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Game #80 Preview: Richard vs Bullpen

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Blue Jays (29-50) vs Yankees (50-28)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

After somehow making a game out of a blowout last night, the Blue Jays will attempt to make a game out of a Clayton Richard start in game 2 of 3 against the Yankees. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:05 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Clayton Richard makes his 7th start as a Blue Jay, and the first 6 did not go well. He is 0-3 with a 7.46 ERA, and his FIP is a nearly as bad 6.66. Richard has had a devilishly bad time avoiding walks (15 in 25.1 innings) while giving up 5 home runs and striking out just 14. The super low strikeout rate is fairly in line with his career numbers, but the rates of the other two are a pretty much 80% higher than his career rate stats. This is a result of him pitching out of the zone more than ever before in his career, and when he does lay it in the zone, batters are connecting on an absurd 95.4% of their swings. He’s essentially throwing meatballs or very wide ones, and his numbers reflect that.

Richard faced the Yankees back at the beginning of June, and it was probably his second best start of the season. He somehow held them to just 2 runs over 4.2 innings, allowing 3 walks and 4 hits and giving up a home run to Clint Frazier. It was the last time he didn’t have a terrible start, and it’s safe to say that the Yankees team that has since added Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Edwin Encarnacion is going to be lot harder on soft tossing lefties than that lineup was.

Yankees’ Starter Pitchers

The Yankees intend to go with Johnny Allstaff today, a move that they have done a few times already this month since Domingo German went down with a hip injury. Chad Green had been acting as the opener, and he may still get that assignment even after pitching yesterday and throwing 16 pitches. If he does get the opener assignment, then he’s likely to just go 1 inning.

Young lefty Nestor Cortes appears to be the bulk guy who comes in after the opener. Through 7 appearances, he has thrown 22 innings, striking out 23 against 6 walks and 4 home runs. After allowing 6 runs in his first 6 innings, the last 16 have been much nicer to him, allowing a total of 4. So it seems he is really taking to the bulk guy role.

Not expected to contribute out of the bullpen tonight for the Yankees will be Jonathan Holder, who could very well be optioned out of town for a fresh arm. The Jays worked Aroldis Chapman for 25 pitches yesterday, so I’m sure the Yankees would love to not need him today. Luis Cessa threw 50 pitches on Sunday, so he’s probably not going to be in the game either.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Apparently Teoscar Hernandez is still dealing with his wrist issue after running into the wall last week, and he reportedly tweaked it a little bit during a slide over the weekend. He has started just 3 of the team’s 7 games since injuring his wrist, really raising the question of why they didn’t just put him on the Injured List when he first got injured. The IL is only 10 days. Let him get healthy.

As Martin pointed out this morning, the Jays have had 10+ hits now in 5 straight games. In doing so, they have now bumped their wRC+ up to 82 on the season, and have also pumped their OBP to .294, which removes them from the bottom of the MLB pile for 2019, and has all but halted the discussion of them posting the worst team OBP since they lowered the mound. So that’s something.

Yankees’ Lineup

Given the very right handed heaviness of this roster, I would have expected that they were death to lefties. To be fair, they haven’t enjoyed a lineup featuring Encarnacion, Judge and Stanton for very long yet, but so far on the season the team is hitting just .231/.306/.381 (82 wRC+) against lefties on the year. That’s worse than the Blue Jays, and 24 other teams.

One player that isn’t struggling against lefties, and not struggling at all on the season, is Gary Sanchez. In 244 plate appearances on the season, he has 23 home runs and a 145 wRC+. Against lefties, he has 51 plate appearances, hitting 8 home runs with a 156 wRC+. He’s likely the starting catcher for the AL in 2 weeks time.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jean Segura went 4-6 with a home run and a double to win the Monster Bat award. He helped pile on against Mets, as the Phillies won 13-7.

Marco Hernandez got a walkoff single, giving him a .382 WPA on the day and the title of WPA King. His walkoff single gave the Red Sox the 6-5 win over the White Sox.

Jon Gray gets the Pitcher of the Day award, throwing 6 shutout innings with just 4 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 6. The Rockies beat the Giants 2-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Nestor Cortes and Rangel Ravelo.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs