After a fun day in Toronto sports (the Jays won - no other reason), the Jays will look to make it 2 in a row against the Athletics and 3 overall, while also winning their second consecutive series. Today’s game gets underway at 4:07 ET.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Offseason prized pickup Matt Shoemaker heads to the mound for the 5th time in Blue Jays’ blue. The veteran righty has been fantastic to start the season, currently sitting at 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA, averaging over 6 innings per start. In his 25.2 innings, Shoemaker has allowed just 13 hits and 9 walks, while striking out 23.
As a former resident of the AL West, Shoemaker has faced the Athletics a decent amount in his career, although the members of the current A’s weren’t around a bunch while Shoemaker was still with the Angels. Still, he has a bit of a history against guys like Khris Davis, who has hit .400/.500/.933 with a pair of doubles and home runs in 18 PA. Marcus Semien hasn’t had as much luck, but still doing fairly well with a career line of .217/.333/.435 off Shoemaker in 27 career plate appearances.
The A’s are going with a veteran righty of their own, sending 33 year old Mike Fiers to the mound. Fiers, who came to the A’s in a mid-season trade last year, was non-tendered and then stuck around on a two year Free Agent contract.
Fiers’ 2019 is not off to a good start. Through 5 starts, he has thrown just 21.1 innings, and while he has managed a 2-1 record, he carries a 7.06 ERA. He has gotten to that point by pitching 2 gems this year (6 shutout innings against the Red Sox and Angels) and having a trio of brutal starts, where he has allowed a combined 17 runs in 9.1 innings. So there’s a chance that he’s dominant (like most starters against the Jays, at least until recently) or the Jays can knock him around like the Mariners, Astros and Rangers did.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
I feel pretty confident in making this claim without even looking it up - for the first time this season, the Blue Jays got a hit and an RBI from each of the last 3 hitters in the lineup. If we can continue to get any semblance of offensive output from the bottom half of the lineup, we might be able to boost our overall wRC+ up over the 80 mark before the weekend is over. We’re up to 77, after sitting as low as 63 just over a week ago.
Luke Maile will do the catching today with Shoemaker on the hill, giving Danny Jansen the day off.
I’m hoping Rowdy Tellez is back in the lineup, and can get back to hitting the ball hard again. He’s going through a bit of a slump at the moment, and may see his bus ticket to Buffalo punched pretty soon if he continues to struggle and isn’t getting regular reps.
Marcus Stroman held Khris Davis to an 0-4 yesterday, which brought the AL Home Run leader’s batting average down to .247, the mark that he has finished every season at since 2015. All is right in the world.
Look for the A’s to run out a very similar lineup as they did last night, as the Jays only have right handed starting pitchers, so we don’t see other halves of platoons. The likeliest change that I foresee is Nick Hundley coming in to catch instead of Josh Phegley.
Bryce Harper went 5-7, hitting 3 singles and a pair of doubles to earn the Monster Bat award. It’s a pretty unimpressive win, as players across the league were taking it easy or something. The fun thing about Harper’s 7 PA day is that he got to 7 PA in a 12 inning game, even though the final score was just 4-3 for the Rockies over Harper’s Phillies. The Phillies had 17 hits and 6 walks, yet managed to score just 3 runs over 12 innings. They went a combined 1-16 with runners in scoring position.
The Rockies were able to pull off that 4-3 win thanks to Charlie Blackmon. After the Nationals scored a run in the top of the 12th, the Rockies got a runner on, and Blackmon hit a 2-out, 2-run walkoff home run to win it. That home run was worth .882 WPA, bringing Blackmon’s total for the day up to .778 and giving Blackmon the WPA King title over Harper’s second place .618.
Marcus Stroman was great last night, but Matt Strahm was just a little bit better. Strahm also completed 8 innings of 1 run ball, but he did it with just 2 hits and no walks to get the Pitcher of Day award, just ahead of Stroman and Kyle Hendricks, who became the 3rd straight Cub pitcher to throw 7 shutout innings. Strahm’s great start wasn’t enough though, as the Reds beat his Padres 3-2 in 11 innings.
Find the Link
Find the link between Fiers and teammate Robbie Grossman.