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Game #62 Preview: Hess vs Garcia

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Orioles (19-41) vs Blue Jays (26-35)

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

After taking an abnormal amount of time to lose last night, the Blue Jays welcome a team that they might have a chance of winning at least one game against. Tonight’s game against the Orioles, the first of a four game weekend set, gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Jaime Garcia makes the start for Toronto, probably starting to look over his shoulder as Marcus Stroman works his way back to the Majors and Sam Gaviglio shows he has no business being anywhere but the Major League rotation. And Garcia is doing a fine job showing that he belongs anywhere but the Major League rotation.

Through his first 10 games, Garcia is 2-4 with a 6.08 ERA. He is striking out batters at a career high rate (8.37 per 9 innings) but also walking batters at a career high rate (3.99 per 9 innings) and giving up home runs at a career high rate (1.71 per 9 innings). Also at career extremes is his GB rate (42.4%, well below his career average of 55.6%), his BABIP against (.333 vs a career .303 mark) and his fastball velocity (89.1 mph, about 1 mph below his career and 1.5 below his post-TJ numbers).

So to recap - he’s throwing higher in the zone, which is getting him more strikeouts, but at the expense of home runs and a low GB rate. He’s also walking more, and giving up a lot of hard hit balls when they are over the plate due to his slower pitches.

He still has incredible movement, and many other pitchers have been successful with diminished velocity. He just needs to figure out how to make that work for him. And the first step is control of his pitches. If he doesn’t figure that out, he’s likely to find himself on the DFA train (or bullpen, or phantom DL).

Orioles’ Starter

Rookie righty David Hess is making his 5th career start. He’s gotten good results so far, going 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA over 23.1 innings. He’s allowed 22 hits with 6 walks, but has surrendered 5 home runs and only struck out 12. Those numbers don’t typically bring good fortune, and his FIP being at 5.64 isn’t a good omen for Hess.

Hess is a fastball-slider pitcher who pumps the fastball in at 93.4 mph while dropping a slow slider of 80.5 mph. He’ll occasionally throw a changeup and curveball, but those are just show me pitches to make people think he’s got more to offer. His fastball or slider will come over 87% of the time.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Russell Martin is definitely getting this one off. He’s supposedly on the 2 on, 1 off schedule which would line up for an off today anyway, but after catching all 13 innings yesterday, he’ll get the day of and Luke Maile (#DeliverTheMaile) will get the start.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Devon Travis get the night off as well, which means we’ll see... Gio Urshela is still a thing, right? He’d be at third while Solarte shifts over to second base I would imagine.

Depending on other maladies, Randal Grichuk may also be in the lineup.

Orioles’ Lineup

As a unit, the Orioles position players are dead last in fWAR, currently sitting at -0.7. That’s... impressive. Especially when you realize that Manny Machado is 8th in the Majors at 2.9 WAR. Everyone else has compiled an astounding -3.6 WAR. Real, professional Major League Baseball players.

When the Detroit Tigers lost 119 games in 2003, their position players put up a combined -1.2 WAR. The 1998 Twins have the lowest mark of the last 30 years at -4.5 WAR. If they trade Manny Machado (which they would be very stupid not to), they have a legitimate chance of catching those Twins.

Chris Davis (4 years/~$84.5m remaining after this year) is leading the pack. He has put up a -1.7 WAR over 212 plate appearances. And unless he gets injured they’re going to keep playing him, because he’s owed so much and they don’t really have anything to play for besides next year’s first overall pick (which they currently have a grasp of). The Major League record for ineptitude was Jim Levey in 1933, who put up a -4.0 WAR over 567 PA. Davis’ numbers prorate to -4.5 WAR over 567 PA, so this might be something worth watching as the season goes on.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jurickson Profar gets our Monster Bat award. He went 3-4 with a pair of home runs, driving in 5 as the Rangers beat the Athletics 8-2.

Jason Heyward cranked a walk off grand slam (aka “Pearcing it”) with 2 outs in the 9th inning to give the Cubs the 7-5 win and Heyward the WPA King title with a .767 mark. That home run alone was worth .821 WPA, pretty much the most you could get on one play (if the final score was 7-6 with 2 outs in the 9th+, then that’s your max).

Sonny Gray gets the Pitcher of the Day award. He went 8 shutout innings against the Jays, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks before the game was suspended in the 12th inning, never to be spoken of again. All the fans went home happy with full bellies and the visions of good Blue Jays baseball.

Milestone Watch

Aaron Loup didn’t pitch, so he’s still 1 back of 8th place for pitching appearances as a Blue Jay.

Jaime Garcia is going for career win number 70.

Find the Link

Find the link between Hess and the Mets’ starting shortstop.