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Game #62 Preview: Happ vs Jackson

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Yankees (38-22) vs Blue Jays (23-38)

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

The Blue Jays, who entered the series losers of 10 straight series, will try to sweep the Yankees this evening, a team who entered the series winners of 9 straight series. It’s a weird baseball world, but here we are, and I am hoping the Jays can pull off the sweep. They take their crack at it starting tonight at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

As it stands right now, the Blue Jays will send Edwin Jackson to the mound, although I would be quite alright if the by gametime the Jackson (and Derek Law) are no longer members of this pitching staff. Through 4 starts, Jackson is 0-3 with a 13.22 ERA, as well as a much-better-but-still-awful 7.93 FIP. He has flat out pitched terribly. In 16.1 innings, he has 12 strikeouts, surrendering 6 walks and 6 home runs. He has given up a total of 30 hits, nearly 2 per inning. There is no silver lining in his numbers so far - he has pitched abysmally, and he should not be making any more starts for the Blue Jays.

Yankees’ Starter

The Yankees will send out former Jay J.A. Happ, the recipient of a shiny new 2 year, $34 million contract signed over the winter. Happ’s season isn’t off to the start anyone was anticipating, as he’s currently sitting at a 5-3 record with a 4.83 ERA through 12 starts and 63.1 innings. His FIP is currently at a career high 5.35, thanks to a ridiculously high HR rate, likely at least in part due to his new home. Happ has allowed 15 home runs already, a rate of 2.13 per 9 innings, which coupled with his reduced strikeout rate that is back down to his pre-Pirates days, and it’s beginning to look like the Yankees may have overpaid the 36 year old lefty.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Teoscar Hernandez had one of the best games of his career last night. He ripped a pair of pretty big doubles, stole a base and more importantly played very solid defense in his new home, centre field. He’ll be back in the lineup there again tonight, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him batting 4th between Justin Smoak and Rowdy Tellez.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. really stole the show last night, launching his huge 3-run home run in the 8th inning. It will be so much fun watching him continue to get big hits for the next 7 seasons (and hopefully beyond).

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drew 2 walks in the leadoff spot last night, the second time this season he has drawn 2 walks in a game, which is really impressive for someone with just 6 walks all year. I would expect to see him back atop the lineup again tonight.

Yankees’ Lineup

D.J. LeMahieu has been quite a find for the Yankees. The former NL batting champ has seemingly re-found the stroke from 2015 that won him that award, and gave him his only other season with an above average batting line. When Didi Gregorius returns to the team tomorrow, it will be interesting to see how they keep getting LeMahieu at bats with the way that he, Gleyber Torres and Giovanny Urshela are playing so far. All three of them have a 120 wRC+ and have been playing fairly strong defense, but Gregorius has the track record and will be in the lineup most nights. I’m guessing Urshela will see the largest reduction in playing time.

Aaron Hicks was out of the lineup last night, although he did come in as a late game defensive replacement. He’ll likely be back in the lineup tonight. Perhaps today is the day that Brett Gardner gets to sit.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Randal Grichuk was the only one in the Majors with 2 home runs yesterday, and nobody had more extra base hits than his 2, so Grichuk gets to go home with the Monster Bat trophy.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. topped the WPA charts last night, helped along not only by his massive 3 run home run, but the defensive miscues of the Yankees gave him a little boost too. His WPA King total was .783 in the Jays 11-7 win.

Trent Thornton wasn’t good enough last night for the Jays to sweep these awards. Both Jason Vargas and Chris Sale threw complete game shutouts, one against the Giants and one against the Royals. Vargas struck out 8, walked 1 and surrendered 5 hits, while Sale struck out 12, walked none and allowed just 3 hits. The Royals are also less of crappy team, and also employ a designated hitter, so I’ll give the Pitcher of the Day honours to Chris Sale in his Red Sox’ 8-0 win over the Royals.

Find the Link

Find the link between Happ and Blake Beavan.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs