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Game #59 Preview: Sanchez vs Fulmer

Blue Jays (25-33) vs Tigers (28-30)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays look to end the suck and avoid the sweep in Detroit this afternoon. First pitch is at 1:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

He used to be good. Now, I don’t really know what’s happened to Aaron Sanchez. As he was coming up through the system, his biggest problems were walks, facing lefties, and facing a lineup a third time. He went 15-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 2016, making us all think he found his way, showing that he could overcome his problems.

Then another problem came that we didn’t think he could overcome - blisters. They stole his 2017 season from us, but he has now put that behind him. I’m happy to say that no one writes about Aaron Sanchez’s blisters anymore.

That’s because everyone is writing about his Minor League demons coming back. Through his first 60.1 innings in 2018, Sanchez has walked 35 batters (12.7%). On the season, all batters are hitting .252/.364/.414 (.342 wOBA), but lefties are hitting an insane .308/.431/.491 (.400 wOBA). And when facing batters a third time through the lineup (if he makes it that far), batters are hitting .283/.411/.508 (.397 wOBA).

Sanchez is an important part of the current and future success of this team. He needs to figure out how to exorcise his demons once again.

Tigers’ Starter

Michael Fulmer makes the start for the Tigers. He too is struggling, just not quite to the magnitude that Sanchez is. Through his first 11 starts, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year has thrown 60.2 innings, compiling a 2-4 record with a 4.60 ERA. His walk rate (3.56 per 9 innings) and his home run rate (1.19 per 9 innings) are at career highs.

His last start against the Angels was perhaps the pinnacle of his struggles. He lasted just 3.1 innings, surrendering 5 runs on 6 hits. He watched 2 home runs fly over the wall, and also walked 4 batters while only striking out 1. It was the first time this season he walked more than he struck out, and just the second time in his career he has reached that dubious mark.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The injured Teoscar Hernandez gets to sit as Granderson is back in the lineup finally. Otherwise it’s business as usual with Russell Martin back in at catcher.

Tigers’ Lineup

Ronny Rodriguez, Leonys Martin and James McCann are all back in the lineup today.

Yesterday’s Heroes

The DodgersJoc Pederson had the Monster Bat yesterday. He went 4-5 with a pair of home runs and a double as he helped his Dodgers trounce the Rockies 12-4.

Luke Farrell of the Cubs threw 5 shutout innings to earn the WPA King title. He came in for the bottom of the 9th, and proceeded to put up zeroes in the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th, before the Cubs put up a 6 spot in the top of 14th to give Farrell the win. He put up a .655 WPA on the pitching side.

Andrew Suarez of the Giants threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and no walks as his Giants beat the Phillies 2-0 to give Suarez the Pitcher of the Day title.

Milestone Watch

Loup warmed up but didn’t come in yesterday, so he’s still 3 appearances back of Scott Downs for 8th most as a Blue Jay.

Find the Link

Find the link between Fulmer and the Dodgers 31st round pick in 1995.