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Game #13 Preview: Sanchez vs Eovaldi

Blue Jays (4-8) vs Red Sox (3-9)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

After a brief delay, the Blue Jays resume their short 2 game series in Boston tonight, as the Jays look to take the mini-sweep over the Red Sox. This evening’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The impressive Aaron Sanchez gets the ball for Toronto tonight. After an excellent Spring Training, Sanchez has carried that success over to his first 2 starts of the Regular Season. Through 11 innings, Sanchez has allowed just 2 runs on 8 hits, striking out 11. He has walked a somewhat worrying 5 in his 11 innings, and as he moves forward, it will be worth monitoring. In 2016 when he won the ERA title, he was able to limit his walks to 2.95 per 9 innings, but it hasn’t been anywhere close to that in any other instance for him as a starter.

Red Sox’ Starter

Playoff hero Nathan Eovaldi goes for the Red Sox, making his 3rd start of the season. The hard throwing righty has struggled in the early going, allowing 9 runs on 12 hits in his 10 innings of work. A lot of the damage came on the 4 home runs he has allowed, although he’s not helping himself with the 6 walks and just 6 strikeouts he has gotten either. He’s another starter than I’m sure the Red Sox are worrying about, although at least his velocity is sitting at least somewhat close to what he was last year.

The $68 million commitment the Red Sox gave Eovaldi was always going to be a risk. It was no doubt based on the promise that he gave last year, both in the Regular Season and Post Season, as opposed to the results he had achieved prior to 2018. Before missing all of 2017 with Tommy John Surgery, Eovaldi was probably best classified as a bit of a disappointment. He threw tremendous heat (averaging 96-97 as a starter) but never being able to strike anyone out (6.56 per 9 innings). He got by by limiting walks (2.91 per 9 innings) and home runs (0.80 per 9 innings), giving him a fairly nice 3.85 FIP, but he couldn’t meet that as he ran a 4.21 ERA over his 739 innings.

Last year’s 6-7 mark with a 3.81 ERA was a bit of an improvement, as he set a career high in strikeout rate (8.19 per 9 innings) and a career low in walk rate (1.62 per 9 innings) in a season split between Tampa and Boston. Time will tell if the Red Sox overpaid for their playoff hero, but the very early returns aren’t looking good, although that could just be a case of everyone on the mound for Boston is struggling in the early going.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I really haven’t gotten a grasp on how I think Charlie Montoyo will deploy his players just yet. Just looking at previous playing time over the last few days, I would guess that Socrates Brito and Rowdy Tellez will get the start, but as for who is on the bench, I don’t have a clue.

Danny Jansen has caught Aaron Sanchez the first two times, and probably will again today, even if Luke Maile’s neck is better.

Hopefully Justin Smoak is over his own neck problems, as the off days this week hopefully helped him take it easy and let his neck heal.

Red Sox’ Lineup

With another righty on the mound for the Jays, World Series MVP and old friend Steve Pearce will likely remain on the bench in this one.

Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart have been fairly evenly sharing the catching duties this year, so although Vazquez has historically been the one to get a lot more opportunities, there may be a back and forth starting cycle going, which would mean that Swihart gets the start today.

Regardless of who is in there, I’m sure everyone in Boston is wondering when they’re going to start hitting, as they have put just a .237/.305/.385 (83 wRC+) line. When coupled with their starting pitching, it’s easy to see why they’re sitting at just 3-9 in the early going. But this is pretty much the same offense that last year put up a 110 wRC+, so I think the odds are in their favour of rebounding.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Khris Davis launched a pair of home runs while also ripping a single and driving in 4 runs last night, earning the Monster Bat award. He helped his Athletics to the win, a 10-3 beat down of the Orioles.

Tyler Glasnow of the Rays gets the Pitcher of the Day award, as he went 6 shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits and a walk, while also striking out 11. He was helped out a lot by his offense as well, and was able to pick up the win in the 9-1 victory over the hometown White Sox.

Mitch Haniger was the key player in the Mariners league leading 12th victory last night (although they got a head start) as he launched a tie-breaking 2-out solo home run in the top of the 9th, which held up to be difference in the 6-5 win over the Royals. That home run was worth .408 of Haniger’s WPA King total of .418 on the night.

Find the Link

Find the link between Eovaldi and Adam Wainwright.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs