Pre-Series Notes: The Twins placed four players on the Restricted List ahead of series in Toronto
Photo credit:© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis7 months ago
The Blue Jays are rolling.
They found their bats while on a trip out west and returned home and swept the Chicago White Sox to extend their winning streak to eight games. Over the course of this heater, the Blue Jays have been averaging seven runs per game, a stark contrast to the team that was scuffling in May.
Next up, the Blue Jays will host the Minnesota Twins, a team currently mired in a bit of a slump. The Twins won just one game in a rare five-game series in Detroit with the lowly Tigers and they only scored 15 runs over the course of those five games. To make matters worse for the Twins, they’ll also be significantly shorthanded as they come to Toronto.
A new opponent is coming to town, so, as per tradition, all eyes are on the Restricted List.
The Twins will be leaving four players in Minnesota who aren’t vaccinated: Max Kepler, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagan, and Trevor Megill. We’ll see later who’s called up to join the Twins to replace these four players.
That’s a pretty significant loss for the Twins, who are already operating shorthanded as star shortstop Carlos Correa is out with COVID-19 and a pair of starting pitchers, Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan, are on the 10-day Injured List. Not having Pagan and Megill available is a major loss to the Twins’ bullpen and Minnesota will also miss having Kepler’s left-handed bat in the middle of their lineup.
Yusei Kikuchi vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez
Yusei Kikuchi will take the mound for the Blue Jays in the series opener on Friday. He walked the tightrope in his last outing in Los Angeles, scattering two earned runs on nine hits and one walk over the course of five innings. Kikuchi has fared well against the Twins over his career. He held them to two runs over six innings in a start in 2021 and he held them to two runs all told over 11 innings in two starts in 2019.
Going for Minnesota will be Chi Chi Gonzalez, a name you might remember from the 2015 and 2016 Texas Rangers teams. This will be Gonzalez’s first start in the Majors with the Twins. He has a 3.44 ERA over eight appearances for Minnesota’s Triple-A team this season. Gonzalez posted a 6.46 ERA in 24 outings for the Colorado Rockies last season. The last time he faced the Blue Jays, this happened…
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Jose Berrios vs. Dylan Bundy
The second game will feature Jose Berrios going up against his former club for the third time since he was traded to the Blue Jays last July. Berrios was good in both of his outings against the Twins last season, allowing three earned runs across six innings and six-and-two-thirds innings while compiling 16 strikeouts total. But that was last year’s Berrios. This year’s Berrios hasn’t been as effective, as he has a 5.62 ERA over 10 starts and is only striking out 6.5 batters per nine.
The Twins will be sending out Dylan Bundy, a pitcher the Blue Jays have seen many times as he spent the first few seasons of his career with the Baltimore Orioles. Bundy has a 4.76 ERA through eight starts this year and his peripheral numbers, 7.7 strikeouts and 1.8 walks per nine, would indicate that he’s been better than his ERA suggests. The Blue Jays saw Bundy last year when he was with the Angels and scored three runs off of him in four innings.
Kevin Gausman vs. Devin Smeltzer
Kevin Gausman will start the finale for the Blue Jays on Sunday. As we all know, Gausman has been excellent this season, but his last outing against the White Sox was uncharacteristically ho-hum, as he allowed three earned runs over five innings. Gausman hasn’t faced the Twins since back in 2018 when he was with the Orioles.
The Twins will send out Devin Smeltzer, a pitcher the Blue Jays have never faced before. Smeltzer has allowed only four earned runs over the course of 24 innings this season, somewhat surprising given the fact he’s also only struck out 12 batters.
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