The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals continue with the third game in their four-game series today. The Royals took the first game by a score of 3-1, and then the Jays returned the favor, 6-5, Tuesday evening in Kansas City. There isn’t anything on the line for either of these teams. Both are well behind the standings, with the Royals in particular playing poor baseball in 2018. The Royals enter Wednesday with a gaudy record of 36-83. Yuck.
Turn back the clocks to 2015 and the Royals were World Series Champions. They had a bullpen that struck fear in hitters, and they also had some clutch hitters on their roster as well. There isn’t any of that to be found in 2018. In fact, their bullpen ranks as the worst in baseball now. Toronto head into Wednesday’s matchup with a record of 54-65. Kevin Pillar knocked home a 2-run shot in the 8th to give the Jays their 54th win yesterday.
The Jays may not be a contender right now, nor will they likely be next season. However, the future looks promising, spearheaded by the ultra-talented Vladimir Guerrero Jr. After getting called up to Triple-A ball he didn’t slip off at all. In fact, Vlad Jr. set a record with homers in four straight games. He handled AA pitching with ease, and then is making AAA look like little league baseball.
It’s going to be interesting to see if the Blue Jays promote him to Toronto. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him wearing a Blue Jays jersey in September, but we will see. Marco Estrada, who has had a frustrating couple of years, will look to find a rhythm against the Royals tonight. The Royals recently called up Jorge Lopez to make this start against the Jays. Head below for our free Blue Jays vs. Royals pick.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. K.C. Royals Pick
Marco Estrada (5-9, 4.84 ERA) vs. Jorge Lopez (0-1, 2.75 ERA)
Jorge Lopez will make his third major league start and first of the year Wednesday. He made two appearances as a starter in 2015 and the team didn’t like what they seen from him. Lopez concluded his brief stint three years ago with an ERA of 5.40. He didn’t see the major leagues again until 2017, where he pitched just 2 innings for a 4.50 ERA and 2.50 WHIP.
Lopez has pitched 19.2 innings out of the bullpen this season and he’s looked better, posting a 2.75 and 1.47 WHIP in ten appearances. We’ll see how he handles his first start in the majors since 2015. As a reliever, he’s put too many on base at home, though. Lopez has gotten erratic with a 1.56 WHIP and .357 OBA. That’s not going to work out too well for very long, especially as a starting pitcher.
Estrada was hoping for a bounce back year in 2018, but he’s just about matched his production from 2017. He’s had an up and down career between the Nationals, Brewers, and Blue Jays. 2015 and 2016 may have been a mirage for him, when he posted ERA’s of 3.13 and 3.48, which rank as his best years in the major leagues.
Estrada abruptly regressed considerably in 2017 with an ERA of 4.98. He enters tonight with a 4.84 ERA, so he hasn’t moved the needle much from a year ago. In his last three outings, he’s posted a 5.51 ERA against the Athletics, Mariners, and Rays. And a quirky stat to note on Estrada is that he hasn’t pitched well at night. He has a 3.51 ERA during the day, but that number rises to 5.68 ERA at night while allowing double the amount of long balls. I suspect that this one finds a way to go OVER the total. Brutal push in the White Sox-Tigers game yesterday. 7 runs after 1.5 innings and 9 after 4.5 innings, including a bases loaded no outs situation for the Tiger that went for zero. That will happen over the course of a long season, though. Move on and look towards cashing tickets the next day.