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Game #113 Preview: Johnson vs Hauschild

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Red Sox (80-34) vs Blue Jays (51-61)

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Blue Jays look to put the sting of yesterday’s loss behind them as soon as possible, trying to take game 2 against the Red Sox. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Mike Hauschild makes his first Major League start today. If you don’t know who that is, you were probably busy last Thursday, because that’s the only day that his name would have meant anything. The Blue Jays signed the Minor League Free Agent shortly before gametime. All he did was come in in the second inning of the dreaded bullpen game and saved a public lynching of John Gibbons by throwing 6 shutout innings against the Mariners. He walked 1 and allowed 4 hits, but got 5 strikeouts, earning the win.

Red Sox Starter

Brian Johnson gets the ball for the Red Sox. It was supposed to be Chris Sale’s spot, so I for one am happy to see Johnson on the mound. Johnson has spent the season as Boston’s swingman, starting 7 games and relieving another 21. Through his 65 total innings, he’s 2-3 with a 3.74 ERA, with 63 strikeouts against 22 walks. He has allowed more home runs than I’m sure anyone wants him to (at least on the Red Sox side of the equation), but as an extreme fly ball pitcher, they are bound to happen.

Johnson made the start against the Jays on July 15, where he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits over 4.2 innings. He allowed 4 walks and struck out 5, while allowing a home run to Teoscar Hernandez. The Red Sox unsurprisingly won that game, because that’s all they seem to do. Johnson has also had 2 relief appearances against the Jays, and they didn’t go nearly as well. He faced just 4 batters in total, allowing 4 runs on 3 hit and a walk, including a home run to Luke Maile back when we still thought he might be a good hitter this year.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Russell Martin didn’t play yesterday, and there were concerns with a sore knee. Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire better make sure their bags are packed. If Martin’s not starting in this one either, I’d really start to wonder if a trip to the DL is in his future.

The lefty Brian Johnson on the mound means that Curtis Granderson is on the bench again.

Richard Urena was called up yesterday, but history tells us that he might just be there to hold the bench down. Urena has just 4 starts this year, and I think he has been with the team in over 20 games.

Red Sox Lineup

I’m sure they’re licking their lips getting ready to face a career Minor Leaguer, so hopefully Hauschild is up to the task. But even with the beard-powered success he had last Thursday, I don’t feel overly confident in him against this lineup.

Old friend Steve Pearce has gotten a few starts against righties recently and may get into this one. And he has been pretty impressive since going over to Boston. In 72 plate appearances, he’s hitting .333/.431/.667 (192 wRC+), because more hitting is exactly what the Red Sox needed.

Sandy Leon looks to get the majority of the catching reps while Christian Vazquez is on the DL. And with Monday’s off day, he’ll likely still be fresh enough to be out there in this one.

One player who is often overlooked on this Red Sox team is Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi came into last season as one of the best prospects in the game, and put up a good, but ultimately a below-expectation season in left field. This season, his talent is really showing through, as he’s hitting .302/.384/.505 (139 wRC+) with 14 homers and 20 steals while playing pretty good defense in left field. It all adds up to a 4.2 WAR right now, and he could be up over 6 before the season is over.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Atlanta and Washington had a double header yesterday, allowing their players to rack up a lot of plate appearances in the hopes of getting the Monster Bat award. And Ryan Zimmerman did just that, going 6-8 with 2 singles, 3 doubles and a home run, while also drawing a walk. The teams split the double header 3-1 (Atlanta) and 8-3 (Washington).

Stupid J.D. Martinez on the stupid Red Sox gets the vaunted WPA King award. He was worth .768 WPA in the Red Sox 10-7 win last night over the Jays.

Jameson Taillon went the distance in the Pirates 10-2 win in Colorado. He allowed 10 hits, walked 1 and only struck out 3, but he still threw a complete game, and did so in Colorado, so that’s good enough for the Pitcher of the Day award.

Find the Link

Find the link between Johnson and Danny Hultzen.