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Game #61 Preview: Lyles vs Kikuchi

Orioles (26-36) vs Blue Jays (36-24)

MLB: JUN 13 Orioles at Blue Jays Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a fun win last night, the Blue Jays will get right back at it against the Orioles this evening, playing the second game of their four game set. Gametime is once again set for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Yusei Kikuchi will go for the Jays, looking to bounce back from his horrible start the last time out. Kikuchi just couldn’t figure out the baseball in his start against the Royals on Wednesday, surrendering 4 walks and giving up 2 hits while getting just 2 outs before being pulled. That start came on the heels of a rough outing against the Twins, where he allowed 4 runs over 4.2 innings, including getting touched up for 3 home runs. Combine them, and his June numbers look horrible, with an 11.81 ERA and nearly as bad 9.71 FIP.

His numbers on the season are hurting now because of those two starts, but he still enters play with a 2-2 record and 4.44 ERA.

Orioles’ Starter

Veteran Jordan Lyles goes for the Orioles, making his 13th start of the year. So far on the season he is 3-5 with a 4.97 ERA, with an FIP about half a run better at 4.41. Those numbers are pretty close to being in line with his career numbers of a 5.20 ERA and 4.70 FIP, consistently falling short of his FIP by half a run over his 1241 career innings. He wont strike out many, but he’s also going to walk fewer than league average, and give up home runs at a bit more than a regular rate. That’s who Jordan Lyles is, and he’s fairly consistent at it.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Yesterday was a lot of fun seeing the ball fly all over the field, but you can’t help but wonder where this fortune was earlier this year. The Blue Jays had more bloop hits with runners in scoring position last night than they did hits with runners in scoring position over the first two weeks of May (probably not an accurate stat), and as a team went 8-16 with runners in scoring position.

Gabriel Moreno will be back in the lineup tonight behind the plate. I would expect to see Alejandro Kirk at the DH spot again.

Matt Chapman continues to miss time with an injured risk. The Jays are in the fortunate position of being able to take their time with him getting back, rolling Santiago Espinal out at third base and Cavan Biggio out at second. They lose a bit on the defensive side overall, but certainly not as much as you’d expect when you bench an otherworldly defender like Chapman. I’m OK with the Jays making sure he’s back to 100% before getting him back in the lineup.

Orioles’ Lineup

Kyle Stowers got the call up yesterday as the replacement for Anthony Santander. He ended up collecting his first and RBI, driving in the only run of the night with a 7th inning double. He was in the process of having a very good season in AAA, and even if this stint lasts just the week they’re in Toronto, he has certainly earned his spot here over it just being an emergency replacement for a selfish player.

Jorge Mateo had a pair of singles yesterday, and had the opportunity to show how disruptive his 80 grade speed can be. With a sprint speed of 30.3 ft/s, he is tied with Trea Turner as the second fastest player in all of baseball this year, falling just behind Bobby Witt Jr.. Mateo uses that speed well when he does get on base (just a .244 OBP), tied for the third most steals in all of baseball at 14. Blazing speed and good defense are his game, getting on base is not.

Ryan McKenna was on the bench yesterday, but as a right handed bat who usually finds his way into the lineup against lefties, expect to see him in the lineup tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Robinson Chirinos behind the plate to give Adley Rutschman some time off at DH, and Richie Martin may also get an opportunity to start against the lefty.

Yesterday’s Heroes

José Abreu went 3-5 with a pair of home runs, driving in 4 to take home the Monster bat award. He was the difference in the White Sox 9-5 win over the Tigers.

Rhys Hoskins hit a walkoff double in the bottom of the 9th, giving his Phillies the 3-2 win over the Marlins. For his part, Hoskins gets the WPA King trophy with a .456 mark for the game.

Yu Darvish was dominant last night, going 8 innings while allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 7. He also got the win, as his Padres beat the Cubs 4-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Jorge Mateo and TJ Sikkema.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant