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Game #49 Preview: Skaggs vs Sanchez

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Angels (26-22) vs Blue Jays (23-25)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After taking the opener with a big first inning last night, the Jays look to take game 2 of their 3 game series this evening against the Angels. First pitch is at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Aaron Sanchez toes the rubber for the Blue Jays. The young righty is making his 10th start of the season, and is 2-4 with a 4.47 ERA.

Walks have been his biggest culprit this season, as he has walked 29 in 50.1 innings. He has now gone 4 straight starts while allowing at least 3 walks, and has 6 such starts in total this season.

Sanchez has lost about 1 mph off his fastball from the last few years, which is also a concerning trend. A slower fastball with less command doesn’t bode well for future success. What does bode well though is the future of his changeup. Fangraphs wrote about it a few weeks ago, and so far this season it has been his most valuable pitch. If he can get his sinking fastball to return to its pre-2017 glory, then that’s a combination, along with a knee buckling curve, that should lead to some pretty good success.

Despite Sanchez’ success with his changeup, lefties have been hitting him hard this year compared to righties. He’s been able to hold righties to a .283 wOBA, but lefties are hitting him at a career worst .403. And I think that’s pretty heavily influenced by his lack of command with his fastball.

Angels’ Starter

Lefty Tyler Skaggs gets the ball for game 2 for the Angels. He’s off to a pretty good start to his season, going 3-3 with a shiny 2.88 ERA. He has struck out 53 while walking just 16 through his 50 innings, and is inducing grounders (51.4%) at a career high rate.

The oft-injured Skaggs will reach double digits in starts for just the 4th time, after making his big league debut for Arizona 7 seasons ago. His career high in starts is 18, so the Angels are hoping he’ll shatter that mark this year. He lost half of 2014 and all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and had forearm tightness again in 2016. His 2017 season was derailed by an oblique strain.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Kendrys Morales is heating up (he says, hopefully). And it’s not like there are many on the big league roster clamoring to take at bats from him. So until we start getting some guys back from the DL (or the FO does something they won’t do) we’ll see Morales at the DH spot most nights. And that’s been a good thing his last couple games at least.

With the lefty on the mound, we might not see Granderson out there, instead going with fellow lefty Dwight Smith Jr. What a weird platoon.

I’m not sure what the plan with Solarte is, but I wouldn’t have him out there at SS with Sanchez on the mound. So he might be the reason that Morales sits, although I’m not sure what Gibby will do here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the bench again tonight.

Angels’ Lineup

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani were held to an 0-6 night with a pair of walks. We might have run into Trout at the right time, as he has just 6 hits in his last 56 PA (but 14 walks at least) and looked a bit not Trout like last night.

Look for Kole Calhoun to be in right field tonight, as he gets the bulk of the starts against righties.

Rookie catcher Jose Briceno might be making his Major League debut tonight. The right handed hitting catcher was added to the roster when Rene Rivera went to the DL with knee inflammation. Martin Maldonado has caught 6 straight games, although the off day Monday means that he probably is good to catch tonight, and then Briceno gets the start in tomorrow afternoon’s game.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Mark Trumbo of the Orioles had yesterday’s Monster Bat. He went 4-4 with a pair of doubles, but his O’s still fell 3-2 to the White Sox.

Guillermo Heredia of the Mariners gets the WPA King title. He hit a 1 out double in the top of the 10th which allowed speedster Jean Segura to score the go ahead and eventual winning run from 1B as the Mariners beat the Athletics 3-2.

Chris Sale gets Pitcher of the Day honours. Sale went 7.2 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and a pair of walks, striking out 9 as his Red Sox doubled up the Rays 4-2.

Milestone Watch

Donaldson hit a pair of doubles yesterday, but not a home run. He’s still 3 back of Shawn Green for 13th as a Blue Jay.

Find the Link

Find the link between Skaggs and the man with second most losses in 2003.