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Game #114 Preview: Bradish vs Kikuchi

Orioles (59-55) vs Blue Jays (61-52)

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After another loss yesterday resulting in another lost series, the Blue Jays will start up a new series as they welcome the Orioles into the Rogers Centre for a three game series to kick off the week. Today’s game is set to get underway at the normal 7:07 ET first pitch time.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Blue Jays need a good, long outing from a starting pitcher, and they’re going to look to Yusei Kikuchi to get them that. Unfortunately for the Jays, that kind of outing isn’t really something they can expect from Kikuchi, as he has made it through 6 innings just 3 times in 19 starts this year. As a result, we’re looking at a pitcher who is now 4-6 with a 5.13 ERA and a horrible 5.73 FIP, averaging a little over 4 innings per start. His FIP is the worst in baseball for anyone over 70 innings this year, as his walk rate (5.24 per 9 innings) also tops that list, and his home run rate (2.05 per 9 innings) is second worst.

After facing them in his last outing last week, Kikuchi now has two outings against the Orioles, and he has gotten knocked around a fair bit. In a combined 9 innings, he has allowed 9 runs on 11 hits and 7 walks, striking out 8. He has also surrendered 5 home runs in that span too, so holding them to just 9 runs when you’re allowing 2 baserunners per inning and 5 home runs is almost a victory in itself. I will say this about his outing a week ago though - he managed to get through 5 innings after getting shelled in the first few innings, and put up a very strong 4th and 5th innings.

Orioles’ Starter

Getting the ball for the Orioles will be Kyle Bradish, also making his second consecutive start against the same opponent. Bradish started last Tuesday in Baltimore against the Jays, and had one of his better outings of the year, going 5.1 innings while allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4. When he faced the Jays earlier this year, he allowed 5 runs in 4.1 innings, giving up 9 hits and a walk while striking out 3. Of the 8 runs he has allowed to the Jays, 5 have come in his last inning of work, with 3 of them coming in after he left the game. He’s able to get through the Jays’ lineup without too much issue at least once, so don’t get disheartened too much if the Jays are down 6-1 after 4.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

This is maybe where a 6-1 deficit might get you down. The Jays are 3-7 in their last 10 games, scoring at least 5 runs just three times - and two of those games resulted in 6-5 losses. The team that exploded out of the All Star Break scoring 50 runs in 4 games hasn’t been around for a while, as they’ve scored a combined 55 runs in the 16 games since (3.44 per game).

On the more promising side of things, the Jays might be activating George Springer today, and at a minimum are expected to at some point this week. That doesn’t mean he’s healthy and 100%, as that will take offseason surgery, but hopefully he can get into the lineup and help get them back to what they can and should be.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s big hitting streak came to an end yesterday, but hopefully that doesn’t mean his hot bat is gone. It was nice to finally start to see the 2021 Guerrero showing up this year, although he is still hitting the ball on the ground a lot more than he should be.

Orioles’ Lineup

The Orioles are fully vaccinated, so there won’t be anyone staying behind for this trip.

Ryan Mountcastle took a pitch off the hand in the 9th inning on Saturday, and was out of the lineup yesterday. It isn’t broken, but a massive bruise could keep him out of action a little bit longer. Expect at least one home run from him against Kikuchi today, even if he doesn’t play. Against the Blue Jays for his career, he is now batting .361/.414/.730, with 13 of his 53 career home runs coming off Blue Jays’ pitchers.

Adley Rutschman struggled against the Jays last week, picking up just 1 hit in 6 at bats. Those struggles continued from there too, and he is now just 3-21 over the last week, although with 5 walks as well. He’s obviously not staying down for long though.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Albert Pujols knocked out a pair of home runs, the 688th and 689th of his career, while driving in 4 runs and picking up the Monster Bat award. His big bat helped the Cardinals take down the visiting Brewers 6-3.

Thairo Estrada hit a 1-out, 2-run home run to walk things off in the bottom of the 9th yesterday, giving his Giants the 7-6 win over the Pirates. That play alone was worth .802 WPA, and brought Estrada’s daily total for a WPA King win to .704.

Drew Rasmussen carried a perfect game into the 9th inning yesterday, but couldn’t quite complete the task. He gave up a double to lead off the 9th, then allowed the run to score on a wild pitch. He still gets the Pitcher of the Day award though, giving up just the one hit, and a second baserunner on a wild pitch strikeout, which was the end of his night. His final line was 8.1 innings, 1 run on 1 hit with 7 strikeouts and 2 wild pitches. He still got the win, as his Rays beat the Orioles 4-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Adley Rutschman and Scott Brosius.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant