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Game #50 Preview: Tropeano vs Estrada

Angels (27-22) vs Blue Jays (23-26)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After a long, terrible defeat last night, the Blue Jays are right back at it early against the Angels to finish up their 3 game series. Today’s game is at 12:37 ET, AND IS ONLY ON FACEBOOK WATCH.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada brings his high fly ball act into the finale of this series. Through his first 9 games, Estrada is 2-4 with a 5.15 ERA, right in line with his 5.23 FIP. The pitcher who handily outperformed his FIP his first two seasons with the Jays thanks to impressively low BABIPs is no longer here, but Estrada is still a fully capable backend starter that will give close to a quality start every night, and that is arguably more valuable than his aggregate numbers show him to be.

Estrada looked great in his last start, a lot more like the Estrada of old. He pitched 6.2 innings of 1 run ball before surrendering 3 straight doubles that was ultimately the difference in the Jays 3-1 loss to the A’s. But before those doubles, he was great. He got 20 outs, 6 by strikeouts, while surrendering no walks and only 4 hits. He allowed 10 flyballs, 2 of which were popups, only 1 line drive and also induced 7 groundballs, something that he hasn’t really done all season. Even with those 7 groundballs, Estrada still has the second most extreme flyball and groundball rates in baseball.

His 25.6 GB% is by far the lowest mark of his career, and 8 points below his career average. This is resulting in more flyballs, which is turning into a career high home run rate (1.95 per 9 innings, the 6th highest mark in the Majors). But what he’s not seeing with all of these extra fly balls is a low BABIP, but instead is about at league average. And while it seems like he is maybe a bit unlucky with his BABIP, his xwOBA of .359 is right in line with his wOBA of .362.

Angels’ Starter

Right hander Nick Tropeano goes for the Angels in this one. Through 6 starts, Tropeano is 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA across 32.1 innings. Tropeano is just returning from Tommy John surgery, and doesn’t have the velocity or command he had prior to the surgery. In the 127 Major League innings prior to the procedure, Tropeano had a 21.7% K rate against a 9.1% walk rate. Since coming back, those numbers have declined to 19.4% and 11.2%. His fastball velocity is down about 1 mph from pre-surgery times.

As a flyball pitcher, Tropeano has also struggled with home runs this year. He has allowed 5 in his 6 starts, including 2 in a very tough start against the Rays his last time out. Overall in that start, he lasted just 2.2 innings, walking 3 and striking out 2 to go along with those 2 runs. Considering he allowed 6 hits in those 2.2 innings, it’s a bit surprising that all of that only added up to 4 runs. But Noe Ramirez was able to strike out Johnny Fields to strand the bases loaded after Tropeano was pulled from the game.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It should be announced soonish, since the game is starting in just over 3 hours from time of publish.

Luke Maile will be catching in this one, as Martin won’t be catching a day game after a night game.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Devon Travis on the bench in this one. As much as Gibby has attested that he isn’t going to be on quite as strict of a 2 on 1 off routine, the day game after a night game is likely when Travis will sit, and it maybe just happens to fall in line with that 2 on 1 off schedule.

Angels’ Lineup

I would guess that today is the day Jose Briceno makes his Major League debut.

Otherwise I’m not really sure if we’ll see any difference in their lineup with a righty on the hill again for the Jays. I was hoping they’d post their lineup before I posted this article.

Yesterday’s Heroes

White Sox center fielder Adam Engel, who came into the night with a 39 wRC+ on 3 doubles and a triple as part of his 20 hits, earned the Monster Bat award last night. That’s because he went 4-4 with a home run, driving in 2 and helping his White Sox beat the Orioles (although they didn’t need much help) 11-1.

Josh Harrison had a big go ahead triple in the top of the 12th against the Reds last night, giving his Pirates the 5-4 win. That earned him the title of WPA King, as his .496 mark for the night narrowly edged...

Marco Gonzales, who put up a .492 WPA, but does still go home with some hardware as pitcher of the day. He threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks in the Mariners’ 1-0 win over the Athletics. It was a tight race for Pitcher of the Day, as 5 different pitchers threw 6+ shutout innings, and another allowed an unearned run through 7. But Gonzales is the deserving recipient.

Milestone Watch

I give up. Josh Donaldson will never hit another home run, and he’ll forever be “the guy who couldn’t get 3 more to catch Shawn Green”.

Marco Estrada needs 13 strikeouts to catch AJ Burnett on the Blue Jays’ all time list. I said he’d get there last time, and he let me down. I’m not making that same mistake.

Estrada is making his 100th career start as a Blue Jay today, so that’s fun. He becomes the 17th Blue Jay to do so.

Find the Link

Find the link between Tropeano and the Brewers’ leader in runs scored last year.