The Blue Jays will look to win their first series of the season today, hoping to take three of four from the home town Royals as they wrap up their series this afternoon. Gametime is set for 2:10 ET, and if you’re wanting to watch it but usually can’t, it is MLB.tv’s free game of the day!
Blue Jays’ Starter
Kevin Gausman heads to the mound, looking to build off a great spring and solid first start of the season. In his first outing, he went 6 innings, allowing 0 earned runs on 8 hits and a walk while striking out 7. I say 0 earned runs though, because he allowed 3 unearned runs on the back of the rare Matt Chapman error, which was more than enough to be saddled with the loss in the Jays’ 4-1 loss in game 2.
Gausman had his strong start last week despite a pretty uninspired splitter. He threw it a bit less than normal, but he generated just 21.4% whiffs on it, whereas last year that pitch was causing batters to miss on 44.1% of swings. It was good to see him have success with a less than stellar splitter, but hopefully that’s just an aberration.
Jordan Lyles gets the ball for the Royals, also looking to continue his strong start to the season and avenge his hard luck loss. Against the Twins, Lyles allowed a pair of runs, but only 1 earned, over 5.1 innings. He gave up 5 hits and 2 walks, and struck out just 2. While he’s never been one to strike out many (below 7 K/9 in his career), I think it’s fair to expect more than 2 in 5.1 innings.
Lyles’ velocity was notably down in his last start, averaging just 90.2mph after a career low 91.9mph last season. It’s a bit of a worrying trend for the 32 year old that he saw start last September, as the three lowest velocity games of his career have come in his last six starts. A couple good signs for him from that though are that his last start last season was back up at 92mph despite some lower velocity starts prior to that, and that his September numbers from last year were among his strongest.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
Matt Chapman is likely looking forward to this matchup. MLB’s leading hitting with a .522 batting average this year has owned Lyles in his career. In 21 at bats against the righty, Chapman has a .429 average with 5 home runs.
Matt Chapman:— Chris Black (@DownToBlack) April 6, 2023
5 career HR vs today's Royals starter, Jordan Lyles pic.twitter.com/EKrP7gqWyA
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. continued his hot start to the year yesterday, picking up 3 hits on the day including his first home run of the campaign. He is now hitting .364/.483/.545 (191 wRC+). In 29 plate appearances, he has just 1 strikeout to go along with 5 walks and bean ball, and in his remaining 22 plate appearances where he has put the ball in play, 15 of those have left his bat at over 100mph.
Danny Jansen will be back behind the plate catching Gausman today.
They got shut out again yesterday, the third time in six games to start the season. It’s not the start that they were hoping for with the bats, although struggles are going to come with this young team.
Kyle Isbel was placed on the paternity list prior to yesterday’s game, and he was replaced on the active roster with Nick Pratto, who got the start in LF yesterday. As a lefty bat, Pratto probably gets back into the lineup today. And congratulations to Isbel!
Bobby Witt Jr., Jackie Bradley Jr. and Nicky Lopez are the only ones who have started all three of the other games in this series. With the day game after a night game, and with the Royals clearly giving guys breaks early this year, I’m guessing at least two of them will be on the bench for this one.
Jorge Soler and Pete Alonso put up identical numbers yesterday, so they get to be co-winners of the Monster Bat award. In 4 plate appearances, both batters went 2-4 with a pair of home runs, 4 RBI and a strikeout. Soler’s Marlins beat the Twins 5-2, while Alonso’s Mets lost to the Brewers 7-6.
While there were two winners for the first award, there is just one winner for the other two awards. Alek Manoah takes home both the Pitcher of the Day and the WPA King trophies after his great start last night. He went 7 shutout innings, allowing just 1 hit while striking out 5. He did allow 4 walks and he beaned a guy, but that didn’t affect his otherwise dominating night.
Find the Link
Find the link between Jordan Lyles and Colby Rasmus.