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Game #13 Preview: Estrada vs Gausman

Blue Jays (8-4) vs Orioles (4-8)

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

After another exciting win last night on the strength of an exceptional Aaron Sanchez, the Blue Jays will be going for the 3 game sweep of the Orioles tonight. The game gets underway at 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada will be looking to top what Sanchez did last night, and a Marco Estrada that is firing on all cylinders has that ability.

In his start last week, Estrada was amazing through 5 innings. He allowed an infield single in the second and a little flare out to RF for a single in the fifth. He had 6 strikeouts and a pair of popouts while frustrating Rangers hitters. He was cruising along, looking to go deep into the game sitting at 70 pitches through 5.

The 6th inning started out well, getting a groundout from the number 9 hitter. Then the Rangers came up for their third crack at Estrada. Shin Soo Choo hit a home run, and after a strikeout of Joey Gallo, the Rangers got a pair of singles and drew their first walk. Robinson Chirinos drove a full count pitch to CF, but Pillar was there to end the inning. That 35 pitch inning was the end of Estrada’s night.

On the season, Estrada has controlled contact pretty well - 6 popups and only 3 line drives. He has allowed 4 runs on 3 home runs, while walking 4 and striking out 9 over 13 innings. The peripherals aren’t great due to the home runs, but he has looked pretty good when on the mound, although his 2.77 ERA is maybe a bit too good to believe.

Orioles’ Starter

Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Orioles. He is making his 3rd start of the season, still searching for his first win after earning a no decision against the Yankees last week. He allowed 2 runs in 5 innings, with a walk and 3 strikeouts.

His second start was a lot better performance than his first one. On April 1 against the Twins, Gausman allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, with 3 home runs doing a lot of the damage in his 4 innings of work.

Gausman started 6 games against the Jays last season, and had a pretty good time. Over 35.2 innings, he had a 1.51 ERA, striking out 30 and allowing just 1 home run. A far cry from the struggles he had against the Jays in 2016, where he surrendered 6 home runs and 14 runs total over 15.1 innings against the Jays. So maybe he figured something out. Or maybe the Jays just sucked last year.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Today is the scheduled off day for Devon Travis and Russell Martin. So look for Yangervis Solarte to be a second and Luke Maile to be behind the plate.

With Kendrys Morales on the DL, we get to use the DH spot to cycle guys through. Steve Pearce got the start in RF the last 2 games to give Randal Grichuk a break. But with flyball pitcher Marco Estrada on the mound, it would make sense for Grichuk to be out there and Pearce at DH.

However, and this is based on absolutely nothing at all, I have this weird feeling that we’ll see Russell Martin at 3B today, with Josh Donaldson at DH, which means Pearce in RF giving Grichuk another day off.

Orioles’ Lineup

After another frustrating night for a frustrated offense, the Orioles might be looking to shake things up a bit tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chris Davis (5-30 career against Estrada, and struggling to get a start on his season) get the day off today.

Like the Blue Jays, the Orioles are running a 3 man bench, so they won’t be able to shake things up a whole bunch. Craig Gentry is the only one who hasn’t had a start this series, so he might make it in.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Mookie Betts was yesterday’s offensive monster, going 4-4 with a walk and a home run, scoring 5 runs and driving in 4 as his Red Sox walked all over the third place Yankees 14-1.

Last night’s WPA King was San Francisco Giant Andrew McCutchen. He collected his second walk off hit in a Giants uniform, this time a single in the bottom of the 9th to send Giants’ fans home happy. He also boosted his WPA by being the front half of a double steal in the 8th, coming around to score on an error on the play. His .584 WPA topped his .552 mark from his walk off home run game on Saturday.

As much as I want to give Aaron Sanchez the Pitcher of Night award, he did ultimately allow a run. Stephen Strasburg, however, did not. He went 8 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 8. Maybe next time Aaron.

Milestone Watch

Roberto Osuna notched his 100th career save, tying Billy Koch for 3rd all-time on the Jays. He also became the youngest player ever to reach the 100 save plateau, so that’s fun and all, but that was my exciting milestone countdown, and now I have to get searching.

John Axford has 498 career appearances, closing in on 500 for his career.

Josh Donaldson is slowly walking his way into the Blue Jays’ record books. He’s at 266 now. 20th all-time as a Blue Jay is Ed Sprague at 270. Adam Lind had 273, and 18th place belongs to Otto Velez at 278. So get walking Josh!

Marco Estrada has 989 career strikeouts. I would love for him to reach 1000 today.

Find the Link

Find the link between the Orioles’ starting pitcher and the father of the man who went from being a General Manager to a first base coach for the Boston Red Sox (and he might have moved further down that spectrum working for the Mets now).