Teoscar Hernández hit a pair of doubles yesterday, a great sight to see for the slugger who has struggled all season long. That was just the third multi-hit game of the season for him. It also pushed his hit streak up to 5 games, although the first 4 games were all just lone singles. But a heated up Teo is a huge boost to this team.

Alejandro Kirk’s big night hopefully means that he gets to continue to be the DH on days when he’s not catching. And with Ryu pitching, it means that Kirk should be DH again today, as Danny Jansen is certainly catching Ryu. I’d really like to see Kirk bumped up to the 2 spot, but he’s at least found himself batting 5th.

Cavan Biggio has started every game since coming back from AAA. He is hitting .231/.375/.308 (108 wRC+) in that timeframe, getting on base in all 5 games. The power still isn’t there, just as it wasn’t before his COVID-IL stint, and just like it wasn’t in his AAA stint.

White Sox’ Lineup

Luis Robert was still on the bench for last night’s game, despite being activated off the COVID-IL prior to the start of the game. I probably missed a discussion on it, but I would assume he’ll be back in there yesterday.

Andrew Vaughn had really good night last night, and is looking like the highly regarded bat that the White Sox were hoping they had. His big night bumped his numbers to .291/.339/.509 (145 wRC+) in 121 PA.

Yoán Moncada was once again out of the lineup yesterday dealing with a quad injury. He has now missed enough time that you’d have to think he’s either coming back today or will be put on the IL today.

AJ Pollock has missed the last couple games with an illness, but with the lefty Ryu on the mound, I’m sure they’ll be hoping they can have him in the lineup.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Alejandro Kirk gets the Monster Bat award for his pair of homers and 4 RBI on a 3-4 night in the Jays’ 6-5 win.

Joc Pederson had a go-ahead single in the top of the 10th, and a 2-run home run in the top of the 11th, helping him take home the WPA King trophy. He gets the award with a strong .465 WPA, and his Giants beat the Phillies 7-4.

It was a tight battle for Pitcher of the Day between Adam Wainwright and Martín Pérez, with both throwing 7 shutout innings with 3 baserunners allowed. However, Wainwright was up against the Padres and Pérez had his effort come against the Rays, so the award goes to Pérez since “beating the Rays” is as strong of a tiebreaker as there is. He struck out 5 and took home the winning decision as his Rangers beat the Rays 3-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Andrew Vaughn, Garrett Crochet and Nico Hoerner.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant