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Game #59 Preview: Sanchez vs Senzatela

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Blue Jays (21-37) vs Rockies (30-27)

Toronto Blue Jays v Colorado Rockies Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Blue Jays will fight to avoid the 3-game sweep at the hands of the Rockies this afternoon. Today’s game gets underway at 3:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Aaron Sanchez heads to the mound looking to right the ship the Jays are on. Sanchez came out of the game his last time out after 3 innings, due to a reported nail avulsion on the middle finger of his throwing hand. That was the second time in 3 starts that he left a start after 3 innings due to finger problems, a forever lingering issue that has been with Sanchez longer than Nate Pearson has been in the Jays’ system.

For what it’s worth, Sanchez has pitched better his last few starts, despite the finger problems. Through 12 innings, he has allowed 5 runs (3.75 ERA) on 13 hits, striking out 10 and walking 6. While walking 6 in 12 innings may seem not so good, it’s a better than his season average, which aside from the finger issues, has been Sanchez’ biggest problem of 2019, and really his entire career.

Rockies’ Starter

The Rockies will send 24 year old right hander Antonio Senzatela to the mound to try and earn the sweep. Senzatela is off to a bad start to his season, currently sitting at a 3-4 record with with a 5.81 ERA. His FIP is an equally bad 5.75, which he has earned by being bad at the 3 key components of FIP: his strikeout rate is 5.44 per 9 innings, the 3rd worst of the 127 pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched; his walk rate is better at 3.75, but still worse than average and ranks 27th in that same grouping of pitchers; and his home run rate is 1.69 per 9 innings, a similar situation as his walk rate in that it’s higher than league average, 28th worst overall. All of this is why he’s currently sitting on the 11th worst FIP of the 127 pitchers, although none of this probably matters against an anemic Jays’ offense.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Jonathan Davis has now started 5 straight games in CF, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out there again patrolling the massive outfield at Coors Field. He has even hit a little bit over those games, currently sitting at a 99 wRC+ over those 5 games, although that’s really buoyed by hitting his first career home run back in the opener against the Rays.

Justin Smoak is reportedly supposed to be starting at 1B again, which was originally by design but now necessitated due to Rowdy Tellez hurting himself a little bit on Friday (although he did pinch hit last night). Today is the last day the Jays have to go without the DH spot until August 20 when they visit the Dodgers, and I’m sure the team will look quite different by then.

Rockies’ Lineup

We got to see Brendan Rodgers in last night’s game, although he went 0-3 and continues to struggle kicking off his Major League career. He didn’t strike out yesterday though, just the second time in his short career (9 starts) that he didn’t strike out, so that’s a good sign. His K rate through is first 40 PA is now down to 30%.

While the biggest threats in the Rockies’ lineup are obviously Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, David Dahl is perhaps the most overlooked one. He gave Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles fits yesterday, going 3-4 with a double. He’s up to a 121 wRC+ on the season, and his career mark after 701 plate appearances is 114. His biggest problem has been staying on the field though, as it has taken over 2 seasons to reach a season’s worth of plate appearances.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Edwin Encarnacion launched a pair of home runs and drove in all 3 of the Mariners runs to earn the Monster Bat award. Unfortunately for him, the Angels scored 6.

Christian Yelich topped the WPA charts last night, one of three Brewers in the top 4 for the day. Yelich had a big 6th inning home run, and also contributed another big hit and walk, for a total WPA of .574 and the title of WPA King. Teammates Orlando Arcia (.431 WPA) and Keston Hiura (.416 WPA) also helped carry the Brewers to the 12-10 13 inning win over the Pirates.

Justin Verlander made it through 8 excellent innings, allowing just a run on 4 hits and a pair of walks, striking out 8 along the way to win the Pitcher of the Day award. His excellent pitching helped his Astros take down the division rival Athletics 5-1.

Find the Link

Find the link between Senzatela and Zach Plesac, who seems to be showing up as the top hit at Fangraphs, and really should be on the Blue Jays given all the trades the Jays have done with Cleveland the last few years, given who his uncle is.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs