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Game #63 Preview: Kelly vs Stroman

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Diamondbacks (31-32) vs Blue Jays (23-39)

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

The Blue Jays will look to get back into the win column tonight as they host seldom opponent the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tonight’s game gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Marcus Stroman makes his 14th start of the season, looking to build on his 3-7 record and maybe more importantly look to continue to build up that trade value or extension value. Through his first 76.0 innings, Stroman has a 2.84 ERA, a fair bit better than his 3.48 FIP. He is coming off a tough outing in Colorado last weekend, where he fought through 7 innings, but allowed 4 runs (3 earned). He only struck out 2 batters, but did well relying on his defense and not creating problems for himself, as he didn’t allow any walks or home runs. It was the first time this year that both of those columns had a zero in them, and just the second time he hasn’t allowed a walk, which has been a bit of a worrying note with him this year. His walk rate is up over half a walk per 9 innings compared to his career numbers.

Diamondbacks’ Starter

The Diamondbacks will send 30 year old rookie Merrill Kelly to the mound, who will be making his 13th start of the season. Through the first 12, the righty has a 5-6 record with a 4.41 ERA, and a very similar 4.52 FIP. His strikeout and walk numbers are very similar to Stroman’s, but Kelly has allowed home runs at nearly twice the rate, which makes up for the one run difference in FIP.

After stalling in the Rays’ Minor League system through 2014, Kelly took off for Korea prior to the 2015 season. In 4 seasons with the SK Wyverns, Kelly went 48-32 with a 3.86 ERA. League average ERA in the KBO in those 4 years averaged between 4.90 and 5.20, so he was definitely an above average pitcher over there.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With Teoscar Hernandez in CF, it almost feels like the Blue Jays can run with a somewhat regular lineup most nights. The outfield should normally consist of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Hernandez and Randal Grichuk, which may not be terrible offensively or defensively as they move forward, which would be an amazing accomplishment for the 2019 Jays.

Rowdy Tellez is likely still dealing with hamstring troubles, a result of a play a week ago. He has gotten into three games in the last week - twice as a pinch hitter last weekend, and then he started Tuesday’s game against the Yankees. He hasn’t set foot on the field since then. A retroactive stint on the IL may not be a bad idea.

Diamondbacks’ Lineup

For the first time since 2011, the Diamondbacks are fielding a lineup that doesn’t consist of Paul Goldschmidt, as the slugging first baseman was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals over the offseason. So instead of Goldschmidt leading the offense, it’s a bunch of past their prime veterans with a few young guys sprinkled in.

The best of the young guys is Ketel Marte. The 25 year old SS is hitting .271/.323/.518 (114 wRC+) with 14 home runs. After a couple seasons struggling to find his footing with the Mariners, Marte has finally broken through with the Diamondbacks, and is establishing himself as one of the better shortstops in the National League.

On the other end of the age spectrum is old foe Adam Jones. The 33 year old is hitting .276/.321/.500 (110 wRC+), re-establishing some value after being a late Free Agent signing on the heels of a not so good final season in Baltimore that saw him get pushed out of CF and put up the second below average batting line of his impressive career.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Max Kepler went 4-4 with 3 home runs, a single and a walk, more than enough to earn the Monster Bat award. He drove in 4 of the Twins 5 runs in the their 5-4 win over Cleveland.

Despite losing 8-7 to the Astros in 14 innings, the Mariners had the top 2 guys by WPA last night. Edwin Encarnacion led the way with a double, a big single and a couple walks, setting his team up for the win they would never get with his .506 WPA on the day, which earns him the WPA King title.

Peter Lambert, making his Major League debut for the Rockies, went 7 strong innings, allowing just a run on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 9. The Pitcher of the Day award is nice addition to his debut, as he also earned the regular pitcher win in the Rockies’ 3-1 win over the Cubs.

Find the Link

Find the link between Kelly and Jason Kipnis.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs