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Game #61 Preview: Blue Jays @ Tigers

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Happy draft day everyone! Thankfully the MLB knows how much we BBB'ers enjoy the draft and decided to put the Blue Jays game at 1:08pm so there's no conflict with the 7:00pm start of the event tonight. The starting pitching contest this afternoon is a slight mismatch, with J.A. Happ taking on Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander. There's never really a good time to face off against one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, but the Virginia native has been a little off in his past four starts allowing five, five, six, and three earned runs respectively:

Screen_shot_2014-06-05_at_10.04.27_am_medium

via Baseball Reference

It's hard not to just enjoy watching Justin Verlander pitch, with his effortless delivery and pinpoint command of his mid-90's fastball, so seeing him go up against the Blue Jays sluggers will make for can't-miss afternoon viewing. The right-hander keeps it pretty simple with his pitches, throwing a fastball half the time, while his nasty curveball, changeup, and slider make up the other half. As with almost every other Tigers right hander, he mainly throws just a fastball and slider against same-handed batters, while his curveball makes a much bigger impact against left-handers. Our friends over at Bless You Boys have a great GIF that shows what Verlander brings the table:

Justinverlander_overlap_medium

via blessyouboys.com

Just a note on J.A. Happ that I came across when searching FanGraphs trying to figure out how the lefty is performing better this year without any clear improvement in his stuff or peripherals, which is similar to what Nick looked at recently as well. With a LOB% of 85.1%, Happ is stranding 11.2% more baserunners than his career average, which is often a sign of good fortune (along with BABIP and HR/FB) that usually regresses to a rate of about 72%. In such a small sample, Happ has looked better this year in large part because the runners on base are rarely being converted into runs by the opposing teams, which is bound to change a bit. It would take a closer inspection to draw any meaningful conclusions, but it's to be expected that Happ will begin to look a little more like his usual self when his strand rate begins to drop a bit.

Actual Lineup

No Edwin Encarnacion after his back troubled him during last night's game.

Find The Link

Find the link between Justin Verlander and the most famous shortstop at the Hamilton Correctional Institute.

Game In A Sentence

Sit down at your TV around 1:00pm and enjoy Justin Verlander against the Blue Jays and then the MLB draft in a baseball lover's doubleheader.