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Game #12 Preview: Rodriguez vs Gausman

Tigers (2-8) vs Blue Jays (7-4)

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After overpowering the Tigers in the opener yesterday, the Blue Jays will look to keep it going against them and in general, as they seek to win their third straight game and third straight series. Tonight’s game should be back to starting on time at the regular time, a 7:07 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Kevin Gausman will look to keep his strong start to the season going today, as he makes his third start of the year. Through 12 innings, he has yet to allow an earned run, although he did give up an unearned 3-spot in his first game against the Cardinals that gave him a loss and a has resulted in a 1-1 record with a 0.00 ERA.

But outside of that Matt Chapman error fueled inning, Gausman has looked great. He has given up 12 hits, all singles, with 3 walks against 14 strikeouts. Interestingly, his splitter isn’t driving his success as much this year, as he is relying on his fastball to put batters away now more than any season before. He has struggled commanding his splitter a little bit in the early going this year, and that is likely leading to that decision. But his splitter will come around and get back to being the dominant pitch we all love.

Tigers’ Starter

The Tigers will be going with a very familiar face today, sending out former Red Sox left hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez signed with the Tigers prior to last season for 5 years and a little short of $72m. He proceeded to put up a roughly average ERA at 4.05, but his FIP was a career worst 4.43, all while pitching in just 17 games. Rodriguez missed roughly 3 months last year, first with an injury, but then for the bulk of the time to deal with a family issue. After working with a psychologist, he was able to make his way back to the Majors in late August, pitching relative well down the stretch.

Rodriguez’s start to this season has not gone well though. In 10 innings over 2 starts, he has allowed 7 runs on 9 hits, walking 4 and striking out 6 and giving up 3 home runs. His rough start can probably be somewhat forgiven though, as his first game was against the unstoppable Rays, while his second was against the overpowering Astros. He now draws the Jays in Rogers Centre, completing the triumvirate of a challenging season start.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The Blue Jays got homer-happy last night, adding 50% to their season total that they accrued over the first 10 games. But as the season wears on, the bats are heating up. The Jays didn’t hit a home run in their first three games, but have now hit multiple home runs in three of the last five.

Brandon Belt finally had a good game last night, taking advantage of a matchup that worked well for him. With a lefty on the mound today though, expect to see both him and Cavan Biggio back on the bench.

Danny Jansen missed a bunch of time over the last week fighting an illness. In the game he did play, he struck out 3 times before being lifted in the latter innings. He’s probably healthy now though, and should be good to be in there and catching Gausman. If Jansen is healthy, then expect Alejandro Kirk to find his way to the DH spot today.

Daulton Varsho picked up a pair of walks and stole a base yesterday, keeping his streak of reaching base in every game this season alive (save for April 7 when he came in as a defensive replacement and didn’t get a plate appearance). Varsho might be facing a day off today with a lefty on the mound, but even in those games he should very rarely get a night off.

Tigers’ Lineup

They did a decent job early in yesterday’s game, working walks, bunching hits and getting a big swing. They couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities though, stranding 6 baserunners against Manoah before getting eaten alive by the Jays’ bullpen.

Miguel Cabrera is scheduled to play today, and probably tomorrow, according manager AJ Hinch. Tomorrow the Jays will give Cabrera a pre-game going away ceremony in the stadium he hit his 500th career home run.

Outside of Cabrera, and maybe Eric Haase behind the plate, expect to see a lineup quite similar to last night’s from the Tigers.

Yesterday’s Heroes

It was a hard fought battle between Ryan Mountcastle and Luis Arraez for the title of Monster Bat last night, but I’ll give the award to Mountcastle. Arraez hit for the first cycle in Marlins history, but Mountcastle went 3-4 with a pair of home runs and 9 RBI. The Marlins beat the Phillies 8-4, while Mountcastle’s Orioles beat the Athletics 12-8.

The WPA King trophy was a bit of a tricky one too. Mountcastle’s big offensive night with the bat netted him a .467 WPA for the day, the highest individual number for any hitter or pitcher. However, Shohei Ohtani exists, and yesterday was his day to pitch and DH. On the pitching side of things he threw 7 shutout innings for a .432 WPA, while on the hitting side of things he had a notable single in the 4th inning that helped get his batting WPA to .048. Combined, his .480 was the highest of the day, and Ohtani gets the WPA King trophy in the Angels’ 2-0 win over the Nationals.

While Ohtani’s 7 shutout innings represented a very good start, it wasn’t the best on the day, and the Pitcher of the Day honours goes to Corbin Burnes. Burnes threw 8 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and walking none while racking up 8 strikeouts. He also got the win, as his Brewers beat the Diamondbacks 7-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Miguel Cabrera, Albie Lopez and Curt Young.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant