The Blue Jays continue their road trip tonight, stopping in Detroit for a three-game weekend series against the Tigers. You’re back in the Eastern Time Zone, so back to a normal start time of 7:10 ET.
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The starter of the Blue Jays
José Berríos will make his 12th start of the season and is looking to continue the dominance he found on his last outing. Berríos took on his former club and held the Twins on just 2 runs with 3 hits and 2 walks and batted a career-best 13 batters over 7 innings. The two runs came off a first inning home run, and after that he was on cruise control and looking like the pitcher who deserved that $131 million overtime, but one we haven’t seen often enough this year.
That stint for Berríos brought his season numbers to 4-2 with a 5.24 ERA and lowered his FIP to 4.71. His strikeout rate took a nice boost, but it’s still well over one strikeout per 9 innings below his career level and almost 2K/9 off where he’s been for the past few seasons. Combine that with the abundance of home runs he’s allowed and it’s pretty easy to see where he’s struggled this year. However, the walks are at least consistent with his normal self.
Starters of the tigers
Rookie Elvin Rodriguez grabs the ball for the Tigers, making his fourth starting XI and fifth this season and career. Things didn’t go well for him in his 16 innings, he was knocked around exceptionally hard by the Yankees his last time out. In 4.1 innings at Yankee Stadium, he allowed 10 carries with 11 hits, walked 2 and knocked out 4. He also gave up 4 homers in that game, a rude and blunt introduction to the AL East.
Aside from that 4.1-inning start, he got off to a good start against the Guardians (4 shutout innings) but otherwise struggled. In 11.2 innings, he allowed 8 carries with 9 hits and 5 walks and hit out 10.
The lineup of the Blue Jays
Gabriel Moreno, the Blue Jays’ top pick, is expected to join the team in Detroit. There hasn’t been any announcement that he’s officially called up today and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t call up until tomorrow. Alejandro Kirk has been catching Berríos all season except opening day and will no doubt do so again. So Moreno’s debut probably comes tomorrow.
Matt Chapman helped prove the importance of a hot start. Chapman didn’t have a good start to his season, averaging .222.312/.381 (99 wRC+) this season. However, he has been turning it on lately, especially in the last 3 weeks. He’s only had 3 hitless games in that span hitting .302/.389/.413 (135 wRC+) with a strikeout rate of just 19.4% and looking really solid with a racquet in hand. Combine that with his great defense and he’s quietly turning his season into a pretty good one. He just passed the 1.0 WAR threshold and should eclipse the 100 wRC+ as well.
Lineup of the Tigers
The Tigers as a group have been terrible bat-in-hand this year. Together they only score .221/.279/.321, giving them the worst 74 wRC+ in the major leagues. Their combined WAR of -2.1 is by far the worst in baseball and the only team down. They’re only averaging 2.82 runs per game, a full half run shy of the second-worst team.
The Tigers have a fairly full injury list, particularly on the pitching side, but a few notable positional players will also be missing for this series. Outfielders Victor Reyes and Robbie Grossman started rehab this week and both could be back this weekend. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario left the IL earlier this week and will miss the entire series. And catcher Jake Rogers is still out for a while recovering from last year’s Tommy John Surgery.
The Blue Jays’ notorious killer Austin Meadows joined the Tigers just before the start of the season and is one of the few Tigers to have a respectable season. He’s hitting .269/.363/.352 (114 wRC+) but has yet to hit a home run in 124 PA. However, I have no doubt that his first homer will come this weekend as he has a career .302/.378/.580 against the Blue Jays with 12 of his 70 career homers being hit by Blue Jays. pitchers.
Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera is having one of his better seasons in recent years, batting .297/.339/.384 (108 wRC+). This is the penultimate season of his 8-year, $248m extension and the 39-year-old seems determined to play through to the end.
Spencer Torkelson, top prospect and No. 1 overall in 2020, has spent the entire season in the majors, but given his performance, he may not make it through the entire season. In 51 games and 183 PA, he’s hitting just .190/.295/.310 (80 wRC+), hitting just 4 homers and coming into play today with a -0.5 WAR. June was particularly tough for him as he only has 2 hits in 24 PA.
Byron Buxton went 2-4 with two home runs and drove in 4 to lift the Monster Bat award. That wasn’t enough, however, as his Twins lost to the Yankees again, this time 10-7.
Max Muncy hit a go-ahead 2-run double in the 5th inning followed by a 3-run home run in the 6th inning to retire, giving him the WPA King victory. His .480 WPA was very helpful in the Dodgers’ 11-9 win over the White Sox. In case you somehow missed it yesterday, dimwitted Tony LaRussa had defeated Trea Turner 2-1 and then decided to lead him on purpose to go up against Muncy, who then hit his big 3-run home run.
Shane McClanahan was pretty dominant for the Rays last night, pitching 8 innings while conceding just one unmerited run, giving up just 2 hits and a walk and hitting out 9. He dueled Miles Mikolas, who also went 8 innings while giving up only 2 runs, but McClanahan took the win and also the Pitcher of the Day award as the Rays beat the Cardinals 2-1.
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Find the connection between Austin Meadows and Domingo Germán.