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Game #52 Preview: Garcia vs Nola

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Blue Jays (24-27) vs Phillies (28-20)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After a free and easy win last night, the Blue Jays get right back at it this afternoon in Philadelphia for game two of their three game set against the Phillies. Today’s game is set to begin at 4:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

After a short stay on the disabled list, Jaime Garcia is back with a vengeance. The 31 year old lefty is off to a bad start to his Blue Jays tenure, going 2-3 with a 6.28 ERA across his first 8 starts. While the walks (21) and home runs (8) have been the major culprit over his 38.2 innings, another concern is that his groundball heavy approach (career 56.2% GB rate) has been completely disbanded this year (38.6%).

In his last start against the Mets before hitting the DL for 10 days, Garcia got absolutely shelled. He gave up 6 runs on 6 hits while walking 3, and was pulled after retiring only 11 of the 20 batters he faced. He needs a better showing sometime soon, preferably getting away from this additional spin rate fad that is going around baseball, because it clearly isn’t working for Garcia.

Phillies’ Starter

Former Blue Jays’ draft pick Aaron Nola gets the start for the Phillies today. Nola is off to a great start to his season after having a breakout season last year. Through his first 10 games, Nola is averaging almost 6.5 innings, and is 6-2 with a 2.37 ERA. He isn’t striking out over a batter an inning like he did the last two seasons, but he has trimmed his already good walk rate to down below 2 per 9 innings.

Nola is coming off arguably his worst start of the year last Sunday in St. Louis however. He went 6 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and a walk, the first time since early April he never earned a quality start. I wish that’s what a Blue Jays’ starter “worst start” looks like.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With the righty on the mound, Curtis Granderson will be in the outfield and leading off. Kevin Pillar and Teoscar Hernandez are likely to be out in the outfield with him.

Devon Travis will likely return to second base today, and that probably means Yangervis Solarte is back on the bench, although I’d rather he just play SS. I didn’t get the love that Shapkins had in Gio Urshela when they brought him over, and now that I’ve watched him play, I don’t get why he’s still being given a chance as our starting SS.

I think today might be a day we get Maile.

Phillies’ Lineup

After getting the night off yesterday, look for Scott Kingery to be back out there at SS in place of Pedro Florimon Jr.

With the lefty Garcia on the mound, right fielder Aaron Altherr will get the start.

Watch out for switch hitter Cesar Hernandez in this one. In general, he’s off to a good start to his season, hitting .275/.384/.429 (127 wRC+) with 6 home runs. But against lefties he’s hitting .357/.491/.452 (170 wRC+), although all of his home runs have come from the left side of the plate.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Travis Shaw gets our Monster Bat award. He went 3-4 with a single, double, home run plus a walk, driving in 3 to help his Brewers top the Mets 4-3 in 10. His homer was worth .101 WPA, his single .090, his double .172, and his walk (which was of the shrimp variety) was worth .336. His total WPA on the day was .677, easily earning him the title of WPA King.

Pitcher of the Day goes to Joe Musgrove of the Pirates. The former Blue Jays’ draft pick (where have I heard that before?) went 7 shutout innings, striking out 7 and walking nobody, as the Pirates beat the Cardinals 8-1.

Milestone Watch

Even Buck has caught on to the fact the Donaldson hasn’t hit a home run in a while. Shawn Green, you’re safe.

Jaime Garcia is going for career win number 70.

Danny Barnes needs 3 innings to get to 100 for his career. Hopefully he doesn’t get there today.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nola and a suspended Royal.