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Game #144 Preview: Borucki vs Sale

Blue Jays (65-78) vs Red Sox (98-46)

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays hit the road for their second last road trip of the season, starting with 3 games in Boston. Tonight’s contest gets underway at 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Blue Jays send their best starter of 2018 to the hill to kick things off. Ryan Borucki is having a good rookie season, potentially enough to garner a couple lower ballot Rookie of the Year votes. Through 13 starts, the young lefty is 3-4 with a 4.39 ERA, doing a good job limiting walks and homers, but not really finding a strikeout pitch when he needs one. If he can conquer that hurdle, that will be a big step forward.

Borucki has made a couple starts against the Red Sox so far this season, and hasn’t had much luck. Through 8 innings, he has allowed 11 runs (8 earned) on 17 hits and 7 walks. Those starts were very clearly Borucki’s 2 worst starts of the season. J.D. Martinez also has the distinction of hitting the first big league home run off Borucki, in Borucki’s 8th start of the season.

Red Sox’ Starter

The Red Sox, following in the steps of the Rays, will go with an “Opener” in this game. Not because they’re trying to be secondarily innovative or anything. It is because Chris Sale is working his way back from shoulder injury and the Red Sox want to ease him back in to the rotation so he is ready to go for the playoffs. Sale will be limited to 2 innings and 40 pitches. After that, it’s a bullpen game.

Sale has been beyond remarkable this season. Through 23 starts, he is 12-4 with a 1.97 ERA, which impressively matches up with his 1.95 FIP. He has done a tremendous job getting strikeouts, leading all starters in baseball with a 13.50 K/9 rate, 3 every 2 innings. Couple that with his as-always very low walk rate and a career low home run rate, and you are looking at one of the favourites for the Cy Young award, at least until his shoulder injury ruined things for him.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Russell Martin is away welcoming his first child into the world today, so he’s not going to be in the lineup in this one. Judging by how things have gone the last couple weeks, he probably wasn’t getting in there anyway.

Yangervis Solarte came off the DL on Sunday and got the start at second. I hope he’s planted onthe bench going forward, but I would imagine he’ll be getting a fair bit of playing time.

Aledmys Diaz is our hottest hitter right now, so it’s tough to imagine he’ll be out of the lineup. He might get a couple starts at SS again now that Solarte is back.

Danny Jansen is my choice for Catcher of the Day.

Red Sox Lineup

If you haven’t heard it already, there is going to be endless chatter over the next few weeks about who the AL MVP is, and the Red Sox boast 2 very solid choices.:

J.D. Martinez hit his 40th home run of the season on Sunday, and sits 1 back of Kris Davis for the lead. He has driven in 121 runs, a 13 point advantage on Davis. Martinez is hitting .331/.402/.636 (172 wRC+), which rank him 2nd/5th/1st (3rd) in all of baseball. He’s close to a Triple Crown, close enough that you’ll hear a lot about it.

Betts, the Major League WAR leader in both Fangraphs’ version (9.1) and Baseball-Reference’s version (9.6), is going to garner a lot of attention from the more analytically based voters. Betts is hitting .342/.433/.633, leading the Majors in batting average and coming in second with a 181 wRC+. What separates him from Mike Trout, who has also played 124 games this season, is that Betts has put up his typical exceptional season fielding in Right Field, while Trout has put up his typical just better than average defense in CF.

Betts and Martinez playing on the same team might end up splitting some votes, which could give the advantage to Jose Ramirez, but he’s also going to have the same problem with teammate Francisco Lindor. It’ll be interesting to watch this race as the season winds down, but not as interesting as the endless media coverage will give it.

Yesterday’s Heroes

In a light slate of games on a Monday night, Gary Sanchez gets our Monster Bat award by going 3-5 with a home run and a double. The Yankees won 7-2, in minor part thanks to Sanchez’ solo home run.

Ji-Man Choi of the Rays did not disappoint in the WPA King race though. Choi hit a 2-out, 2-run home run in the bottom of the 9th to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 win for the Rays over Cleveland. Choi was worth .874 WPA on the night.

German Marquez allowed just 1 earned run (plus an unearned run) over 7 excellent innings to earn the Pitcher of the Day award. He struck out 11 while walking just 1 in the Rockies 13-2 drubbing of the Diamondbacks.

Find the Link

Find the link between Sale and Pedro Martinez.