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Game #87 Preview: Gray vs Gaviglio

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Yankees (56-28) vs Blue Jays (40-46)

MLB: New York Mets at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays welcome the Yankees into Toronto for a 3 game series. The first game gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Sam Gaviglio makes his 9th start today, looking to build off a good start against the Tigers his last time out. In that June 30 start, Gaviglio went 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, but he did walk 3 and allow 2 home runs. But seeing him work deep in a game was a great accomplishment after averaging just 4 innings over his last 3 starts.

This will be Gaviglio’s second start against the Yankees this year. If it can be anywhere near as successful as the first one, I think we will all be quite happy with it. On June 6, Gaviglio spun a gem, allowing no runs on 3 hits over 7 innings against one of the best lineups in baseball.

Yankees’ Starter

Disappointment Sonny Gray gets the start for the Yankees. At last year’s deadline, the Yankees gave up a fairly significant group of prospects in order to acquire Gray’s services, and he has rewarded them with a 9-13 record and a 4.68 ERA since the trade. And its even worse this year, as he has a team leading 6 of the team’s 28 losses with a 5.44 ERA.

This will be Gray’s 4th start against the Jays this year, and it has been a mixed bag of results. In his first start, he threw a lot of pitches early, striking out 8 and walking 3 while also surrendering 7 hits over 4 innings, but the Jays magically only scored 1 run. In his second start, he struck out 0, walked 4 and gave up 5 hits over 3.1 innings, allowing 5 runs. And his last start against the Jays, he turned in his best start of the year, throwing 8 innings allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 8 and not allowing a run.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Lourdes Gurriel seems to have Gibby’s confidence, and should be in the lineup most nights. After giving Travis (2) and Diaz (1) games off in his first 3 starts after coming back up, the Jays might look to sit Solarte in this one.

If a trade doesn’t happen (I have no reason to think it might), the Jays are going to have a decision to make with where to play Curtis Granderson. Morales, Granderson, Grichuk and Hernandez have been the Jays best hitters over the last month, so when you add them to the mix with Pillar and Smoak, two of the best players on the team over the last year and a half, we once again have 6 players for 5 positions. For tonight’s game, I would guess that we see Grichuk get the night off.

Yankees’ Lineup

In case you haven’t heard, they are doing pretty well. The offence is helping carry the team through a 47-19 stretch, and are on pace to break the Major League team record for home runs.

And it’s not just because they added Stanton, although his 21 home runs definitely help. The Yankees have 5 players with at least 15 home runs, and Gary Sanchez is right there with 14.

Rookie sensation Gleyber Torres has 15 home runs, but he also just ended up on the DL with a right hip strain. He was hitting .294/.350/.555, so I’m not upset he isn’t making the trip.

One area of the lineup that the Yankees are weak at is 1B. Greg Bird (97 wRC+) and Brandon Drury (72 wRC+) have been getting most of the starts there recently, while Neil Walker (46 wRC+) has the most innings at 1B and Tyler Austin (102 wRC+) has been optioned to AAA. So look for the Yankees to add a first baseman before the deadline, although they might still hold out hope for Greg Bird.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Trea Turner was the Monster Bat yesterday. He went 3-5 with a pair of home runs and an RBI single, driving in a total of 8 runs, and helping his Nationals erase an early 9-0 deficit and come out on top 14-12 over the Marlins. All of that also gave him a .541 WPA, helping his team climb back from a 98.7% likelihood of a loss and earning our WPA King title as well.

Cardinals right hander Luke Weaver spun a gem yesterday, allowing just 2 baserunners, both of which scored on a 6th inning home run, as Weaver went 8 innings in the Cards 11-2 win over the Giants to take home Pitcher of the Day honours.

Milestone Watch

Kendrys Morales enters play with 199 career home runs.

John Axford is 3 appearances back of Jesse Crain for 6th all time as a Canadian pitcher.

Find the Link

Find the link between Gray and Russell Martin.