After a solid win last night, the Blue Jays get right back at it tonight, looking to run their winning streak to three games and take another series. Game two against the White Sox gets underway this evening at the normal 7:07 ET start.
Blue Jays’ Starter
José Berríos gets the ball for the Jays, making his fifth start of the season and facing off against a pretty familiar foe. This will be the 23rd start of his career against the White Sox organization, three more than second place Kansas City. The trouble with that is that there are four players he has faced at least 10 times who have better than a .300 batting average against him. None have hit Berríos hard from a home run standpoint, but guys like Andrew Benintendi (9 hits in 24 at bats) and Eloy Jiménez (9 hits in 23 at bats) likely have the upper hand at this point.
Berríos has seen his season ERA drop in each subsequent start this season, after a disastrous open to his season against the Royals. He surrendered 8 runs in 5.2 innings in that one. His next start wasn’t great either, where he surrendered 4 earned runs over 4 innings. Then things got better against the Rays and Astros, as he combined to allow 3 runs in 12 innings.
In total, Berríos is 1-3 with a 6.23 ERA. But his FIP is a great 2.68, thanks to nearly a strikeout per inning, minimal walks, and just 1 home run given up so far. It’s the hits, many of them hard and bunched together, that have been his undoing this year. When he’s missing barrels, you see starts like he put together against the Rays and Astros. When they seemingly know what’s coming, you get starts like his against the Royals.
White Sox’ Starter
Mike Clevinger will be starting for the White Sox, his fifth start of the season with his new team. Clevinger signed as a free agent in early December, then faced accusations of assault against his 1 year old daughter and her mother. MLB investigated the incidents and could not find enough evidence to suspend him, and details of that case can be read for free on Yahoo, with a lot more in depth read on the Athletic (subscription required).
On the season, Clevinger has had decent results, despite some pretty shaky command. He enters play today with a 2-1 record and a 3.26 ERA. Through 19.1 innings, he has 15 strikeouts against 11 walks and 2 bean balls. With 2 home runs allowed in that timeframe, his FIP sits at a robust 5.13.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
Kevin Kiermaier is probably looking at another off day today. He seems to be playing two or three games, then gets an off day. With the Jays still not scheduled to face a lefty starter for another couple weeks, it’s a bit harder to predict. But he’ll likely sit either today or tomorrow.
If Kiermaier is sitting, we’ll likely see both Cavan Biggio and Whit Merrifield in the lineup again, assuming Santiago Espinal is still unable to play after taking a pitch off his wrist. Merrifield continued his hot hitting, stretching his hitting streak to 10 games and his on base streak to 17 games to start the season. Biggio launched his second home run of the season yesterday, but continues to watch too many pitches near the edge of the plate that he gets rung up on. Until he gets robo umps, he is going to need to be more aggressive on pitches near the strike zone.
George Springer had the day off yesterday, then came off the bench with the bases loaded and promptly hit a 103 mph groundball up the middle that was snagged and turned into a forceout. Springer continues to hit the ball hard but is yet to see results. His wOBA on the season is a paltry .255, but his xwOBA, based on expected results from his hits, is 80 points better at .335. The results will come, eventually.
White Sox’ Lineup
Look for a very similar lineup from the White Sox to what they rolled out yesterday. Right fielder Oscar Colás seems to get sporadic playing time, but as one of their top prospects who had a great year last year, it’s weird they wouldn’t just run with him every day.
Yasmani Grandal is probably the guy behind the plate again today. He has been in about a 60-40 workshare with Seby Zavala so far this year, but I’d guess it’s Grandal today and Zavala tomorrow.
It’s interesting that Gavin Sheets hasn’t worked his way into more playing time. Through 40 PA this year, he is hitting .294/.400/.471 (148 wRC+), but has more starts on the bench than in the lineup, and three of his last five appearances were as a switch hitter.
Brandon Drury went 3-4 with a pair of home runs and a walk, driving in 4 runs to earn himself the Monster Bat award. And through it all, he somehow still wasn’t enough as his Angels fell to the lowly Athletics 11-10 in extra innings.
Alex Cobb threw a complete game shutout, and in doing so barely gets the WPA King trophy. He racked up an impressive .466 WPA, barely edging out Ryan Noda’s .456 for Oakland. And obviously with the shutout, Cobb gets the Pitcher of the Day award as well, holding the Cardinals to just 6 hits and a walk while striking out 4 as the Giants won 4-0. His Pitcher of the Day award victory was also a narrow margin, as Spencer Strider carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning, before giving up a couple hits but ending the night with 8 scoreless innings on 2 hits, no walks and 13 strikeouts.
Find the Link
Find the link between Yasmani Grandal and Travis d’Arnaud, and something they both did in a little under a month in 2019.