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Game #76 Preview: Stroman vs Barria

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Blue Jays (34-41) vs Angels (41-35)

Toronto Blue Jays v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

The Blue Jays take their third crack at getting a win in Los Angeles after a failed first 2 attempts. Today’s game starts at 9:07 ET, an hour earlier than the previous two.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marcus Stroman makes his return to the rotation. He last pitched on May 8, which was the worst day of the 2018 Blue Jays’ season. In that start, he lasted just 5 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits and took the loss, because your team can’t score 6 runs without any hits.

Stroman’s season on the whole has been one to forget. He is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA, while 6 of his 7 starts have been between 4.2 and 5.1 innings, allowing 4, 5 and 6 earned runs twice each (although there were 2 unearned ones in one of the 6s). His 1 good start, against Minnesota on May 2, was a glimmer of hope - 7 innings, 2 runs on 6 hits, just 1 walk. And then he missed over 6 weeks due to right shoulder inflammation.

So he’s back now, and looking to put that all behind him for the second half of the season. There will need to be a roster move to make room for Stroman, and if I had to guess, barring an injury or trade, I would go with Preston Guilmet. Someone will need to be DFA’d in the coming days to make room on the 40 man for the soon to be reinstated Thomas Pannone anyway, so it would make sense that Guilmet is the two for one deal today.

Angels Starter

Everyone got bumped up a day due to the injury to Tyler Skaggs on Thursday, so Sunday’s proposed starter is now Saturday’s. And that man is Jaime Barria. The 21 year old is having a good rookie season so far, pitching to a 5-3 record with a 3.57 ERA over 9 starts and 45.1 innings. He has walked just 10 batters so far, but has also allowed 8 home runs.

Barria is a fly ball pitcher who has also induced a good amount of infield fly balls. He has a fastball, slider and changeup, which has made the righty more effective against lefties so far this year. He has faced an even split of 94 batters from both sides of the plate, and righties have been more successful, hitting 6 of the 8 homers. Of his 10 walks, 6 were issued to righties as well, and all 3 of his HBP have been given out to righties. So through all of this, lefties have a .280 wOBA, while righties are at .349.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The presence of Steve Pearce is going to give John Gibbons fits trying to get everyone in. Justin Smoak has struggled with everything except walks against righties this year, so maybe Pearce makes the start at first base. Or he just doesn’t start in this one.

Curtis Granderson will also be a question mark as to how he fits in. Teoscar Hernandez got the night off last night, so maybe Grichuk or Pillar will get one tonight.

Russell Martin and Luke Maile have played every other game for the last week+, and with Martin starting yesterday, it could be Maile’s turn to start today (#DeliverTheMaile). Although with Stroman on the mound, maybe Martin catches this one and Maile gets Gaviglio or Garcia tomorrow.

Angels’ Lineup

Buck Martinez stole my thunder on Andrelton Simmons (I should have gotten a bit more excited when I saw is 3.9% K rate yesterday). But still, it’s an amazing number. With yesterday’s strikeout thrown in, he is now up to 4.1% on the year. While he is exceptionally unlikely to finish the season that low, let’s take a quick look at what it would mean if he did.

It would be the lowest rate in baseball since Tony Gwynn in 1998 (Gwynn actually bested 4.1% a ridiculous 10 times in his career, and his career rate was 4.2%).

But even more incredibly, since this year’s league wide strikeout rate is yet again a record high, this time at 22.4%, Simmons’ 18.3 point difference is far and away the best in baseball history - 1995 Tony Gwynn is probably second at 13.6, although there is a lot of data to go through that isn’t worth it to confirm. But I can comfortably say that Simmons’ 18.3 is the highest ever, because 2010 was the first time in history the league average was at least 18.3%.

I don’t really have any other fun tidbits about their lineup. Mike Trout is there, and you should enjoy watching him and remember what it was like, because in 50 years people will be asking you what it was like to watch such an amazing player.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Nelson Cruz was the Monster Bat yesterday. He went 4-5 with a pair of home runs, while driving in 7 runs. Unfortunately for him, JD Martinez and the rest of the Red Sox were there for retaliation, and the Mariners squandered a 10-5 lead to ultimately lose 14-10.

Manny Machado went 2-5 plus a pair of walks, and launched a 2 run home run in the top of 15th, helping him to a .744 WPA and earning the WPA King title. He needed all of those WPA points though, because teammate Zach Britton put up an impressive -.810 mark, but the Orioles did end up beating the Braves 10-7. The WPA graph for this game is a thing of beauty.

The Pirates and Diamondbacks played through 13 innings yesterday, with Arizona eventually coming out on top 2-1 in probably the best pitcher’s duel of the year. The game was scoreless through 10, before the D-Backs scored one in the top of the 11th, but promptly gave it back in the bottom half. Their 13th inning run was able to stand up though. But it wouldn’t have gotten that far if not for Patrick Corbin and Ivan Nova. They are our co-Pitchers of the Day. They both allowed 0 runs on 3 hits with no walks. Nova did it over 8 innings with 8 strikeouts, while Corbin did it over 7 with 12 strikeouts.

Milestone Watch

Marcus Stroman looks to tie AJ Burnett for 20th all time in franchise wins today, going for win number 38.

Find the Link

Find the link between Barria and the Rangers starting catcher.