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Game #48 Preview: Rodriguez vs Stroman

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Red Sox (25-22) vs Blue Jays (19-28)

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays continue their 4 game series against the Red Sox tonight, looking to bounce back from yesterday afternoon’s very rough loss. Today’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marcus Stroman gets the ball for the Blue Jays, coming off a pretty good game once again in his last outing. Stroman allowed just 2 runs (1 earned) over 6 strong innings against the White Sox, which was a nice bounceback after allowing 4+ runs in each of his previous 3 starts. He walked just 1 and didn’t allow any home runs while striking out 6, which makes it his best start by FIP this season.

On the season, Stroman is now 1-6 with a 2.95 ERA, with an equally impressive 2.98 FIP. Both his ERA and FIP place him in the top quarter of qualified starters, which is a nice start to the season as he looks to move forward from the 5.54 ERA he put up last year.

Red Sox’ Starter

The Red Sox counter with left hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who is making his 10th start of the season. Rodriguez is 4-2 with 4.89 ERA, although the underlying numbers paint a picture of a much better pitcher. Through 49.2 innings, he has struck out 56 batters against just 16 walks and 4 home runs. That gives him a 2.97 FIP, just ahead of Stroman for 6th best among the 40 qualified AL pitchers.

Rodriguez’ biggest problem so far has been luck and allowing clusters of hits, which has led to a .278 opponents average, the 7th highest mark among those 40 AL pitchers. By Statcast, he’s not allowing many hard hit balls, which coupled with his excellent FIP, should mean that he’s dominating the league. His .238 xBA shows how much better he should be doing, having given up just 6 barrels all season long.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

The talk over the last 24 hours or so has been about how the Jays failed their fans by leaving Vladimir Guerrero Jr. out of their holiday lineup. I think they deserve all the criticism that has been laid out before them, as yesterday’s attendance was the third highest of the season, and the Jays had the opportunity to show their fans a glimpse of the future. What they showed them was no Guerrero, and a bad team getting destroyed by a much better one. Unless something is wrong with him, Guerrero will be back in the lineup tonight, in front of a much smaller crowd.

Eric Sogard, who was a late scratch yesterday with a sore thumb, would probably make sense to sit this one out too, giving him another day off against a lefty and a further chance to heal. Brandon Drury never got a hit yesterday, so Richard Urena is my guess for the one who starts at second base today.

Red Sox’ Lineup

J.D. Martinez is likely to be back in the lineup today, helping bolster an offense that scored 12 runs on 16 hits yesterday.

Christian Vazquez will also likely be back in the lineup in this one, which will give the Red Sox 7 batters in their lineup with a wRC+ greater than 120, a number only one Blue Jay can touch, and he has a sore thumb.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Ronald Acuna Jr. went 3-4 with 2 home runs, a double and a walk yesterday, earning the Monster Bat award. His bat was integral in the Braves 4-1 win over the Giants.

Also in that game, starter Mike Soroka did an excellent job keeping the Giants’ bats in check, allowing just a solo home run to Brandon Crawford in an excellent 8 inning start, giving Soroka the Pitcher of the Day award. The only other two instances of Giants players getting on base were an error by Josh Donaldson leading off the 7th to allow Steve Duggar to get to first, and a single by Crawford that was quickly erased on a double play that was the last pitch of Soroka’s night.

J.T. Realmuto chipped in a pair of big hits for his team, giving him the WPA King title. He had a big game tying single in the 5th inning, setting up his go ahead home run in the 10th inning which would ultimately give his Phillies the 5-4 win over the Cubs. Realmuto’s WPA on the day was a very impressive .553.

Find the Link

Find the link between Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs