clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game #9 Preview: Thornton vs Bieber

Blue Jays (3-5) vs Cleveland (3-3)

Toronto Blue Jays v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Blue Jays continue their 4 game series in Cleveland this evening, looking to even the series up after the loss last night. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:10 ET, assuming that the rain doesn’t dampen our plans.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Rookie right hander Trent Thornton makes his second start of his young career for the Jays. He impressed a lot of people in his first one, throwing 5 shutout innings. He surrendered just 2 hits, walked none and struck out an impressive 8 Tigers batters. He did a great job keeping hitters off balance, mixing in his 94 mph fastball with his uber-high spin rate curveball to great success.

Cleveland’s Starter

Cleveland will send 23 year old sophomore right handed Shane Bieber to the mound for his first start and second appearance of the season. Bieber pitched in relief of Carlos Carrasco last Sunday after Carrasco was knocked around pretty heavily by the Twins. Bieber’s outing lasted just 2 innings, where he allowed a run on a couple hits, picking up a pair of strikeouts along the way.

Last season, Bieber had a fairly successful rookie season. He started 19 games, pitching in relief in another one, and threw 114.2 innings, averaging about 6 innings per start. His strikeout numbers (9.26 per 9 innings) and walk numbers (1.81 per 9 innings) were very impressive, but some people argue his repertoire isn’t broad enough, and he left too many hittable fastballs in the zone. So despite walking few, he allowed a lot baserunners, although that came as part of a .356 opponents BABIP, which in turn led to a lot more runs than you’d expect thanks to an above average 1.02 HR/9 rate. All of that adds up to a 4.55 ERA, but a much more impressive 3.23 FIP. He will be an interesting arm to watch in 2019.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Despite not getting a hit until the 9th inning, the Blue Jays reached base an impressive 13 times last night, drawing 8 walks and getting hit twice. I think that was a lot more of a reflection of the struggles that the Cleveland pitchers had in the cold than it was the Blue Jays bats showing rare patience, but a nice bump to the team wide walk percentage at least looks nice, right?

Justin Smoak took the night off yesterday due to neck tightness, although he was available to pinch hit if necessary (source). Whether it was the cold that did him in, or a long plane ride from Toronto to Cleveland, hopefully he’s feeling better soon.

Both newcomers Alen Hanson and Socrates Brito made it into the game last night, with neither of them doing anything noteworthy. Hanson made it on base twice with a hit by pitch and a single, while Brito went 0-4, striking out with the bases loaded and none out in 3rd, and was pinch hit for in the 9th inning by a doubling Teoscar Hernandez. I’m hoping that’s the last time in a while that we see Brito at the top of the lineup, but I feel like that may not be the case.

Cleveland’s Lineup

Hanley Ramirez, aka the only Cleveland batter with a home run thus far this season, will probably be back in the lineup at DH tonight after getting last night off. Otherwise, look for the lineup to be about the same.

Perennial MVP candidate Jose Ramirez is off to a pretty putrid start to his season, collecting just 1 extra base hit and not much else. But this is just a continuation of how he ended last season too. If you stretch his stats back to his last 250 plate appearances, Ramirez is batting a paltry .196/.324/.358, good enough for just an 82 wRC+. Not what you expect from a guy expected to be the heart of your lineup.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Gleyber Torres went 4-4 with 2 home runs, a double and 4 RBI, picking up the Monster Bat award and helping the Yankees to the 8-4 win over Baltimore. One of the home runs was a big 3 run shot in the 6th inning that turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead, and that home run helped propel his .570 WPA on the day, which also earns him the WPA King title.

Stephen Strasburg made it through 6.2 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and a walk while striking out 9. He earns the Pitcher of the Day honour, as his great start helped hold the Mets down as the Nationals won 4-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Bieber and Kennys Vargas

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs