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On Deck: Kansas City Royals (3-10) @ Toronto Blue Jays (9-5)

Following a 3-day weather-induced hiatus, the Toronto Blue Jays return to action on Tuesday, kicking off a three-game set at the Rogers Centre against the Kansas City Royals. Following Monday’s surprise postponement, the teams will play a traditional doubleheader, with game 1 starting at 3:07, and the second commencing 30 minutes after its conclusion.

rogers-centre-blue-jays

Cole Burston/Canadian Press

Prior to all the inclement weather, the Jays went 5-2 on their abbreviated road trip, and continue to play strong baseball, despite being hit with the injury bug on offence, losing third baseman Josh Donaldson and DH Kendrys Morales to the disabled list. Morales is eligible to return Friday, and Donaldson Saturday, but it’s unclear at this point if either will be immediately activated.

The Royals, on the other hand, have dropped five in a row in the early stages of what is expected to be a rebuilding season. They’ve averaged just 2.6 runs/game during the losing streak.

   Kansas City Toronto 
Tuesday 3:07 LH Eric Skoglund (0-1, 9.64) LH Jaime Garcia (1-0, 3.18) 
Tuesday ~7:07 LH Danny Duffy (0-2, 5.40)  RH Joe Biagini (0-0, 0.00) 
Wednesday 4:07 RH Ian Kennedy (1-1, 1.00)  LH J.A. Happ (2-1, 3.94) 

Garcia will be pitching on nine days of rest, with his last action coming last Sunday in Texas. He’s struck out 12 batters through his first 11.1 innings, but look for him to get back to inducing ground balls back inside the Dome … Biagini will be called up as the 26th man for the second game of the doubleheader and make his season debut with the Jays. He’s going on eight days of rest, having made only one start for Buffalo, who has also seen several games postponed. His only appearance of 2018 was a strong one, going five innings, allowing just an unearned run while striking out four … Happ will also be on nine days rest. He’s had success against these Royals, as current members of the club have just a .182 career average against the lefty.

Skoglund is a sophomore southpaw making his first career appearance against Toronto. The 25-year old has made only one start this season, allowing five earned runs on six hits in 4.2 innings against Seattle … Duffy has improved in each of his three outings thus far, but hasn’t made it through six innings yet … Kennedy has allowed just two earned runs through 18 innings in three starts, holding opponents a .264 OBP.

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not

Toronto

Usually I use the “Last 7 days” tab of MLB.com statistics, but since the Jays have only played three games in the last week, that made things a little tricky. So, I went to ESPN and used the “Last 10 games” section, so all stats are over that time frame, unless otherwise indicated.

 HOT LF Curtis Granderson: 10-31 (.323), 4 XBH, 4 RBI
 HOT 3B Yangervis Solarte: 10-34 (.294), 10 BB, .896 OPS
 HOT SS Aledmys Diaz (9 GP since 04/01): 9-29 (.310), 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1.126 OPS
 NOT 1B Justin Smoak: 8-37 (.216), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 13 K, .645 OPS
 NOT RF Randal Grichuk: 1-32 (.036), 11 K

Other than Grichuk, whose only hit in April is a pinch hit double in garbage time against the Orioles last Monday, the outfielders have excelled for Toronto. Pearce and Granderson continue to hit, and Teoscar Hernandez picked up where he left off in September with a big night in Cleveland in his season debut … Solarte will be relied on as the everyday third baseman until Donaldson returns. It’s been so far so good, but we’ll see if increased playing time exposes him at all. Might as well ride him while he’s hot, though … You have to figure Grichuk and Devon Travis will turn it around eventually. When they do, will this team be even scarier, or will it help cover for others who have fallen off? … Smoak has quietly struggled over his last 10, but it’s been hidden well in the contributions of others, like Diaz who now leads the team in home runs.  In his 13 games not including Easter Sunday, Smoak has zero home runs and 4 RBI.

Opponent To Watch

3B Mike Moustakas reunited with the Royals in the spring after both sides appeared ready to move on in free agency. It’s been a good fit so far, though, as the veteran is riding a 7-game hitting streak, slashing .448/.448/.828 in that span with 3 HR, 7 RBI. Unfortunately for him, the Royals have won just one of those seven games.

Also of note for the Royals, they’ve got three important pieces on the disabled dist in left fielder Alex Gordon, catcher Salvador Perez and shortstop Alberto Mondesi.

Ex-Files

Toronto: none

Kansas City:

  • IF Ryan Goins, a fan favourite during his time in Toronto from 2013-17, played 448 games, batting .228 with 20 home runs and 142 RBI. This year for the Royals, he’s appeared in five games, collecting four hits in 16 plate appearances.

In The Hole

The stay at home is short, as Toronto heads to New York with a four-game set against the Yankees on tap, before returning home to kick off a six-game home stand against the Red Sox and Rangers.

Social

Don’t forget to follow us all season long on Twitter @jaysbalk. And find The 7thInning Stretch Podcast on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud.

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