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Game #35 Preview: Estrada vs Archer

Blue Jays (18-16) vs Rays (15-16)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays try to avoid the three game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays today. First pitch is at 1:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada heads to the mound for the 7th time this season. Through 32 innings thus far, Estrada is 2-2 with a 6.19 ERA. He has struck out 26 and surrendered only 10 walks in those innings, but it has been the 9 home runs that have hurt Estrada the most. He has just a 26.9% GB rate, the lowest mark of his career (last year was 30.3), so giving up so many flyballs naturally is going to turn into some home runs. His 16.1% HR/FB rate is a bit above average, but not so much that it is screaming anomaly.

In his last start against the Twins, Estrada struggled through 5 innings, surrendering 4 runs on 7 hits, 2 of them being home runs. He at least only allowed 1 walk in that one, which has been the one good aspect from Estrada this year - in his 6 starts, 4 of them he has surrendered only one walk. But why would you walk if you’re getting meatballs instead.

Rays’ Starter

Tampa Ace Chris Archer is off to a terrible start to the season. Through 7 starts, he has thrown 38.2 innings, he is 2-2 with a 6.05 ERA. He, too, is being hurt by home runs a bit early in the season, allowing 15.4% HR/FB rate. But Archer is still getting the strikeouts, albeit not quite to his standards, while limiting the walks.

If Estrada had his peripherals, we’d probably be pretty happy. Archer’s 42 strikeouts against 12 walks and 6 home runs gives him a 4.02 FIP, which is pretty good if you’re not talking about a guy with a career 3.48 FIP.

Archer is always a fun guy to watch work, even if he is frustrating Jays batters. In 5 starts against the Jays last year, Archer held them to a .179/.223/.311 batting line, scoring 12 runs (10 earned) on 22 hits across 34 innings. Over his career, Archer has held the Blue Jays to a 205/.273/.324 line, as well as a sub-.200 batting average each of the last 3 years.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I would imagine we see Anthony Alford out there. I would love to see an outfield of Pompey-Pillar-Alford with Estrada on the mound. Teoscar Hernandez can DH.

Justin Smoak should be back to with the team today, playing 1B. It’ll be nice to have a good first baseman again. With Smoak back, I would imagine we see either the exodus of Richard Urena, or perhaps Curtis Granderson to the 10 day DL. Obviously the best answer is to be rid of Kendrys Morales, but I still don’t think we’ll be so fortunate.

Russell Martin caught last night, so I would imagine that means Luke Maile is catch this one.

The lineup will be posted shortly I’m sure, but not quite soon enough for me.

Rays’ Lineup

They still keep doing just enough for the Rays to win, and they will probably frustrate again.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Tim Anderson of the White Sox had a big game yesterday, going 3-4 with a pair of home runs and a double. But it wasn’t enough as the Twins doubled up the White Sox 8-4.

WPA King of the Day and Pitcher of the Day goes to Kevin Gausman of the Orioles, who tossed 9 shutout innings against the Athletics with a pair of hits and walks. But that wasn’t enough, as Kris Davis hit a walkoff 2 run home run in the 12th inning, winning the game 2-0 for Oakland.

Milestone Watch

Josh Donaldson needs 2 more walks to catch Ed Sprague for 20th all time as a Blue Jay.

With 3 home runs, Donaldson would catch Shawn Green for 13th all time as a Blue Jay.

Marco Estrada needs 2 strikeouts to reach 500 as a Blue Jay, the 19th to reach this mark.

This is also Estrada’s 97th career start as a Blue Jay, tying Mark Buehrle for 17th as a Blue Jay.

Find the Link

Find the link between Archer and the guy who went the Padres for Erik Kratz.