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Game #141 Preview: Carrasco vs Estrada

Cleveland (80-60) vs Blue Jays (63-77)

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

After last night’s loss, the Blue Jays head back to work tonight for game 2 of 4 against Cleveland. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marco Estrada makes his team leading 25th start. If any positive can be gleaned from Marco’s season, it’s that, despite health problems this year, he has still been able to make the majority of his scheduled starts. Whether that’s actually a positive thing, when he is 7-11 with a 5.43 ERA, is up to the eye of the beholder I suppose.

Estrada is coming off a pair of exceptionally bad starts. Against Philadelphia and Miami, he went a combined 6.1 innings, allowing 11 runs on 15 hits. He was wild, walking 7 against 3 strikeouts, and he was homer-prone, allowing 4 over those 6.1 innings. It really makes you wonder how much pain he is in when those are the results he is getting.

Cleveland Starter

Carlos Carrasco, having yet another fantastic season, heads to the mound for game 2. Through his first 26 starts and a relief appearance, Carrasco is 16-8 with a 3.52 ERA. He is striking out batters at a near career high rate, 10.45 per 9 innings, while walking them at a career low rate, 1.84 per 9 innings. This has helped him to a 3.09 FIP over 161 innings of work, a mark that places him in the top 10 among the 71 qualified pitchers in baseball.

The Blue Jays faced Carrasco back at the beginning of May, and hit him around pretty solidly. The Jays managed 6 runs on 9 hits, drawing 3 walks over 5.1 innings. Russell Martin touched him up for a home run in the second inning. If you remember, this was probably one of the most exciting games of the season, as the Jays eventually won 13-11 on a Yangervis Solarte 2 out grand slam in the top of the 11th inning.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Rowdy Tellez, after collecting 3 more doubles yesterday, has earned a lot more starts for the final month of the season.

Dwight Smith Jr. hasn’t made it into the starting lineup on this most recent call-up, so he might be in the lineup today.

With 4 catchers now on the active roster, it will be interesting to see how they divvy out playing time. Russell Martin hasn’t started a game behind the plate since August 29.

Cleveland Lineup

Despite not really playing for anything in September - too far ahead of the Twins to worry about their Division title, too far back of the Red Sox and Astros to even think about getting home field advantage - Cleveland seems intent on keeping their rookies on the bench.

Jason Kipnis, facing the threat of losing his starting spot with Josh Donaldson now aboard, has a 137 wRC+ in 6 September games thus far. Cleveland’s plan is to have Kipnis get a lot of starts in the outfield if and when they can get Donaldson healthy, so I’m sure they’re happy to see Kipnis’ left handed bat heating up anyway.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Francisco Lindor, who went 4-5 with a pair of homers in Cleveland’s 9-4 win over the Jays last night, is our Monster Bat award winner. He has now tied his career high in homers at 33, a number he also reached last season.

There were only 4 games in all of baseball yesterday, so I expected the WPA King to be some guy who hit a go ahead single in the 4th inning or something boring like that. But alas, no! Paul Goldschmidt hit a big game tying solo home run in the bottom of the 9th, ultimately forcing extras. However, the Braves were able rally in the top half of the 10th, beating the Diamondbacks 7-6.

Pitcher of the Day is where the shortage of games makes our pick unimpressive. We’ll go with Stephen Strasburg, who allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, 3 walks and a bean ball over 5.2 innings. The Nationals ended up losing in 10 innings to the Cubs, by a final score of 6-4.

(I feel like I should mention that San Diego beat Cincinnati 6-2 yesterday, because that was the only unmentioned game - Francisco Mejia launched his first and second career homers in that game)

Find the Link

Find the link between Carrasco and Justin Smoak.