After a bad weekend in St. Louis, the Blue Jays head up the road to Kansas City to kick off a four game series against the hometown Royals. Today’s game is scheduled for a 7:40 ET start.
Blue Jays’ Starter
José Berríos gets the ball for the Jays, looking to lay a good foundation for his bounce back season. As we all know, Berríos struggle quite badly last year, going 12-7 with a 5.23 ERA. If we’re looking for positives, he did still manage to start 32 games, and the team went 23-9 in his starts. But Berríos was bad, posting a career worst 4.55 FIP thanks mostly to diminished strikeouts and the eighth most home runs allowed in all of baseball.
Berríos pitched for [edit: for Puerto Rico against] Venezuela this spring, and between a rough time there and some rough outings in spring training, there is certainly some concern that his 2022 season is his new normal. There were some positives to pull out of his last couple starts though, as he struck out 9 batters in 9.2 innings, and he didn’t allow a home run all spring (Anthony Santander did hit one off him in the WBC though).
Brady Singer will go for the Royals, making his highly anticipated 2023 debut. Singer was far and away the best pitcher for the Royals a year ago, going 10-5 with a 3.23 ERA. While his season started in the bullpen and then the Minors, the 26 year old’s breakout season did eventually come. 2022 saw him dramatically cut his walk rate from much higher than average (3.72 per 9 innings) to nearly elite (2.05 per 9 innings). His strikeout rate (8.80 per 9 innings) and home run rate (1.06 per 9 innings) remained much the same, slightly better than league average.
Singer also made his way to the World Baseball Classic this spring, and just like Berríos, he had his struggles. Pitching for Team USA, Singer got knocked around a bit by team Mexico, surrendering 4 runs on 4 hits over 2 innings, including a home run to Joey Meneses.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
With the Jays heading back to Kansas City for the first time since acquiring Whit Merrifield at last year’s trade deadline, we’re quite likely to see Merrifield getting the start at 2B today.
After getting the game off yesterday, expect to see Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Belt back in the lineup today.
My understanding is the Alejandro Kirk is expected to be the catcher for Berríos to start the year, so expect to see him behind the plate in this one.
The Royals got swept by the Twins over the weekend, being held in check quite easily by the Twins’ pitching staff. In total, they hit just .133/.250/.244, failing to score their first run of the season until yesterday’s 7-4 loss.
Salvador Perez is off to a good start, as the only Royal with more than 2 hits so far, and the only one with multiple extra base hits. He is 4-11 with a pair of doubles thus far.
Joey Gallo went 3-4, knocking out 2 home runs and a double while also taking a walk, earning himself the first Monster Bat award of 2023. Now playing for the Twins, he was a key part of their 7-4 win over the Royals.
Mike Zunino had a few big moments early on, slugging a 3-run home run in the 2nd, then a pair of big doubles in the 5th and 7th innings, helping lead him to the WPA King title. His .531 mark helped his Guardians to the 6-5 win over the Mariners, although it too
Jeffrey Springs dominated for the Rays last night, going 6 hitless innings. He struck out 12 and walked just 1, while the no-hitter he started was broken up in the 7th. He picked up the win though, as the Rays beat the Tigers 5-1.
Find the Link
Find the link between Brady Singer and Trent Thornton.