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Game #125 Preview: Cashner vs Estrada

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Orioles (37-87) vs Blue Jays (55-69)

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

After limping through a sweep in New York, the Blue Jays head home to face a team that is much more their speed. The Jays begin a 3 game home series against the Orioles tonight, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada, somehow still a Blue Jay, makes his 22nd start of the season tonight. He is 6-9 with a 4.87 ERA, right in line with his 4.88 FIP. Estrada’s first couple seasons in Toronto were marked by outperforming his FIP rather significantly, but his last two have not seen that level of success. He was able to do so prior thanks to limiting hard contact, running exceptionally low BABIPs and keeping the ball in the ballpark.

In 2018, his BABIP is back near the best in the league, but the home runs are not. He has allowed 1.60 home runs per 9 this year, a top 10 mark among the 106 pitchers with at least 100 innings. The main culprit has been the fact that so many of Estrada’s balls in play are hit in the air, which increases the likelihood of surrendering a home run. Estrada’s 56.1% FB rate is the highest in baseball among the pitchers with 100+ innings, and Justin Verlander is the only other one who has allowed a rate higher than 50%.

Orioles’ Starter

Andrew Cashner, who came over on a 2 year, $16m contract over the winter, is having a season that is meeting expectations. He’s 4-10 with a 4.71 ERA, finding a bit of a return to normal in the strikeout department that eluded him last year. After posting a 4.64 K/9 rate in 2017, he has bumped that back up to near his career mark this year at 6.40 K/9.

Cashner has made 3 starts this season against the Jays, arguably 3 of his best starts. His combined stats are 4 runs over 18.2 innings, allowing 19 hits and 6 walks.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kevin Pillar sitting in this one after he made Gibby mad yesterday. I would imagine that means Grichuk in CF, although maybe we see McKinney there instead. Granderson likely joins those 2 in the outfield.

Richard Ureña has been drawing a surprising amount of starts at SS. I would guess that Martin is back behind the plate today, so Ureña would go to SS pushing Diaz to 3B.

Orioles’ Lineup

The Manny Machadoless Orioles lineup is a pretty remarkable thing. In total, they have a collective 3.1 WAR, but Machado provided 3.8 of that.

However, the youth movement in Baltimore is starting to bear fruit. Cedric Mullins has come up and taken over CF, pushing Adam Jones to RF. Mullins has hit well, but the defense so far hasn’t been as good as expected at -4 DRS, although it has only been 9 games.

Renato Nuñez has taken over at 3B, playing good defense and putting up a 119 wRC+ over 24 games.

Co-catcher Austin Wynns has a 113 wRC+ over 23 games. Wynns, along with Nuñez and Mullins, have put up 1.5 WAR since they joined the team, helping to pull along a decrepit team.

Speaking of which, Chris Davis has likely ruined his chance at history. His WAR is still sitting at -2.2, a tiny bit better than it was a month ago when these teams met. His chances of reaching the Major League record of -4.0 seems rather unattainable now.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Kris Davis went 3-4 with a pair of home runs yesterday to earn the Monster Bat award. He now has 36 home runs, closing in on the league lead. However, his home runs weren’t enough yesterday as the Astros hitters jumped all over Sean Manaea and beat DavisAthletics 9-4.

Adam Frazier hit a walk off home run in the 11th inning to give the Pirates the 2-1 win over the Cubs, giving Frazier the WPA King award. Frazier also contributed a pinch hit bean ball in the bottom of the 9th to load the bases, but that was followed by a double play that ended the rally. Frazier’s WPA total on the day was .590.

Jose Ureña, who is currently appealing his 6 game suspension for being an idiot, threw a complete game against the Nationals. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out just 4 in the Marlins 12-1 win. I would imagine he’ll drop the appeal today and pitch again next Sunday.

Find the Link

Find the link between Cashner and Neal Cotts.