This is it. We have reached the end. This is the last time we’ll see John Gibbons in a Blue Jays’ uniform (if we even see him at all with Russell Martin managing). This is the last time we’ll see several players in Blue Jays uniform - guys like Tyler Clippard, Marco Estrada, Yangervis Solarte are pretty close to guarantees this will happen, but there are many other trade candidates too.
This is also the last time we will see the Blue Jays play in Tropicana Field for 8 months. It is the last time we will see an opponent use an official “opener” for a while. It’s the last time we’ll have to listen to Buck and Pat drive us nuts until at least Spring Training.
Anyway, we’ve got a ballgame to preview. As has become tradition, every single baseball game gets underway between 3:05 and 3:20 ET today, with the Jays-Rays matchup getting the 3:10 ET timeslot.
Blue Jays’ Starter
In what was thought to be Marco Estrada’s last kick at the can, he has been shut down after receiving an injection in his back to hopefully help his back problems. So instead of a sendoff to Marco, we get to watch Sam Gaviglio make the start.
Gaviglio has probably been the best emergency waiver wire starting pitcher pickup in the history of the Jays. He is 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA over 23 starts, certainly not numbers that anyone would be overly happy with. But given the turnover and bumps all over the rotation road this summer, he was a nice addition. I am hoping that his season next year involves him spending a lot of time in the bullpen as the long man, as the Jays are likely to have a pretty young rotation and a long man could be pretty useful. If he’s slated to start the year in the rotation though, I’m not sure I’d consider that a good thing.
We are privileged to end the 2018 season with the Rays rolling out an opener for us. Ryne Stanek is making his 29th “start” of the season, and 6th against the Blue Jays. He has also had 3 regular relief appearances against the Jays, and only once have the Jays had any luck at the plate against him. In his last opening act against the Jays last weekend, the Jays touched him up for 2 runs on 3 hits, thanks to a second inning home run from Rowdy Tellez. Outside of that inning, the Jays have 2 hits and a walk in 8 innings against Stanek.
Following Stanek are likely to be Ryan Yarbrough and/or Jalen Beeks. Yarbrough has faced the Jays 3 times this season, having a couple dominant outings, and struggling a bit in the other. In total, he has allowed 4 runs on 9 hits over 13 innings, striking out 9 and walking 1. He allowed a home run to Teoscar Hernandez on June 11, driving in 2 of the runs.
Beeks has faced the Jays twice this year, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits over 5.2 innings, striking out 6 and walking 1. The runs were scored on solo shots by Randal Grichuk and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
It’ll be interesting to see how manager Russell Martin lines things up today. I have no guesses for what he’ll do, but I hope he lets the rookies play.
I would love to see an all rookies team out there, at least as much as possible (too bad Gurriel got hurt). Reese McGuire behind the plate while Danny Jansen is DH. Rowdy Tellez at 1B, Jon Berti at 2B, Richard Ureña at SS, I guess Aledmys Diaz at 3B, and then Anthony Alford, Jonathan Davis and Billy McKinney across the outfield. Dwight Smith Jr. could fit in there somewhere too.
The Rays will finish the season with a wRC+ somewhere around 105. That is the best mark of a non-playoff team in the Majors, so good for them I suppose. However, considering they will also likely finish the season with the most wins out of non-playoff teams, it seems fitting. And I’m sure they take no solace in either feat, outside of the fact that they did all of this in the year they traded away key players like Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza. It was an impressive year in Tampa Bay all things considered. I personally would have rather seen them make it over either of the other 2 AL East teams that did make it.
The likely NL MVP winner put up a huge game yesterday, as Christian Yelich went 2-3 with a pair of home runs and 3 RBI to win the Monster Bat award. The 2 home runs pulled him into a tie for first in the NL. The 3 RBI bring him 2 short of Javy Baez for first in the NL. And he has already wrapped up the batting title. In other words, a big day today could net him a Triple Crown. Also, his big day yesterday helped his Brewers to the 6-5 win, and are in a tie with the Cubs for the NL Central title. I’m sure everyone is hoping for a big day from Yelich today too.
Miles Mikolas threw 8 innings yesterday, allowing just an unearned run, and it was enough for his Cardinals to hang on to the 2-1 win over the Cubs (making Yelich and his Brewers happy too). Since it was a close game, not only does Mikolas get the Pitcher of the Day award, but he racked up .520 WPA, more than enough for WPA King.
Find the Link
Find the link between Stanek and Hansel Rodriguez.