Pre-Series Notes: All eyes on Gabby as the Blue Jays’ top prospect is set to debut in Detroit
By Cam Lewis1 year ago
The Blue Jays will wrap up their quest through the Central Division this weekend with a three-game series against the Tigers in Detroit.
They aren’t quite Royals-level bad, but the Tigers are bad, as they own a 23-33 record and a run differential that indicates they could be doing even worse.
Supposedly a young team on the rise, the Tigers were active in free agency this winter, signing starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and shortstop Javier Baez to multi-year deals that were supposed to help them be competitive. So much for that! Rodriguez has a 4.38 ERA and is currently injured while Baez is slashing a .200/.235/.309 line.
The interesting thing about the Tigers is that their pitching is actually solid, as they have a 3.61 team ERA, the issue is that they can’t score any runs. Detroit ranks dead last in baseball in runs per game by a wide margin with 2.82, while the Oakland A’s, the second-worst team at scoring runs, is scoring 3.24 runs per game.
Detroit’s leader in home runs is Jonathan Scoop, who has a .566 OPS through 55 games, which tells you all you need to know about their offence.
But enough about the Tigers! This weekend is all about Gabriel Moreno…
With Danny Jansen on the Injured List, the Blue Jays have called up their top prospect (and the No. 4 prospect in all of baseball) to make his big league debut. It’s a hilarious embarrassment of riches that the Blue Jays have Alejandro Kirk and Jansen, two good catchers, and then when one gets injured they can just call up the guy who might wind up being the best of the three.
Moreno brings great bat skills to the lineup, as he’s batting .324 in Triple-A, along with athleticism behind the plate and a strong arm to throw out runners. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares against big league pitching and how he catches Toronto’s pitchers for the first time in a real game.
Jose Berrios vs. Elvin Rodriguez
Jose Berrios will take the bump in the series opener on Friday night against a team he’s seen plenty throughout his career. Berrios faced Detroit three times last season, twice as a member of the Twins and once after being traded to the Blue Jays. All told, he held the Tigers to six earned runs over 20 innings. Berrios’ gem last weekend against the Twins was the best outing of his season thus far, as he struck out a career-high 13 batters.
Going for the Tigers will be rookie Elvin Rodriguez, who got shelled for 10 runs by the Yankees in his most recent appearance. The first two starts of Rodriguez’s career came against Minnesota and Cleveland went much better, as he allowed four runs to the Twins in five innings and shut out the Guardians over four innings.
Kevin Gausman vs. Beau Brieske
The Blue Jays will send out Kevin Gausman in the second game of the series. Gausman had a difficult outing a couple of weeks ago against the White Sox and then he had the shortest outing of his season last week when the Twins tagged him for five runs on nine hits over just three-and-two-thirds innings. The word was that Gausman was tipping his pitches in that game, so we’ll see if he has that sorted out against Detroit.
Beau Brieske, another rookie, will oppose Gausman. Brieske put up a 3.12 ERA over 21 appearances in High- and Double-A last year and made two starts in Triple-A this season before getting called up to the big leagues. Through eight starts, Brieske has a 4.93 ERA and hasn’t yet earned a win. He’s a pitch-to-contact arm with 29 strikeouts to 15 walks.
Ross Stripling vs. Tarik Skubal
Ross Stripling will go for the Blue Jays in the finale. This is Stripling’s second time in the starting rotation filling in for the injured Hyun Jin Ryu this season. In his first start of Ryu’s second Injured List stint, Stripling shut the Royals out on just one hit over five innings. This will be the first time he’s made a start against the Tigers.
Detroit will oppose Stripling with Tarik Skubal, the best arm on their staff. This has been Skubal’s breakout season, as the former No. 20 overall prospect has a 2.33 ERA across 11 starts. The thing that plagued Skubal last year was keeping the ball in the yard, as he allowed 2.1 homers per nine, but he’s got that all the way down to 0.4 homers per nine this season.
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