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Game #27 Preview: Anderson vs Sanchez

Athletics (14-14) vs Blue Jays (12-14)

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Game two of the Vladdy Jr. experience goes today, with the Blue Jays playing host to the Athletics in game 2 of 3 of this weekend series. Today’s game gets underway at 3:07 ET, because the Blue Jays still aren’t sure what time they want their Saturday games to be played.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Aaron Sanchez surprisingly heads back out to the mound just six days after being pulled from his start with a split fingernail. So after a successful trip to the manicurist, Sanchez will make his second straight start against the A’s.

Sanchez’s season is off to a good start if you look at the surface numbers, as he sits at a 2-1 record with a 2.77 ERA. But the underlying numbers, specifically the walk rate, show a worrying trend for the young righty. As Tom put it (I’m sure he borrowed it from somewhere else, but I love the phrase anyway), Aaron is not on first name basis with the strike zone. Through 26 innings, he has walked 16 batters, with at least 2 in all 5 of his starts. Unlike last year at least, he has only had 1 start with more walks than strikeouts, and you could maybe blame that on his broken fingernail last week. So in other words, the strikeout consistency is improved, but he’s still struggling a lot with the walks.

Athletics’ Starter

The other half of today’s rematch of last Sunday’s game means that Brett Anderson is back on the mound. Due to being a pitcher with historical ties to the Blue Jays, Anderson was forced to leave Sunday’s game early as well, as that seemed to be a requirement in that series. He left with a mild ankle sprain that he has recovered from enough to make today’s start.

Anderson took his first loss of the season last Sunday, and also saw his ERA climb from 2.63 to 3.04, as he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits before leaving in the 3rd. He gave up a few singles and a walk to Jays in the 3rd before being lifted, so it was a bit of sequencing luck on the Jays’ behalf that hey were able to plate the 2 runs the did off him.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

In that game last Sunday, the Jays had Alen Hanson in RF, because ... Anderson is a lefty and the Jays needed his righty bat? It worked in that he had an RBI single, was the frontman of a double steal, and didn’t make any errors. But on a team with 4 other outfielders, it seemed a little weird. But don’t be surprised to see it again either.

Freddy Galvis has now missed 3 straight starts, as he hasn’t made a start in a game since last Sunday. He’s 2 more missed starts away from extreme wondering why he wasn’t placed on the IL.

I would imagine that Danny Jansen will be catching this one too, as he has caught all of Sanchez’s other starts. Although maybe for that reason they’ll go with Luke Maile today, and try to get Sanchez another interpreter who can maybe open up those lines of communication with the strike zone.

And of course, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a Blue Jay, and is likely starting at 3B again today. He’s entirely worth the price of admission, and hopefully we can see some more excellent at bats out of him again today.

Athletics’ Lineup

Robbie Grossman hasn’t started for the A’s for a few games now, although he did hit that big pinch hit home run last night. I would expect to see him today, as his switch hitting bat represents 1 of 3 guys that would be able to bat left handed against Sanchez, something other teams have set out to do with aplomb.

Nick Hundley caught Anderson last Sunday, but it was the first game that he caught him this season. Every other game was caught by Josh Phegley, and it seems likely to be the case today.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Tyler Flowers went 4-4 yesterday, hitting a pair of homers and a pair of singles to take home the Monster Bat award. He helped carry his Braves to crushing defeat in battle, as the he wasn’t enough in the Rockies 8-4 win.

Marcus Stroman is forced to share his Pitcher of the Day honours with Jared Eickhoff, as both threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just 3 baserunners each. Stroman didn’t earn the win in the Jays’ 4-2 win over the A’s, but Eickhoff did get the win in his Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Marlins.

Tim Anderson hit a walkoff home run, complete with bat flip/spike/whatever you call this:

That walkoff home run was worth .465 WPA, only a portion of Anderson’s .616 WPA King total. He also had a big 7th inning single that helped his cause. Also in that game for Anderson, he went back to 1B to tag up on a deep drive by Jose Abreu that went over the wall. Abreu didn’t notice that Anderson was trying to tag and ran past him, causing Abreu to be out. But that didn’t end up mattering thanks to Anderson’s walkoff, which gave the White Sox the 12-11 win over the Tigers in a very fun and exciting game.

Find the Link

Find the link between Brett Anderson and Huston Street.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs