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Game #53 Preview: Happ vs Pivetta

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Blue Jays (24-28) vs Phillies (29-20)

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

After losing a pitcher’s duel on Saturday, the Blue Jays wrap up their series against the Phillies this afternoon, looking for the series win. Today’s game kicks off at 1:35 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Staff Ace J.A Happ makes his 11th start of the season. Through 59 innings in his first 10, Happ is 6-3 with a 3.97 ERA, striking out 71 against 16 walks, while surrendering 9 home runs. The home run rate is a career high mark for Happ thus far, so there is some hope for positive regression on that front.

Last time out, Happ went 7 strong innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. Since getting beat up pretty badly by the Mariners on May 10, Happ has allowed 5 hits over his last 14 innings.

Phillies’ Starter

Sophomore and Canadian Nick Pivetta gets the start for the Phillies. Through his first 10 starts, Pivetta has put up a 4-2 record with a 3.23 ERA. His FIP shows he has been even better, with a 2.86 mark, thanks to a pretty great K rate (28.0%), low BB rate (5.6%) and only 5 home runs in his 53 innings.

Pivetta is on a pretty good little run. Across 19 innings over his last 3 starts, Pivetta has allowed 1 run on 10 hits, striking out 25 while walking only 2.

The 25 year old righty throws a mid 90s fastball, complemented by a curveball and slider, while also tossing a changeup on the rare occasion.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Yesterday was fun. We saw the first career start at SS for 35 year old Russell Martin. We also saw the first start of the season in CF for 37 year old Curtis Granderson. Nothing like getting your old guys breaking the glass for two of the most important positions on the diamond. But hey, they didn’t do terrible (I don’t think so anyway).

But Kevin Pillar will be back in CF today. I’m guessing Hernandez and Granderson will flank him.

I do wonder if Martin will be back at SS. He has indicated that he would be open to making more starts there. And honestly, he’s probably the best option at SS on the 25 man roster right now. But if they’re really going that route, I hope they call up Danny Jansen. But if he’s playing SS that much, he needs to hit much better than he has been.

Second base will be interesting to see, but it does seem like Solarte has taken over that position from Devon Travis, at least for the National League games.

Phillies’ Lineup

Their lineup will likely be similar to what they put out there on Saturday with lefties going for the Jays in back to back games.

They have an impressive 5 switch hitters on their roster, which means that Odubel Herrera is the only lefty that Happ will face. Which is a bit of a concern on Happ’s front, as he’s held lefties to a very impressive .185 wOBA, compared to an above league average .322 wOBA against righties.

After working the Jays pitchers for 5 walks on Friday, the Phillies didn’t draw a single walk yesterday, which has dropped them out of first place in the Majors in walk rate. But they’re doing a great job this year getting on base, which has allowed them to get to 5th in the NL in runs per game.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Mike Trout gets the Monster Bat award. He went an incredible 5-5 with 1 HR, 3 doubles and a single, scoring 3 and driving in 4 to help the Angels trounce the Yankees 11-4.

Daniel Mengden, who went 7 shutout innings against the Blue Jays last Sunday, one upped himself this time around, going the distance in a 2 hit shutout. His efforts led his A’s to the 3-0 win over the Diamondbacks, and earned him the Pitcher of the Day award.

Mengden (.574 WPA) just narrowly edges out Trout (.556) for WPA King. Seattle is still going against Minnesota though, so somebody there might take it from Mengden, but meh. This award is Mengden’s because the other guys took too long.

Milestone Watch

I said Josh Donaldson would hit a home run in this series. So he better do it today and close the gap between him and Shawn Green.

Donaldson is also now 10 hits short of 900 for his career and 500 for his Blue Jays career (it’s fun that he had exactly 400 hits with the A’s before they gave him to us).

JA Happ is going for career win 99. He’s also 3 wins short of Kelvim Escobar for 9th all time as a Blue Jay.

Find the Link

Find the link between Pivetta, Tyler Renwick, J.R. Betts-Robinson and Ethan Stewart.