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Series Preview: The south side better be ready for Vladdy

The Blue Jays are heading into the sketchy part of Chicago, following their series-split against the Giants back in beautiful San Francisco. Like with most times with this team, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the spotlight coming into this series for the Blue Jays. The future all-star’s bat finally came alive during the series against the Giants.

Guerrero Jr. hit two absolute bombs out of a park in San Francisco that usually doesn’t see the ball leave the yard all that often. Aside from Guerrero Jr. the Blue Jays’ hitters struggled to drive in many runs. The Blue Jays went just 3-for-20 with RISP during their two-game series. Neither the Blue Jays or the White Sox have been good at driving in runs this season, as they both currently rank in the bottom half in the AL in RBI. Which could mean that this four-game series could be a low scoring afair on both sides.

Thursday at 8:10 ET

StroShow wasn’t all that effective last time out against this White Sox lineup, and exited after screaming at his manager for taking him out with a couple runners on base in the seventh inning. Stroman surrendered eight hits for the second-straight game last time out and will be looking to avoid receiving the loss in four straight games in game one of this series.

Although, that could prove to be challenging for Stroman given his history pitching in the south-side of Chicago. The most-energetic player on this team currently owns a 2-2 record along with a 6.98 ERA and a 1.655 WHIP in 19.1 innings at the ballpark that most people are afraid to even visit. Stroman will also need help from his offense in this game as well, as he has received no more than three runs of support in each of his three starts this month.

Dylan Covey will definitely be looking to improve off of his last start against the Blue Jays. The 27-year-old pitched just 4.2 innings and gave up four runs, three hits(two were home runs) and five walks in a losing effort against the Blue Jays. Covey has also given up a combined 21 fly balls through his two starts this season. Which could be problematic with the way Guerrero Jr. is now crushing the ball every time it hits his bat.

However, this Blue Jays lineup has had their problems being patient at the plate so far this season. Which means if Covey can sort out his location problems that he had in his last start, then the Blue Jays may find it tough to replicate the amount of walks they had in Covey’s last start. Either way, it seems Covey will definitely be motivated to prove that he deserves to stay in this rotation for the long-term.

Friday at 8:10 ET

Aaron Sanchez was nearly perfect in his last start against these White Sox. Thankfully, it seems like Sanchez has found his stride and is starting to pitch like the player we all know he can be. A rough 4th-inning in his last outing was the only thing keeping him from earning his fourth win of the season. Sanchez gave up five of the nine hits he surrendered and all five of the White Sox runs in the fourth inning.

What has gone under the radar about Sanchez’s last two starts, is that he’s pitched beyond the 6th inning in each of his last two starts, and has recorded a combined 17 strikeouts over that same span. The White Sox are currently ranked as the 5th highest-team in the AL for the most-strikeouts. So Sanchez should likely have another start where he’s able to create a lot of swing and misses.

Ivan Nova was extremely effective in his last start against the Blue Jays. The 32-year-old went six innings and only surrendered five hits, a single run and a trio of walks. Nova was virtually perfect aside from the one home run he gave up to Randal Grichuk.

The man most-known as the “Super Nova” has now given up just two runs over his last two starts. The Blue Jays will have to find a way to drive-in runs that are in scoring position in game two of this series. As they went 0-for-7 with RISP in Nova’s last start against them.

Saturday at 2:10 ET

The Blue Jays haven’t officially named a starter for game-three of this series. But this game will reportedly be Clayton Richard’s Blue Jays-debut. The 35-year-old has been on the injured-list since the start of the season with a stress reaction in his right knee.

Richard was signed by the Blue Jays during the off-season for the exact reason they need him to start this weekend. That reasoning being that this organization just doesn’t have much depth when it comes to quality starters at the tripe-A level. Hopefully, Richard will be able to supply the Blue Jays with a better performance than his 5.33 ERA and 1.380 WHIP in 27 starts last season with the Padres.

Lucas Giolito seemed like he was on pace to get absolutely pounded in his last start against the Blue Jays. He surrendered three hits and a run through the first-two innings of the game. But the 16th-overall pick from 2016 then made key adjustments that led to the Blue Jays recording just a single hit from the second-inning on, along with striking out eight times as well.

Giolito has now recorded eight strikeouts in three different games this season. So the Blue Jays will need to find a way to be more patient at the plate in this game. Or they will likely fail to record many runs or hits in game-three of this series.

Sunday at 2:10 ET

Trent Thornton was finally able to record his first-win at the major-league level in his last start. The 25-year-old pitched 5.2 innings and held the Giants to just three hits and a pair of runs. While Thornton was also able to set down seven batters on strikes as well.

In his rookie season, Thornton has struggled at times to locate his pitches effectively. Which is something he will have to do against this White Sox lineup to be successful. If Thornton is able to locate his pitches, then he should have no problem recording five or more strikeouts for the seventh time this season.

Reynaldo Lopez will be taking the mound in the finale of this four-game series for the White Sox. Lopez has had a lot of ups and downs so far this season. The 25-year-old is currently pitching with a 5.58 ERA and a 1.560 WHIP through nine games this season.

However, Lopez is coming off one of his best-starts of the season. Last time out against the Indians, Lopez went 7.2 innings and kept the offensively-named team from Cleveland to just a pair of hits and runs, along with also recording six strikeouts. So while the Blue Jays have a very good chance at creating a lot of hits off of Lopez. They could potentially struggle with driving-in runs from scoring position like they have done all season-long.