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Game #45 Preview: Anderson vs Estrada

Athletics (22-22) vs Blue Jays (22-22)

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a loss last night, the Jays get right back at it against the A’s tonight. Things get underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada, 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA through 8 starts, gets the ball for the Jays. His last start wasn’t terrible, allowing 4 runs over 6 innings, with the big blow being a 2 run shot to Hanley Ramirez. The encouraging signs, at least, were that he struck out 5 vs 1 walk. Estrada has had some good games in the walk department this season, as he issued only 1 walk in 5 of his 8 starts. Granted, if you’re getting hit hard, the batters aren’t waiting for the walk. Interestingly, 2 of the 3 starts that resulted in more than 1 walk are the only 2 starts that he never allowed a home run. And the other start, where he allowed 3 walks and 2 home runs only resulted in 3 runs against over 7 innings.

Athletics’ Starter

Old friend Brett Anderson is making his 4th start for the A’s after signing a Minor League contract for a fist full of dollars over the winter. He’s now with the big league club, making a few dollars more, and in his first 3 games, he’s given the A’s a good, bad and ugly start. To be fair, the teams he played in those starts were the Mariners, Yankees and Astros, so he hasn’t exactly had it easy.

The left handed Anderson is a ground ball pitcher who in the past relied on that groundball ability and a good walk rate to make him effective. As his walk rate has deteriorated, he’s obviously become less effective.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

They are no longer 18-0 when scoring 5 or more runs, but they are still 14-0 when scoring 6+ runs! (I’m claiming credit for this when Buck brings it up).

Josh Donaldson had a golden chance to tie things up last night, but once again wasn’t successful. Since coming back from his DL stint, he’s hitting .228/.286/.439 (91 wRC+) with his only 2 home runs coming in the double header on the day he returned. He has struck out in 22 of his 63 plate appearances in that span. We need a healthy, productive Donaldson if we’re going to have any success.

But it’s not just on him. Even with the 17 runs the last 2 nights, the Jays are only hitting .237/.311/.412 (94 wRC+) in May. With the pitching being as poor as it has been (5.59 ERA in May is 3rd worst in all of baseball), it’s a miracle the Jays are 6-10 this month.

Athletics Lineup

They’re a pretty good team that is really starting to heat up. They put up 10 runs last night, after a great series in Boston that earned them this praise:

And we saw that yesterday against Aaron Sanchez. While he was able to finish off 8 of the A’s hitters on strikes, they worked him over for 97 pitches through 4 innings plus a batter.

Khris Davis had a great game yesterday, going 4-4 plus a walk, hitting a 2-run home run and constantly being a pain. Last night’s game got him up to a 120 wRC+, right in line with where he has been the last 3 years as well. His home run was also his 13th, which if Manny Machado didn’t hit one last night as well, would have brought Davis into a tie for the Major League lead.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Khris Davis does get the bat of the day with his performance last night.

Doug Fister of the Rangers gets our WPA King award. Fister threw 7 shutout innings, leaving the game with a 1-0 advantage that the White Sox quickly erased against the Rangers’ bullpen, ultimately giving Chicago the 4-2 win despite Fister’s .499 WPA

Pitcher of the Day goes to Kenda Maeda, who went 8 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits while walking none, striking out 8 as the Dodgers beat the Marlins 8-0.

Milestone Watch

I really wish that Donaldson got 1 home run closer to Shawn Green last night, particularly in that 8th inning. But as it stands, he’s still 3 back.

Marco Estrada needs 19 strikeouts to reach A.J. Burnett for 19th all time as a Blue Jay. I think he’ll get there today.

Find the Link

Find the link between Anderson and the Nationals reliever with the highest single season K rate (qualified, excluding this year).