Pre-Series Notes: Hoping for Good Times in Kansas City
By Cam Lewis7 months ago
The Blue Jays are on a quest through the Central Division.
They swept the White Sox at home and then got dropped in two of three by the Twins, and now they’re on the road to Kansas City and then Detroit to play a pair of putrid teams.
The Royals are the worst team in a very bad division. They’re 17-35, dead last in Major League Baseball, they’re scoring just 3.75 runs per game, and they have a 5.12 team ERA. Their best player by WAR is Andrew Benintendi, who has a .799 OPS, and all of their starting pitchers have ERAs above 4.00.
This is really, really a series that the Blue Jays should sweep. But, as we know, life ain’t ever easy in Kansas City…
Ross Stripling vs. Daniel Lynch
Monday’s series opener will feature the same pitching matchup that we saw when the Blue Jays returned to Toronto last July. Ross Stripling allowed two earned runs over five-and-one-third innings and the Blue Jays scored three runs on Daniel ‘Don’t Call Me David’ Lynch in six innings in what wound up being a 6-4 victory.
This will be Stripling’s second time jumping from the ‘pen to the rotation this year as he’s again filling in for the injured Hyun Jin Ryu. Over five starts with Ryu on the Injured List, Stripling posted a 4.29 ERA. Since then, he put up a 3.00 ERA over nine innings in the bullpen.
Lynch has a 4.81 ERA across eight starts this season and doesn’t have very good peripheral numbers, as he’s walking 4.2 and striking out 8.2 batters per nine. Right-handed hitters have an .850 OPS against Lynch for his career, which bodes well for Toronto’s lineup.
Alek Manoah vs. Brad Keller
Going for the Blue Jays in the second game will be Alek Manoah. The Big Man has faced Kansas City once in his career, the game after that aforementioned Stirpling win, and he shut the Royals out on two hits and one walk over seven innings. Manoah’s ERA on the season sits at 1.98, and it would be even lower if not for a mistake by Matt Chapman in his most recent outing against the White Sox.
The Royals will send out Brad Keller in the second game. Keller is a pitcher the Blue Jays have seen a few times as he’s been with the Royals since 2018. Most recently, the Blue Jays tagged him for three runs on seven hits over just three innings last August. Keller has a 4.15 ERA this season and has struck out just 33 batters in 60 2/3 innings.
Yusei Kikuchi vs. Brady Singer
Yusei Kikuchi will start for the Blue Jays in the finale on Wednesday afternoon. Kikuchi struggled with the long ball in his last outing as the Twins went deep on him three times. Pitching in a Kauffman Stadium, which is a cave, will hopefully help Kikuchi keep the ball in the yard. Kikuchi has faced the Royals four times in his career and he has a 7.58 ERA against them.
The Royals will send out Brady Singer, who the Blue Jays selected in the second round of the 2015 draft. Singer declined to sign with the Blue Jays and wound up getting selected by the Royals in the first round of the 2018 draft. He’s made 46 appearances for the Royals in his big league career and has a 4.56 ERA all told.
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