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Game #108 Preview: Bad Decision vs Hernández

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Blue Jays (48-59) vs Mariners (63-45)

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Blue Jays head to their home away from home in Seattle where thousands of Blue Jays’ fans are there to meet them. The 4 game series gets underway tonight, with the first pitch scheduled for 10:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

It remains unannounced, and it is likely to become yet another bullpen day. It will be the 3rd time in the last couple weeks that John Gibbons has opted to use the bullpen day idea instead of starting Jaime Garcia, who probably isn’t any better, but also isn’t likely to be any worse in a starting capacity. The Blue Jays lost the first 2 attempts at this 8-3 and 9-5.

The good news about doing this on the road is that the bullpen only needs to pitch 8 innings. And who knows, maybe there is a roster move coming for a starting pitcher today, and everything will be fine.

Mariners’ Starter

Former Ace Félix Hernández gets the start in the opener. King Félix is no longer the daunting mound presence he once was when he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, winning the 2010 AL Cy Young award and taking runner up 2 other times. Now there is discussion about whether the Mariners, threatening to make the postseason for the first time in Hernández’s career, can afford to have him in the rotation the rest of the way.

On the season, Hernández is 8-9 with a 5.58 ERA. His 4.76 FIP is the highest of his career, and continues the downward trajectory his career has been on the last few seasons. His continually declining fastball velocity is likely at least a contributing factor in his decline, as as it has gone from near 96 mph when he first came up, to below 92 in 2014, and has now fallen below 90 mph. The 32 year old isn’t combating that with the impeccable control needed by older pitchers to maintain their dominance, and this is leading to not only the 3rd worst walk rate of his 14 year career, but also the highest hard hit percentage as players are punishing meatballs.

It’s a sad outcome for one of the best pitchers of his generation, a twilight that has come too soon.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I hope so very badly that there are some roster changes coming.

Darnell Sweeney got some plate appearances yesterday, and even drew a couple walks. He still doesn’t belong on a Major League roster though.

Teoscar Hernandez went 0-4 and is now 4-48 with 6 walks and 18 strikeouts over 44 PA since the All Star Break. When coupled with his poor defense, he has been worth -0.4 WAR in a dozen games.

Yangervis Solarte has been bad for 2 months now, hitting .212/.255/.345 since the start of June while playing poor defense and being terribly slow on the bases.

Solarte and Hernandez are showing what a hot start can do for your image though, as there are people out there who would still rather them over Randal Grichuk, who with a pair of doubles yesterday, has gotten his season wRC+ up to 100 to go along with his good defense (although he maybe isn’t a centre fielder).

Mariners’ Lineup

The Mariners, in attempt to bolster their team, went out and made some pretty good additions to their roster over the winter and into the season, adding Dee Gordon, Denard Span, Ryon Healy, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Romine.

The additions have helped, but the three best players on the team are holdovers Jean Segura (119 wRC+ with good baserunning and defense at SS), Mitch Haniger (126 wRC+) and Nelson Cruz (144 wRC+). Mike Zunino has also had a solid season behind the plate as well, and is putting up an about-average-for-a-catcher wRC+ of 80.

Kyle Seager has been away for the last few days attending the birth of his third child. He is expected to be back for today’s game. On the season, he has been playing excellent defense at 3B, but has just an 88 wRC+.

And before he was suspended for PED use, Robinson Cano was having a pretty good season too. And while he has been suspended, there are reports that he has been working out at 1B and 3B, as Dee Gordon makes a better defender at 2B than CF, something that Fangraphs told us long ago.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Yasmani Grandal went 3-5 with a pair of homers last night, earning himself the Monster Bat award. His second home run was a walkoff winner, leading the Dodgers past the Brewers 6-4.

Carlos Carrasco was on last night. He threw 7.1 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits and 0 walks while striking out 10. He gave his team .489 WPA as well, so he gets both the WPA King award as well as Pitcher of the Day honours in Cleveland’s 2-0 win over the Twins.

Find the Link

Find the link between King Felix and his new teammate Cameron Maybin (the hint is MUJ).