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Game #147 Preview: Estrada vs Tanaka

Blue Jays (65-81) vs Yankees (90-56)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

After a rather forgettable series in Boston, the Blue Jays head to New York for hopefully some better fortunes in a 3 game weekend set. Game 1 gets underway tonight at 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada heads to the mound in the opener, looking to build off his last very solid outing. Against Cleveland his last go around, Estrada held them to 2 runs over 6 innings. He was doing a great job confusing hitters with his changeup, inducing a lot of cans of corn out into the outfield. It was a wonderful start to watch for a pitcher that had been struggling recently, and questions about the health of his back had been popping up constantly.

That was game was Estrada’s first quality start since his gem in Seattle to start August. His struggles have been far too frequent this year, and has led to a very poor season on the whole. Through 25 starts, Estrada is 7-11 with a 5.32 ERA, while he is striking out a lot fewer than his career average and walking a lot more. But the biggest culprit this year has undoubtedly been the home runs, where he has allowed 1.80 per 9 innings, a rate of 1 per 5 innings. That ranks as the 3rd worst in baseball among pitchers with as many innings as he hass, behind Dylan Bundy and Bartolo Colon.

Yankees’ Starter

The Yankees counter with Masahiro Tanaka, the emerging favourite to start the Wild Card Game for New York. On the season, Tanaka is 11-5 with a 3.61 ERA, but he has really turned it on in the second half of the season. Over 9 starts since the All Start Break, Tanaka has a 2.30 ERA in 58.2 innings. He has struck out 61 batters over that span while walking just 10 and surrendering only 5 home runs.

The Blue Jays have only faced Tanaka once this season, all the way back in game 2 on March 30. Tanaka dominated the Jays’ bats in that one, allowing 1 run on 3 hits over 6 innings. He struck out 8 while walking none, as the Jays got their lone run on a 2nd inning home run by Randal Grichuk.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I hope we are done seeing Yangervis Solarte in the starting lineup. I don’t think I have ever seen a second baseman look so out of place in a game before, but there he was last night. He was an exciting player to start the year, but that excitement has waned and I think we are ready to move on.

On a happier note, Gurriel absolutely launched a home run last night that was awesome to see. He also appears to be, as Dan mentioned in the broadcast last night, the only constant in the lineup for the Jays, as everyone gets subbed in and out up and down the lineup. He is the only one who has started every game in the last week, and I would imagine he will continue to draw pretty much all of the reps at SS for the coming weeks.

Yankees’ Lineup

Aaron Judge went down with a chip fracture in his wrist on July 26. Since that game, the Yankees as a whole have hit just .235/.319/.416, exactly on a 100 wRC+. That is a far cry from the numbers that they were at when Judge went down, when they hit .254/.331/.458, good enough for a Major League leading 113 wRC+.

In an attempt to cover for the loss of Judge, the Yankees brought over Andrew McCutchen from the Giants for the remainder of the season. Through his first 47 PA, Cutch is hitting just .152/.383/.333, drawing a tremendous number of walks but not providing the impact the Yankees were hoping for.

There was a time this season that the Yankees were expected to break the single season home record as a team. Their pace has slowed a bit, but they’re still at 234 through 146 games. That pace will bring them to 259, 5 short of the 1997 Seattle Mariners for the record.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Javy Baez went 3-4 with a home run, double and also drew a walk to earn the Monster Bat award yesterday afternoon. He hit the go ahead RBI single in the top of the 10th as the Cubs beat the Nationals 4-3 in 10.

With their win probability down to 4.4% in game 1 of their double header against the Marlins, Michael Conforto launched a solo shot in the bottom of the 9th to tie it up before Todd Frazier ended it by going back to back with Conforto. But it was his go ahead 2 run double in game 2 that gives him the leg up over Frazier, as Conforto’s WPA King total on the day was .741 and the Mets swept the double header over the Marlins 4-3 and 5-2.

Mike Leake of the Mariners allowed 1 run on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 5 to earn the Pitcher of the Day honours. He helped his Mariners beat the Angels 8-2.

Find the Link

Find the link between Tanaka and Andruw Jones.