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Game #105 Preview: Estrada vs Jackson

Blue Jays (48-56) vs Athletics (61-46)

Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After taking the series in Chicago yesterday, the Blue Jays continue their road trip further west, all the way to Oakland to start a 3 game series against the Athletics. Tonight’s game starts at 10:05 ET, so get your mid-afternoon naps in if you want to watch it all.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada makes his return from the DL with a strained glute. His last rehab outing was cut short due to a blister on his middle finger of his right hand (I feel like we’ve heard this story before), but Marco contends that he’s ready to go. He also says that his glute isn’t 100% either, so I’m hoping he can get through this start without further injury.

On the season, Marco is 4-7 with a 4.72 ERA. He has just a 25.7 GB%, the lowest in the Majors of anyone who has thrown at least 50 innings this year. As such, he has allowed a lot of home runs, to the tune of 1.51 per 9 innings, which is right in line with the 1.50 mark he put up last year. Coincidentally, he has the exact same FIP (4.61) as last year as well, although the strikeouts and walks are both down from last year.

Athletics’ Starter

Oakland counters with veteran right hander Edwin Jackson. Jackson, pitching in his 16th season, is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA over 6 starts. Remarkably, after all of these years, Jackson is still throwing pretty much as hard as he ever has, averaging over 93 mph on his fastball. He also features a slider and a cutter, while mixing in the occasional curveball and changeup.

The last time we saw Jackson, he was making a relief appearance for Atlanta in September 2015, and it’s pretty safe to say that this is a different team. On today’s team, assuming Curtis Granderson is still on the team by gametime, he has far and away the best numbers in his career. In 21 plate appearances, Grandy has a pair of singles, one double, triple and home run, plus 5 walks, good for a 1.164 OPS.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Granderson will be in there if he’s still a Blue Jay. However, there have been rumblings that Dalton Pompey could be coming up, so whether that means the Jays expect to deal Granderson today, or if he’s coming for an injury replacement, I’m not sure yet.

Lourdes Gurriel came out of the game with leg injuries after a rough tumble at 2B in yesterday’s game. I can’t imagine he is going to avoid the DL, but even if he does, I really can’t see him playing today.

Devon Travis’ back was bothering him yesterday, and that was a part of the reason he didn’t play the last couple days (outside of a pinch running situation). I would imagine he’s also still on the bench for this one.

So that leaves the infield as Drury-Diaz-Solarte-Smoak, and all of a sudden we might have to consider calling up an infielder. There were also rumblings that Gio Urshela could be getting added back to the roster after being pulled from the game in Buffalo about the same time as Pompey yesterday.

Add in the possibilities of trades, and this lineup could be a lot different tonight.

Athletics’ Lineup

As a team, they’re tied for 5th in the Majors with a 105 wRC+. Couple that with their great defense but poor baserunning, and they’re the 8th most valuable group of position players. And they’re also tied for 4th in home runs, which is impressive since Oakland is a place where home runs are typically hard to come by.

The offense is led by Matt Chapman, Kris Davis and Jed Lowrie. All 3 are hovering around the 130 wRC+ mark, while 4 other starters are also above 100 wRC+ to round out a pretty well balanced, solid offensive team.

Chad Pinder landed on the DL over the weekend, so we won’t be seeing him. And Matt Joyce went on the DL at the beginning of the month, but is still working his way back from a back injury.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Chris Davis was the Monster Bat yesterday, going 2-3 with a pair of home runs plus a walk and a bean ball in the Orioles 11-5 drubbing of the Rays. This game raised Davis’ WAR by 0.3, making his chase of the record of ineptitude a lot harder for him.

Zack Wheeler threw 6 shutout innings, and also chipped in an RBI double because he knew no one else on his team would, and the Mets won 1-0 over the Pirates. His pitching was worth .377 and the bat an additional .142, to give him the WPA King title.

Sean Newcomb held the Dodgers hitless all the way to their last strike in the 9th inning until Chris Taylor broke up the no hitter with a single into the 5.5 hole. Taylor came around to score after Newcomb was removed from the game, but the Braves still won 4-1 and Newcomb is our Pitcher of the Day.

Milestone Watch

Unfortunately I doubt that we’ll get to see Lourdes Gurriel try to continue his impressive multi-hit game streak. But it’s still alive and well for whenever he returns healthy.

Marco Estrada is going for his 37th win as a Blue Jay, a win that would move him into a tie with Sean Marcum, Ted Lilly and Josh Towers for 22nd all time.

Find the Link

Find the link between Jackson and Octavio Dotel.