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Game #102 Preview: Clevinger vs Borucki

Cleveland (57-41) vs Blue Jays (38-63)

Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Blue Jays return home for the first time in over 2 weeks, ready to welcome the Clevelands into town for a 3 game series. The first game gets underway at 7:07 ET this evening.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays will welcome left hander Ryan Borucki to the rotation, making his first start of the season. Borucki was sidelined in the spring with elbow inflammation. It was originally thought to be fairly minor, as the Blue Jays expected him back in April. Here we are over 3 months later, and he’s finally back and healthy. He made 4 rehab starts on his was up through the Minors, and reached 80 pitches in his latest one for Buffalo, so he should be close to being stretched out as well.

Borucki’s rookie season was very successful, and Blue Jays’ fans were anxious to see how he would follow up his strong 2018 season. He went 4-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 17 starts, with an equally impressive 3.80 FIP. He isn’t going to generate a lot of strikeouts, but he should keep the walks in check while also limiting hard contact and keeping the ball in the yard.

It’s great to have you back in the rotation Ryan!

Cleveland Starter

Cleveland will kick off the series with right hander Mike Clevinger on the mound. The 28 year old has missed significant time this season as well, originally missing a couple months earlier in the year with back problems, then a couple weeks at the end of June with a sprained ankle. He has made 7 starts so far this season, and the starts on both sides of that ankle injury we’re easily his worst, as he allowed 12 runs over 6.1 innings, but has allowed just 2 runs in 29 innings otherwise.

Clevinger faced the Jays in the April start that injured his back. Before leaving that game with the injured back after 5 innings, Clevinger completely dominated the Jays’ bats. He allowed just a double and a walk, while notching an impressive 10 strikeouts. He was at just 75 pitches when he was pulled, so he likely still had a lot of gas left.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Four of the starters that Clevinger faced back at the beginning of April are no longer on the team, as Brito, Hanson, Urena and Tellez have all been sent down to Buffalo since that day. Freddy Galvis, the one who collected the double off Clevinger, will undoubtedly be at SS and in his usual number 2 spot in the batting order.

Cavan Biggio, who had the day off yesterday against the lefty, will likely be back in the lineup today. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Billy McKinney worked into the lineup somehow.

Danny Jansen will also be back in the lineup to catch his best friend. I’m sure Jansen has been looking forward to this game for quite some time.

Cleveland’s Lineup

Cleveland’s batters, although significantly better since the beginning of June, are not having a good time at the plate. Collectively they have just a 92 wRC+ on the season, but that has been pulled up a lot by their 111 wRC+ since the beginning of June.

Carlos Santana, who was brought back to Cleveland through a very complex trade back in December, is having a fantastic return to his original team. He made his first All Star team earlier this month, and is batting .284/.405/.524 (140 wRC+) with 21 home runs.

On the opposite end of the happy news for Cleveland is Jose Ramirez. The one time uber-dynamic offensive star is mired in a now 11 month slump. Since August 22 of last year, he is hitting just .217/.310/.360 (75 wRC+) over 558 PA, slugging just 12 home runs and 30 doubles/triples. In the 1190 plate appearances before that (a little more than double the sample size), stretching back to the start of the 2017 season, he was hitting .308/.390/.600 (157 wRC+) with 66 home runs and 96 doubles/triples. Someone flipped the switch off on him, and the questions are starting to mount as whether they’ll ever turn it back on. He has gone from perennial MVP candidate (finishing 3rd in 2017 and 2018) to someone you consider pinch hitting for in a big spot. It’s not a good time for the 26 year old who looked like a budding superstar. He is having a strong July though, so maybe he’s starting to come back around.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Michael Brantley went 3-3 with a pair of home runs, a single and a walk, earning our Monster Bat award. The outfielder’s bat was enough to carry his Astros past the Rangers 5-3.

The Twins had a very exciting game yesterday, notching both the WPA King and the runner up. Ehire Adrianza gets the award with a .658 WPA, while Max Kepler came in second at .528. Both had 3 hits to help the Twins build the early lead, then as they were down by 1 in the 9th, Adrianza drove home the tying run with a triple, and Kepler drove him home to win the game. The Twins won 7-6 over the Athletics.

Former Jays’ farmhand Asher Wojciechowski had the best start of his career last night, easily earning the Pitcher of the Day award. He took a no hitter into the 7th inning before Rafael Devers broke it up with a leadoff double. But he still made it through 7.1 shutout innings, with just the 1 hit, walking 2 and striking out 10. He earned the win as the Orioles beat the Red Sox 5-0. His game score for that game was 90, just the 3rd time in 15 career starts he was above 50, with his previous high being 64. There’s a pretty decent chance this will stand as the best ever start for the 30 year old.

Find the Link

Find the link between Clevinger and former Blue Jay Jayson Werth.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs