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Game #10 Preview: Garcia vs Hamels

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Blue Jays (5-4) vs Rangers (4-6)

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a cold night in Texas (the weather and the bats), the Blue Jays will be searching for their second consecutive series win as they take on the Rangers this afternoon at 3:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Pitcher

Jaime Garcia makes his second start as a Blue Jay. The first one went pretty well, as Garcia allowed 1 run over 6 innings, surrendering 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. 8 of the 12 balls in play were on the ground.

One of the hits Garcia allowed was a solo home run to Welington Castillo, showing the world that he belonged in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Seung-Hwan Oh vultured the win on a Russell Martin home run in the bottom of the 7th, so Garcia is still searching for his first Blue Jay win.

Rangers’ Starter

Cole Hamels used to be a Capital-A Ace, averaging over 4 WAR per year for the first 10 years of his career and staying very consistently healthy. His first full year in Texas in 2016 was vintage Hamels, as he cracked the 200 inning plateau for the 7th straight season while putting up a 3.32 ERA.

2017 started off great, as he went 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA over 5 starts before being sidelined with an oblique strain. He came back exactly 2 months later, and wasn’t the same pitcher. He put up a 4.53 ERA the rest of the way with a fastball about 1.4 mph slower than 2016.

In Hamels’ first two starts of 2018, that velocity was down another 2.5 mph, sitting at 89.8 now. If this is the Hamels that the Rangers have going forward now, they might not pick up that $19m option they have for next year.

His stats in the first two starts are a bit extreme. In his 10.2 innings, he has allowed 9 hits and 7 walks while serving up 3 home runs. That has lead to an ERA of 3.38. He has allowed 3 solo home runs and a sac fly. That’s it. Because in those 10.2 innings, he has also induced 3 double plays and struck out 18.

Nothing in Hamels’ profile is sustainable, so trying to figure out he is going to be today is tough. I expect a lot of strikeouts still, but hopefully the Jays can get better sequencing than the Astros and Athletics were able to muster.

Blue Jays Lineup

I was hoping that I slept in long enough to find that the lineups were posted and these next 2 sections were just a couple tweets. Oh well.

Devon Travis and Russell Martin won’t be starting in this one. Yangervis Solarte will be at second base, and Luke Maile will be behind the plate.

Steve Pearce is once again likely to be in LF. Josh Donaldson will be back out at 3B, which means Kendrys Morales is back at DH. I doubt anyone else is different, although at some point in time Randal Grichuk is going to get a day off.

Rangers’ Lineup

For the second consecutive game yesterday, the Rangers hung a 4 spot in an inning against the Jays. Friday it was Oh Loup, yesterday it was Stroman. It seems like we just need to figure out how to avoid the big inning.

I really wish teams would post their rosters by 9:00 am ET every day. It would make these sections more meaningful.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Andrew McCutchen had a monster game yesterday, going 6-7 with a double and a walk-off home run in the 14th inning against the Dodgers. Yet that didn’t get him the WPA King title, as Eugenio Suarez of the Reds went 3-4 with a walk and a homer, leading the Reds to a 7-4 win over the Pirates, and giving Suarez a 0.721 WPA.

Yesterday’s star pitcher was Gerrit Cole of the Astros. He struck out 11 over 7 shutout innings, allowing 5 hits and walking no one. I think Houston has to be pretty happy with that trade thus far.

Milestone Watch

Steve Pearce launched a home run to left field yesterday, one of the teams two hits. That means he’s at 498 career hits, and a good day today could get him to 500 for his career.

Find the Link

Find the link between the Rangers’ starter and his former teammate Kyle Kendrick.