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Game #56 Preview: Kikuchi vs Singer

Blue Jays (33-22) vs Royals (17-37)

MLB: JUN 07 Blue Jays at Royals Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Blue Jays will look for their third sweep in their last four series this afternoon, as they wrap up their three game set against the home town Royals. The game today is set for a 2:10 ET start, so don’t forget to set your alarms. And the game is free on Youtube by following this link. It may still be on regular Sportsnet too.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Yusei Kikuchi gets the start for the Jays, making his 11th start of the year. Things are going fairly well for the 30 year old lefty, coming in to today with a 2-2 record and a 3.91 ERA. I think coming into the season, most people would have been happy if Kikuchi could give the Jays a sub-4.00 ERA.

The FIP from Kikuchi is a bit of a different story though, coming in at 4.57. His strikeout rate is at a career high (9.78 per 9 innings) but so is his walk rate (4.70 per 9 innings). His last start was his first of the year when he didn’t allow a walk, but he was likely filling the strike zone a bit too much in that one as he surrendered 3 home runs in his 4.2 innings of work.

Royals’ Starter

Former Blue Jays’ draft pick Brady Singer gets the ball for the Royals, making just his fifth start and eighth appearance overall. After making 27 starts for the Royals last season, Singer wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the rotation coming into the season. Instead, he wound up in the bullpen to open the season, then made three starts in AAA before making his way to back to the Major League rotation.

He immediately seized his newfound spot as well, throwing back to back games with 7 shutout innings. His next start was an out short of a quality start, but then in his most recent start against the Astros, he got lit up. In 5 innings, he allowed 3 home runs and ultimately gave up 7 runs on 8 hits. He didn’t walk anybody though, and on the season has fantastic strikeout to walk ratio of 30:4 over 30.1 innings.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The Blue Jays continued their offensive onslaught last night, scoring at least 7 runs for the 6th time in the last 9 games. This is the offense that we all signed up for, and it’s great to see.

Zack Collins was called up yesterday to replace the injured Danny Jansen. I would be surprised if he gets the start today though. I’d guess Alejandro Kirk is back behind the plate, and Teoscar Hernández gets a DH day.

Royals’ Lineup

The Jays will be going with a lefty today, giving the Royals a different look than the first two games. However, the biggest change they normally do against lefties is bring Carlos Santana off the bench to start at first, but that’s what happened yesterday too.

Last year’s breakout player of the year, Nicky Lopez, continues to struggle to find that form from 2021. He hit .300/.365/.378 (100 wRC+), and thanks to some great baserunning and incredible defense at SS, he was a 6 WAR player. The bat has retreated to a 64 wRC+ so far, and his defense isn’t anywhere near the same plus it was a year ago. The longer he spends looking like his 2019-2020 self, the more everyone is going to think 2021 was just an incredible aberration.

Yesterdays’ Heroes

Marcus Semien fully enjoyed his double header yesterday, going 7 for 8 with 3 homers, 4 singles and a walk, easily taking home the Monster Bat award. He also stole 2 bases for good measure. His Rangers split their double header with Guardians, swapping 6-3 victories.

Taylor Walls hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 10th, good enough for a walk-off victory over the Cardinals. The 2 out home run gave the Rays the 4-2 win, and Walls for his part gets the WPA King trophy with a .778 mark.

Yu Darvish threw 7 shutout innings, getting himself the Pitcher of the Day award in the process. He allowed just 2 hits while walking none, although he did bean 3 batters. But that didn’t hurt him, as Padres won again, beating the Mets 7-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Brady Singer, Ryan Mountcastle and Jesús Luzardo.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant