After an off day yesterday, the Blue Jays head to Cleveland to start a three game weekend series. Tonight’s action kicks off at 7:10 ET.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Marcus Stroman takes the ball for the opener, looking to rebound from his struggles during a freezing cold, emotional day last Saturday against the Rangers. In that start, he allowed 5 runs on 6 hits over 4.2 innings, surrendering 5 walks while only striking out 3.
He is looking to bounce back against a Cleveland team who has struggled offensively thus far (more on that below). Last year against Cleveland, Marcus made 2 really good starts. In total, he threw 13.2 innings, allowing 1 run on 11 hits with 8 strikeouts and a surprising 7 walks.
Mike Clevinger gets the ball for the other side to open the series. He is off to a great start to his 2018 campaign. In two starts, he has surrendered 1 run over 12.2 innings, striking out 9. He has allowed 14 hits and 4 walks, and yet to give up a home run, so he has been getting a bit lucky. But he has delivered pretty impressive results thus far.
Clevinger has only faced the Jays once in the regular season, coming on in relief in 2016. In that game he went 1.1 innings, striking out 3 of the 6 batters he faced, while also walking one and allowing a single.
He also has a postseason relief appearance against the Jays. In that 2016 appearance, he faced 7 batters, allowing a hit and a walk, but this time allowing one of them to score while also striking out 1.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
After a few regulars got the day off on Wednesday, we should be back to a full force lineup tonight.
I think the main question for the next little while against righties is whether Steve Pearce will be getting the start at DH, or if Yangervis Solarte will be getting start either at DH or maybe 3B to let Josh Donaldson DH.
The Blue Jays offense through 12 games has been pretty good. Collectively they’ve put up a .233/.313/.424 line, which is good enough for a 107 wRC+. They are tied for second in the Majors with 19 home runs (Angels are first at 22). And even though their last couple games have been a lot worse, the Blue Jays are 8th in all of baseball with just under 5 runs scored per game.
The bats have been pretty silent to start the year in Cleveland. After posting a 107 wRC+ last season, they currently sport the league’s worst wRC+ at 66. Backup catcher Roberto Perez (111) is the only one sporting a wRC+ above 100 right now.
The Cleveland lineup is fairly left handed heavy. Former Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion and Yan Gomes are likely the only two righties Stroman will face tonight (Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are switch hitters). Luckily for Stroman, he has showed mild reverse splits both in his career and last year, so he shouldn’t be too phased by this.
Now that I have said all of this, I predict a high scoring game today, because baseball.
The WPA King and Pitcher of the Day titles go to young Twins’ starter Jose Berrios. This is his second Pitcher of the Day win. He threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and no walks while striking out 11, leading his Twins over the White Sox 4-0. His efforts yesterday also yielded an 0.43 WPA
Josh Donaldson didn’t play on Wednesday, so he didn’t get a chance to move up the walk list. He’s still at 266, 4 short of 20th all-time as a Blue Jay, which is currently occupied by Ed Sprague.
John Axford did get into the game on Wednesday though. The next time he takes the mound, it will be the 500th time in his career doing so. He is also approaching John Hiller, who has 502 career relief appearances. Rheal Cormier has 575 relief appearances. Paul Quantril has 777. I can’t find any other Canadian relievers with more appearances, so it appears once he catches Hiller, Axford will be 3rd all time for Canadian relief appearances, unless someone can find some other names to put above Axford.
Find the Link
Find the link between Cleveland’s starting pitcher and the AL’s top thief last year.