JFtC takes a look at the Blue Jays week ahead against AL Central opponents and throws out a few Ceremonial First Pitches for fans to take note of.
Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase
CHICAGO WHITE SOX at TORONTO BLUE JAYS (3 Games Series)
Wednesday 6/1- 7:07 pm ET- SNET Michael Kopech vs. Hyun-jin Ryu
MINNESOTA TWINS at TORONTO BLUE JAYS (3 Game Series)
Sunday 6/5- 1:37 pm ET- SNET-1 Dylan Bundy vs. Kevin Gausman
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCHES-White Sox series
- Every MLB club has experienced impactful injuries during the 2022 season. The Chicago White Sox seem to be operating within a rerun of M*A*S*H and no one in Chicagoland is laughing. Team captain Tim Anderson is the latest major injury concern after suffering a groin injury on Saturday night. Images will be performed on Monday, but all signs point towards a trip to the 10-day IL for Anderson. Eloy Jimenez was pulled from his rehab assignment on Friday after experiencing renewed pain in his injured hamstring while reliever Joe Kelly was placed on the IL with a hamstring issue. Yoan Moncada has missed the past 2 games after returning from a rehab assignment and Luis Robert has yet to be activated from the COVID-IL, though GM Rick Hahn Robert should be eligible to travel to Toronto for this series. Three key pitchers (Lance Lynn, Garrett Crochet, Jonathan Stiever) are on the 60-day IL and Lucas Giolito, Josh Harrison and AJ Pollack have all missed significant time with injuries. Hahn also revealed 2 White Sox players will be placed on the Restricted List prior to the Toronto series due to their not meeting Canadian vaccination protocols.
- The White Sox will have their 2 best starting pitchers available for the series at the Rogers Centre. Giolito has been electric since returning from the injured list and will be featured in a battle of staff aces versus Kevin Gausman in the Tuesday night opener. Michael Kopech take the mound on Wednesday night while Blue Jays starter Hyun-jin Ryu hopes to find a way to silence the bats of several White Sox hitters who enjoyed extensive successes against him when he pitched for the Dodgers. Pollock has owned Ryu, going 10-20 and driving in 4 runs while Yasmani Grandal has homered and 3 RBI in 7 previous plate appearances. Harrison has had success against both Gausman (.333 2 RBI) and Ryu (.400 5 runs scored). The most interesting pitching matchup may be the Thursday matinee posting the gyrations of newly signed Johnny Cueto against the dominance of Alek Manoah. As pointed out in a recent JFtC article by Staff Writer Bob Ritchie, the Blue Jays have struggled mightily with plate discipline this season and Cueto will look to get Toronto hitters to chase an endless variety of off-speed pitches.
- The White Sox are 123-89 since 2020 with Anderson in the lineup; they are a .500 ballclub (28-28) when he is out of the lineup.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCHES- Twins series
- The Twins are a team of extremes in 2022. Like the White Sox, serious injuries to players expected to play major roles in 2022 have kept the Minnesota roster in flux. Chris Paddack, acquired in an April trade for closer Taylor Rogers, lasted 3 starts before having to undergo a second Tommy John surgery. Projected Saturday starter Sonny Gray missed 20 games in April due to hamstring strain and is undergoing an MRI on his left pectoral muscle on Monday, throwing his availability into question. Joe Ryan has translated his promise as a Tampa Bay prospect into early season ace status, but tested positive for COVID-19 last week and will not be eligible for activation until after the series at Rogers Centre. Carlos Correa, Alex Kiriloff and franchise icon Byron Buxton have all missed time to injuries and top prospect Royce Lewis is headed to the IL after crashing into the center field wall on Saturday. Yet Minnesota sits atop the AL Central Division with a 29-19 mark, good for the third best record in the league. The Twins also have the 3rd best run differential (+34) in the AL, confirmation that the lineup has improved over its dismal 2021 performance and the integration of young pitchers has paid dividends.
- The Twins have played the fewest games against teams with a winning record than any team in MLB. AL Central cellar dwellers Detroit and Kansas City have proved easy fodder for Minnesota and quirks of the schedule have allowed a young Twins roster to gain needed confidence to start the year. When they have played teams with a >.500 record, Minnesota has only managed 5 wins and have a -1 run differential in those 11 games. Toronto on the other hand are 13-11 against teams with winning records and have managed to keep their heads above the tide.
- Blue Jays fans should keep a watchful eye on former Twins starter Jose Berrios during his Saturday afternoon start versus his former mates. Berrios was truly awful during his Sunday turn on Sunday, with his fastball registering some 3 ticks below his season average (91 mph) and could not command any of his pitches during an abbreviated 2.1 innings start. Anytime a pitcher experiences a significant downturn in velocity during an appearance it is a point of concern. But it will be interesting to see if Berrios can manage his command as well as his emotions as he faces the team he developed into an elite pitcher with. With Berrios it is not about proving he is worth the 7 year, $131 million dollar extension the Jays inked him to during the off-season. Berrios needs to find the consistency he flashed while delivering quality starts in 75% of his starts after being acquired at the deadline in 2021.
*Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO
Jersey born, Pittsburgh resident, baseball lifer. Staff Writer jaysfromthecouch.com. Host THE ON FEK CIRCLE on JFtC YouTube Channel. Regular guest on Jays From the couch Radio Podcast. Established WPPJ Rock-a-thon benefit, which has been broadcast annually since 1981 and has raised for than $500,000 for the Early Learning Institute of Pittsburgh. IBWAA member.