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Game #75 Preview: Suarez vs Richard

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Angels (38-37) vs Blue Jays (26-48)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will once again be playing today looking to avoid a sweep. This time it is against the Angels, and they’re also trying to avoid the 7 game season series sweep. Today’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET, and if you’re going to the ballpark, you get a free bag*.

*Free bag for the first 15,000 guests, so unless you don’t show up until the 3rd inning, you’re probably good.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Left hander Clayton Richard will head to the mound, making his 6th start as a Blue Jay. The first 5 have been bad, with the pain of his starts only being lessened because Edwin Jackson was also pitching on the same team. Richard is currently 0-3 with a 7.52 ERA over 20.1 innings. He has allowed more runs (17) and walks (13) than strikeouts (12), and just as many extra base hits (7 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs). He has flat out been terrible, especially over his last 2 starts, where he has allowed 12 runs over 7.1 innings.

Angels’ Starter

The Angels will send rookie left hander Jose Suarez to the mound. The 21 year old will be making his 4th career start, looking to improve on his 2-1 record and 4.50 ERA. All 3 of Suarez’ starts had very similar results, as 2 of them he allowed 3 runs in 5.2 innings, and the other he allowed 2 in 4.2 innings, surrendering a home run in each start. He has 6 walks and 13 strikeouts over 16 innings, and has reduced his walk total each start from 3 to 2 to 1.

Suarez started the season as one of the Angels’ top prospects, with the highest praise coming from Fangraphs. They ranked him as the Angels’ 3rd best prospect, and were the only ones to have him in their top 100, coming in at #89. They give him a 50 grade fastball, but are more optimistic about the future of his curveball (55 FV) and changeup (60 FV), all with pretty decent command. If he can actually become that pitcher, Suarez will be a solid piece in the Angels’ rotation, something they have missed for a while.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Even with the 2 home runs yesterday, Rowdy Tellez’ wRC+ is at a very rough 83. He is at least currently back on the rise after he suffered through a 4-39 stretch that ended once he missed a few days from June 9-11, although still not to the level you’d hope for out of your starting 1B/DH. A week ago I was ready to send him to the Minors for a bit. Now with Smoak down and the big game yesterday, I still think he’d probably benefit from a bit of a reset, but I can definitely understand him being left to work through his struggles in the Majors. And who knows, maybe that will have a much better result for him in the long run.

Eric Sogard continues to amaze me, once again getting multiple hits at the top of the order. That was his 9th multi-hit game in 13 starts this June, and I’m hoping it is impressive MLB executives as much as it is me.

As for the outfield, I have convinced myself that Brandon Drury is not an outfielder. He’s days on the Major League roster are probably numbered.

Angels’ Lineup

Mike Trout had the biggest RBI game of his career last night, driving in 7 runs which tops his previous high of 5, which he had reached 7 other times, most recently last September against the White Sox. The 3 previous were in 2015, the year he lost out to Josh Donaldson for MVP, and the previous 3 before those were in 2011, 2012 and 2013, all against the Mariners.

Albert Pujols had the day off yesterday, but I would imagine he’ll be back out there today. He currently sits 1 run away from 1800 for his career, looking to become the 19th player to reach that milestone.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Seven different players hit 2 home runs yesterday, however only Chris Taylor and Brian Dozier added another extra base hit. But Dozier did it in a double header and 7 PA, so we’ll give Chris Taylor the Monster Bat award. He went 3-4 with the 2 homers and a double, driving in 4 runs in the Dodgers’ 9-2 win over the Giants.

Franmil Reyes had a big 3 run home run in the bottom of the 7th inning, giving his Padres the 8-7 lead which was their final score against the Brewers. The home run was worth .429 WPA, a good portion of his WPA King total of .492.

Max Scherzer proved yesterday that you don’t need your face to pitch, as a day after fouling a ball off his face in batting practice, he threw 7 shutout innings with a black eye and broken nose to earn the Pitcher of the Day award. He allowed 4 hits and 2 walks while striking 10 Phillies en route to the win in the Nationals 2-0 victory.

Find the Link

Find the link between Suarez and teammate Luis Rengifo.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs