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Game #137 Preview: Blue Jays @ Red Sox

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Tulowitzki, Carrera, Revere, and Pillar
Tulowitzki, Carrera, Revere, and Pillar
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays start a three-game set with the Red Sox this afternoon at 1:35 thanks to Labour Day. Boston has not been good this year thanks to a horrid rotation and they sit at 64-72, good enough for last in the AL East. The team was in first place near the end of April, but the wheels really came off in May as the team went 10-19 and dug themselves a massive hole. They've been good in the last month or two, but it hasn't been nearly enough and they'll look to throw some money around this winter and come back strong next year. The young cost-controlled core of Brock Holt (he's actually 27), Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts is strong so I wouldn't expect the squad to be in last place come this time next season.

The pitching matchup today features Mark Buehrle, who finally gets his start after two rearrangements, going up against Rick Porcello of the Red Sox. Porcello has faced the Blue Jays twice this season and when sorted by game score, one of the starts was the second-best of his year and one was the third-worst. What will it be today?!

The season has been a weird one for the righty, as he has had a number of really good starts but there's always a seven-run outing around the corner waiting to set his ERA back about .50 points. He missed most of August with a triceps injury, but since returning on the 29th he's thrown 15.0 innings and allowed just one earned run while striking out 18. The Red Sox will hope this is the "true" Rick Porcello as they inked him to an extension for the 2016-2019 seasons with an average annual value of just over $20.6 million!

The starter from New Jersey is well-known as a ground ball pitcher, although his GB% this year is only 44%, which is way below his career average. He gets the majority of his ground balls off his good sinker, which he throws along with a curveball, slider, and changeup. As you can see below, every category of pitch that Porcello throws has yielded less ground balls this year:

Porcello

In 53.0 innings of work against the Blue Jays in his career, Porcello has an ERA of 5.26 (beginning to sound like yesterday?) so this could be another opportunity for the Toronto bats to wreck havoc yet again.

Hopeful Lineup

Lefties do hit Porcello much better than righties, so seeing Justin Smoak in the lineup won't be a surprise. I'd be happy if Dalton Pompey got a chance to use his switch hitting ability to take advantage of the platoon splits as well.

  1. Ben Revere LF
  2. Josh Donaldson 3B
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  5. Troy Tulowitzki SS
  6. Justin Smoak 1B
  7. Russell Martin C
  8. Ryan Goins 2B
  9. Dalton Pompey CF

Bullpen Usage

Strange usage of the high-leverage relievers (Lowe, Hawkins, Hendriks, and Osuna) yesterday means that if the game is close, John Gibbons will have to be creative.

Find The Link

Find the link between Rick Porcello and the Blue Jays speedster from Atlanta (who apparently loves the NHL video game).

Let's keep it rolling!