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Game #60 Preview: Tanaka vs Richard

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Yankees (38-20) vs Blue Jays (21-38)

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

After a miserable and pathetic road trip, the Blue Jays return home to host the Yankees, the first time these teams will meet in 2019. Yes, the date is June 4, and the Blue Jays will finally be playing the New York Yankees. What a messed up schedule. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET, and if you’re going to the game, bring some extra loonies and eat a bunch of cheap “hotdogs”.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays will send Clayton Richard to the mound for the 3rd time this season, and his first two trips have gone not horribly. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks over 4 innings his first time out against the Red Sox. His last time out in Tampa, he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks over his 4 innings. Somehow only managing to allow 3 runs in those 8 innings feels like a miracle, but he did induce some weak contact, so that definitely helped. If he can continue his smoke and mirrors act up against the Yankees too, I’ll be impressed.

Yankees Starter

The Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka, making his 13th start of the season. Through the first 12, Tanaka is 3-4 with a 3.20 ERA, although his FIP is over half a run higher at 3.72, which is very near his 3.79 career mark. Tanaka has always been excellent at limiting walks, checking in at a career mark of just 1.78 per 9 innings, although this year it is up to a career high 2.18. Still a lot better than the majority of professional baseball players.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Rowdy Tellez, assuming he’s healthy, will be back in the DH spot now that we’re back in an AL park.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who saw his hit streak come to an end over the weekend, will likely be back to starting in LF.

Eric Sogard hasnt’ played much recently, instead seeing his starts at second base go to Cavan Biggio. Look for this trend to continue, with the exception of the odd game that Biggio heads to the outfield.

Yankees’ Lineup

Their Injured List is more impressive than their actual lineup, as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Troy Tulowitzki and Miguel Andjuar have spent a large portion of the season of the season out of action.

So how does a team missing several stars get off to a 38-20 start? The pitching has certainly helped, as they’ve allowed the 5th fewest runs in all of baseball, and their bullpen has been a key part of that. Playing the Orioles 12 times has also helped. As has the completely random contribution from Giovanny Urshela, who is hitting .329/.377/.466 over 162 plate appearances.

The youth movement has been stepping up a bit too, as Gleyber Torres (125 wRC+), Gary Sanchez (156 wRC+) and Clint Frazier (116 wRC+) are all having excellent seasons so far, especially Sanchez. Nobody in baseball is barreling the ball more frequently than Sanchez, who also sits in the top 10 of most batted ball metrics.

Yesterday’s Heroes

It was an extremely light schedule yesterday due to the draft, as only 4 games were on the docket.

With only 19 extra base hits in total yesterday, I’ll give Javier Baez the Monster Bat, as he was the only one with two - a home run and a double. His Monster Bat award winning output helped his Cubs take down the visiting Angels 8-1.

Both Wade LeBlanc and Walker Buehler made it through 8 innings while allowing just a single run, so Pitcher of the Day is a bit of a tough call. I’ll give it to LeBlanc though, as he didn’t allow a home run like Buehler did, and he was facing a stronger offensive team in the Astros. However, LeBlanc did his work after the Opener Cory Gearing was knocked around for 3 runs, so LeBlanc’s amazing 8 innings wasn’t enough as the Astros beat the Mariners 4-2.

Buehler can take home the WPA King title though. His 8 solid innings were done in a tight game with his team in the lead, which resulted in .417 WPA in the Dodgers 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

Find the Link

Find the link between Tanaka and Aaron Sanchez.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs