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Game #58 Preview: Happ vs Boyd

Blue Jays (25-32) vs Tigers (27-30)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to put the game 1 loss behind them, the Blue Jays get back at it against the Tigers this afternoon. The first pitch is at 4:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays look to even the series with their best starter on the mound. J.A. Happ is 7-3 with a 3.84 ERA, with a 10.83 K/9 rate countered by a 2.47 BB/9 rate. That K/9 rate, which has been talked about all season, is currently sitting at 11th best in all of baseball, right behind Justin Verlander’s 10.84 mark (I think he’s having a good season too).

In his last outing against the Phillies, Happ went 6.2 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and a pair of walks. His 8 strikeouts was about as close to being on his season K/9 rate as he could probably realistically get in a single start (8 strikeouts in 6.2 innings is 10.8 K/9). He didn’t allow a home run for the 3rd straight start (and given that they’re playing the team with the second fewest round trippers in the Majors today, look for a pair of home runs from the Tigers today), a streak that has brought his early season HR/FB rate down to a more reasonable number (14.8% now, down from 22.0% after his start against the Mariners).

Tigers’ Starter

Old friend Matt Boyd gets the start for the Tigers. If you don’t remember Boyd, he was traded, along with Vaniel Norris, at the 2015 trade deadline for 2 months and playoffs of David Price. It probably ended up being worth it, as Price really was instrumental in taking the Division Title, but giving up a pair of talented pitchers so close to the Majors for a rental is tough as well.

Anyway, Boyd is off to a great start to his season. Through 10 starts, Boyd is 3-4 with a 3.00 ERA. He has done a great job suppressing home runs (3 in 57 innings) despite giving up a lot more fly balls than ever before. But he’s doing a great job managing contact, as his 86.1 mph average exit velocity is the 18th best mark out of 148 pitchers with 100 balls in play (and most of the guys better than him have the benefit of throwing in some pitcher ABs into their sample size).

On the surface, it may seem that Boyd has been getting lucky this year, as his .241 BABIP and 4.0% HR/FB rate suggest. And it’s probably at least partly true. And while his .295 xwOBA is a fair bit higher than his .258 wOBA, a .295 wOBA against is still a fair bit better than average (.312 league wide wOBA).

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With the lefty on the mound again, there’s a good chance that the lineup will look very similar to yesterday’s.

Luke Maile (#DeliverTheMaile) probably catches today due to the day game after the night game, and also to get Martin to catch Sanchez tomorrow.

I was hoping the lineup would have been posted by the time I published this, but I guess not.

Tigers’ Lineup

It’s a bit of a different lineup than yesterday. Niko Goodrum is in LF as JaCoby Jones moves to CF and Leonys Martin sits. Dixon Machado is in at second base for Ronny Rodriguez. And John Hicks is in at catcher for James McCann.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Matt Olson went 3-4 with a pair of homers, while also chipping in a walk to earn the Monster Bat award. His 3 runs and 5 RBI helped the A’s walk all over the Royals 16-0.

Mike Foltynewicz (got it right first try!) threw a complete game shutout, allowing 2 hits and surrendering a walk while striking out 11, earning him the Pitcher of the Day award. He outdueled Stephen Strasburg in the 4-0 win in order to keep the Braves in first place in the NL East. Folty’s efforts also gave him a .487 WPA (we’ll ignore the batting side of it) and the title of WPA King as well.

Milestone Watch

J.A. Happ is going for career win number 100 this afternoon! Woo! Wins! I’m actually a little more excited for this than anyone should be, because wins are stupid and whatnot. But 100 is still a nice milestone to clear, and you don’t get that high if you haven’t had a good career.

Happ is 4 strikeouts short of Tom Henke for 11th all time as a Blue Jay. That should be an attainable mark for him today.

(checks yesterday’s box score, then copies and pastes) Aaron Loup is 3 appearances back of Scott Downs for 8th most as a Blue Jay.

Find the Link

Find the link between Boyd and Sean White (not snowboarder Shaun White).