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Game #61 Preview: Paxton vs Thornton

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Yankees (38-21) vs Blue Jays (22-38)

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

After the win last night, the Blue Jays will endeavour to win back to back games and win a series for the first time in over 5 weeks. Tonight’s game will get underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Rookie Trent Thornton will be making his 13th start of the season. I have been very impressed with what he has brought to this team, and of all the rookies, I would say he has been the most important to the Jays so far in 2019. He’s currently sitting at just a 1-4 record, but his number of good starts is far greater than the number of wins he has. He sports a 4.53 ERA with 4.61 FIP, pretty decent numbers for a mid to backend starter, especially in a year such as this.

Yankees’ Starter

The Yankees will send their new Ace James Paxton to the mound to take on the Jays. The last time the Canadian lefty was in Toronto was May 8 of last season, when he threw a no-hitter. We’ll hope for better fortunes this time around, but forgive me if I don’t feel that confident in this Jays’ squad getting a hit off him.

This will be Paxton’s second start since coming back from the Injured List after missing nearly 4 weeks with knee problems. On the whole, this will be his 9th start of the season, and he’s doing quite well so far. He has a 3-2 record with a 2.81 ERA, and an even more impressive 2.41 FIP. Through his 41.2 innings, he has struck out an amazing 59, walking just 15 and allowing just 3 home runs, which is pretty impressive considering his home ballpark.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Throughout his career, Paxton has had fairly significant reverse splits, as lefties have nearly a 60 point advantage in batting average and nearly 50 points overall in wOBA compared to righties. So even though Paxton is a lefty, I wouldn’t be opposed to or surprised if Eric Sogard, Rowdy Tellez and Cavan Biggio are all in the lineup in this one.

If that is indeed the plan, that would mean Brandon Drury would likely be on the bench once again, as he has only started once in the last 5 games as it is. He could end up in a corner outfield spot while Lourdes Gurriel Jr. gets a day off too.

Yankees’ Lineup

Former Blue Jay and current member of the payroll Kendrys Morales has gotten a lot of the starts for the Yankees since coming over on May 15, although he has been out of the starting lineup for 2 straight days now, but he did draw a pinch hit walk last night. But he’ll likely be back in the starting lineup for tonight’s game, even if he is hitting quite poorly, both on the season and as a Yankee.

Aaron Hicks, who yesterday hit his second home run and first double of the season, will likely sit one day during this series, and it could be tonight. The excellent all around center fielder who signed a nice extension with the Yankees over the winter, started his season on the Injured List with a sore back. He made his season debut on May 15, and until yesterday had just 1 extra base hit in 14 games. He is definitely a bat that the Yankees would love to see get going for them.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Both Jay Bruce and Francisco Lindor had 2 home runs and a double, but that wasn’t enough for either to win the Monster Bat award. Instead, that honour goes to Pedro Severino, who launched 3 home runs in yesterday’s game, and all 3 were necessary as the Orioles eked out the 12-11 win over the host Rangers.

Rookie Austin Riley hit a huge home run in the 7th inning, turning a 5-3 deficit into a 6-3 lead. The Braves would continue to pile on, eventually winning 12-5 over the Pirates, but it all got started with Riley’s big home run. That play was worth .446 WPA, a significant chunk of his WPA King total of .498.

Dodgers’ Ace Hyun-Jin Ryu threw another 7 shutout innings last night, earning the Pitcher of the Day award and lowering his season ERA to 1.35. He has allowed just 2 runs over his last 6 starts, with 5 of those starts being 7 or more shutout innings. It’s safe to say he’s been the most dominant starter this year, especially since the beginning of May. His continuation of dominance helped his Dodgers to the 9-0 win over the Diamondbacks.

Find the Link

Find the link between Paxton and Chris Coghlan.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs