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Game #39 Preview: Sale vs Sanchez

Red Sox (26-11) vs Blue Jays (20-18)

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After getting beat by the Mariners, the Blue Jays welcome the Red Sox into Rogers Centre for a 3 game series. Tonight’s game starts at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Aaron Sanchez goes for the Blue Jays, looking to bounce back from a rough start his last time out against the Rays. In that start, he allowed 4 runs (but only 2 earned thanks to a pair of errors from Lourdes Gurriel) on 5 hits and 4 walks, pitching only 3.2 innings. He struck out only 3 batters in that game, amazingly the 4th time in 7 starts where he walked more than he struck out.

Sanchez is 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA, which is pretty good considering the 28:22 K:BB ratio over his 41.1 innings. Thankfully Sanchez, unlike every other Blue Jays’ starter, isn’t allowing a massive amount of home runs. only 3 thus far (I preemptively apologize if he allows 3 home runs tonight - any other number, say 4 without getting an out, is not on me).

Red Sox’ Starter

The Blue Jays get the pleasure of facing Chris Sale in the opener. Sale is off to a great start to his season, with a 3-1 record and a 2.02 ERA. His walk rate is as high as it has been since 2014, but that just shows how amazing he is as opposed to anything about being bad this year. In 49 innings, he has allowed 2.02 walks per 9 innings. He’s also striking out 11.57 per 9 innings, so this might be a bad game for the Jays’ batters.

The good news? When the Blue Jays faced him on April 26, they gave him his worst start of the season. Through 6 innings in that start, Sale only struck out 4, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, but surrendered a pair of home runs - one to Devon Travis and one to Justin Smoak. Travis isn’t going to be here for this one, but at least Josh Donaldson is back - the guy who hit 2 homers off Sale last September. In his last 2 starts against the Jays, Sale has surrendered 6 home runs over 11 innings - 2 to Donaldson, and then one each to Hernandez, Travis, Smoak and Morales.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Don’t be surprised to see Kendrys Morales out there in this one. Including that home run last September, Morales is 10-34 with 3 home runs in his career off Sale, and those numbers are probably too much for John Gibbons to ignore.

I’m guessing we’ll see an outfield of Alford-Pillar-Hernandez. Pompey doesn’t seem to draw many starts, and Granderson will be back on the bench with the lefty on the mound, again.

Giovanny Urshela may have finally made it to Toronto, but I don’t imagine he’ll be in the lineup tonight. But hey, maybe he will be.

Red Sox’ Lineup

They’re good. Like, really good.

I guess I should add more. Their .270 batting average is second in the Majors. Their .192 ISO is second in the Majors (just ahead of the Jays’ .191). Which I guess means their slugging percentage is the best in the Majors, because the Braves aren’t getting as many extra base hits, and the Yankees are striking out too much to hit for as high of an average.

Mookie Betts is off to an insanely good start. He’s hitting .361/.441/.803 (219 wRC+), leading the Majors with 13 home runs. JD Martinez (168 wRC+) Mitch Moreland (169 wRC+, but in only 60% of the games because he doesn’t play against lefties, which means he’s playing all 3 games this weekend) and Xander Bogaerts (140 wRC+, and back from the DL) are also off to hot starts. Blue Jay killer Brock Holt (142 wRC+ on the season, but really he’s 10-47 against non-Jays and 7-9 against the Jays) is back from the DL just in time for this 3 game series.

But hey, their catchers can’t hit, as Leon, Vazquez and Swihart have wRC+ marks of 25, 25 and 24. So there’s how we beat them.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Freddie Freeman went 5-5 with a home run last night, helping Atlanta beat Miami 9-2.

WPA King goes to Scooter Gennett of the Reds. He had a 6th inning 2-run home run to make it 2-1, and then added an 8th inning solo shot to make it 4-1, which was the final tally as the Reds beat the Dodgers. For Gennett’s efforts, he added .404 WPA.

Pitchers of the Day go to both Zack Greinke and Tanner Roark. They went head to head last night, and both allowed 1 run on 4 hits over 7 innings, walking none (although Roark beaned Ketel Marte), as Washington came out on top in the 11th by a score of 2-1.

Milestone Watch

Donaldson went 3-4 yesterday, but none of those hits were home runs, and he didn’t get a chance to walk either, so he’s still 2 back of Ed Sprague in walks for 20th and 3 back of Shawn Green in home runs for 13th in Blue Jays’ history.

Aaron Sanchez needs 5.1 innings to get to 400 in his young career. I really hope he blows past that number today.

Find the Link

Find the link between Sale and the last outfielder to represent the Blue Jays at the All-Star Game.