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Game #97 Preview: Sanchez vs Rodriguez

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Blue Jays (36-60) vs Red Sox (51-44)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will look continue their dismantling of the Red Sox pitching staff tonight as they try to keep up their 9 run average from the first two games of the series in game 3 of 4 in Boston. Gametime is set for 7:10 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays will send out Aaron Sanchez, and will likely keep doing so until such time that he can physically no longer make it, despite what the returned results are. So far on the season, he is now 3-13 with a 6.22 ERA. Sanchez has earned the loss in 9 consecutive starts, and hasn’t earned a win since the end of April.

Sanchez’ last start in which he did not get saddled with a loss was against Boston on May 22. In that start, he went 6 innings, allowing just a pair of runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. The Jays still ended up losing that one, but Sanchez walked away from that game with a 3.79 ERA, and hasn’t had a quality start since.

Red Sox Starter

Left hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be making his 20th start of the season for the Red Sox, his 5th time crossing that threshold in his short career. Still just 26, Rodriguez is having a decent season so far. He’s 10-4 with a 4.43 ERA, although his peripherals give him a little bit better 4.03 FIP. That FIP is right in line with his career 3.98 mark, which he has gotten to with a good ability at getting more than a strikeout per inning, walking fewer than average, and allowing about an average number of home runs. That’s who Rodriguez has always been, and I’m sure the Red Sox are quite happy with his results from the back end of their rotation.

Rodriguez has only faced the Jays once this year, and that start did not go well for him. In 5 innings, he allowed 6 runs on 6 hits, walking 3 and striking out 5. He surrendered 3 home runs, one to Randal Grichuk and two to the recently demoted Rowdy Tellez.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It’s nice to see the offense coming around after falling flat against the Yankees coming out of the All Star Break. They’ve scored 18 runs on 27 hits the last 2 days, getting multiple hits from previously struggling players, including Billy McKinney, Randal Grichuk and Justin Smoak.

Luke Maile is likely to be in the lineup in this one, as Danny Jansen has caught 2 straight. Cavan Biggio is also likely to be back in the lineup as well after getting the night off yesterday.

Red Sox Lineup

Sam Travis, who was called up prior to Monday’s game, got into the game last night and played a couple innings at 1B before being lifted for a pinch hitter. With Michael Chavis’ ability to play both 1B and 2B, it seems like Travis and Brock Holt will be in a platoon for playing time, which means Brock Holt will be getting the start today against Sanchez.

As for the rest of the lineup, they seem to be pretty much set and will likely send out pretty much the same one as last night. Sandy Leon likely catches Chris Sale tomorrow, so Christian Vazquez will make back to back starts.

Marco Hernandez is the only other bench player, and being a lefty, he may get into the game against Sanchez today. If he does, my guess is it would be to give Xander Bogaerts the day off.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Omar Narvaez went 3-4 with a pair of home runs to earn the Monster Bat award. His 2 runs were the only 2 runs scored by the Mariners, and his 3 hits represented half of their output on that front as they were beat pretty badly by the Athletics, with a final score of 9-2. But at least Narvaez had a good game.

Bryce Harper hit a 2-run walk off double last night, giving the Phillies the 9-8 win over the Dodgers. He drove in 5 total runs yesterday, as his 3-run home run in the bottom of the second helped build a very solid early lead. His home run was worth .166 WPA, and the double was worth another .673 WPA, helping bring his WPA King total to .860.

Former Blue Jays’ Rule 5 draft pick Glenn Sparkman had the best game of his career yesterday. The 27 year old who had 2 very forgettable outings for the Blue Jays in 2017 made his 10th start of the season for the Royals last night and completely dominated. He threw a complete game shutout against the White Sox, allowing 5 hits and a walk while striking out 8. He easily wins the Pitcher of the Day award, just like his Royals easily won the game 11-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Rodriguez and Prince Fielder.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs