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Game #103 Preview: Bauer vs Sanchez

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Cleveland (58-41) vs Blue Jays (38-64)

Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Blue Jays and Clevelanders continue their series this evening with the second of three games. Start time is scheduled for 7:07 ET, but if you’re looking for the game on Sportsnet or MLB.tv, you will sadly disappointed. We instead get the pleasure of having another online exclusive game, this time on youtube.com/mlb. So go to that link to find the game if you have the bandwidth to stream it. Alternatively, the Sportsnet Radio Network also has the game, and they were nice enough to give Mike Wilner the week off and replaced him with Kevin Barker, so the option to follow this game on Gameday is alive and well.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Blue Jays will send out Aaron Sanchez again, as he will once again look to put an end to a very bad streak of games. Now up to 10 straight games, Sanchez’ streak of losses is certainly mounting. He hasn’t won a game since the end of April, and is 0-13 with a 7.99 ERA in 15 starts since the calendar turned to May. I’m not sure what the record for the worst 15 game stretch in a single season is, but this has to be pushing for it.

Sanchez did face Cleveland back in April, for whatever predictive value that has. It was his only pre-May loss, but he still tossed 6 innings of 2 run ball, striking out 5 and walking just 2.

Cleveland’s Starter

Cleveland will counter with Trevor Bauer, who they seem to hope to be able to trade away, even though they still have another year of control and are on the precipice of another playoff birth.

Bauer is having another typical Bauer season, currently sitting with a 9-7 record and a 3.67 ERA. By ERA, this is his best non-2018 season, which is looking more and more like a significant outlier as opposed to a breakout season. The strikeouts are still there, a feature he broke out with in 2017, but he is once again struggling with keeping free runners off the bases and keeping the ball in the yard. His FIP of 4.30 gives him an FIP- of 93, right in line with his 2016 (93) and 2017 (89) numbers, far off from his outlier 2018 (58).

Bauer absolutely dominated the Jays when they faced off at the beginning of April. He did not allow a hit over 7 innings, striking out 8 and walking a laughable 6. This drove his pitch count to 117 after 7 innings, which meant he couldn’t go for the no-hitter. Jon Edwards came in to start the 8th inning, and duplicated Bauer’s outing - walking 2, beaning one and striking out 2, but couldn’t get out of the inning. Brad Hand came in to get Gurriel to pop out and keep the no-hitter in tact. Then he let up 3 hits and a run in the 9th, starting with a leadoff single by Freddy Galvis.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

There will be a decision on Dalton Pompey announced at some point today. My guess is that he’ll be activated in lieu of Billy McKinney, although there is the outside and illogical chance that Pompey is just DFA’d. I highly doubt that, as they’ve come this far, they might as well see what they have, and it’s not like McKinney (and Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk) are forcing the Jays to keep Pompey down. So look for Pompey to be on the active roster today, perhaps even getting a start in the outfield.

Otherwise, look for the lineup to be loaded with as many lefties as possible. If McKinney is still around, he’ll be in there. Eric Sogard and Cavan Biggio should both be in the lineup, as well as switch hitters Justin Smoak and Freddy Galvis.

Cleveland’s Lineup

They too will likely have a very heavy lefty/switchy lineup against Sanchez. It’s quite possible that the only righty Sanchez gets to face is the catcher, either Roberto Perez or Kevin Plawecki. Cleveland has the benefit of having 3 of the best switch hitters in the game in Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez (he’s starting to turn it around after a rough several months).

Yesterday’s Heroes

Mitch Garver went 3-4 with a pair of home runs, also chipping in a single and scoring 3 times en route to his Monster Bat award. His Twins were able to beat the Yankees 8-6, and every win the Twins get over the Yankees should be celebrated.

Eugenio Suarez hit a pair of home runs yesterday as well, and his went a long way in ensure victory for the Reds. His first home run, a two run shot in the 7th, expanded the Reds’ lead to 4-1. In the bottom of the 8th, Tyler Saladino hit a grand slam that was worth .619 WPA and brought the Brewers out on top 5-4. But in the top of the 9th, Suarez turned that score back around with another 2 run home run, this one worth .692 WPA, and that 6-5 lead ended up holding. Suarez’ WPA King total on the day was a very impressive .817.

Ivan Nova tossed a complete game yesterday, allowing 4 hits including a solo home run to Jorge Alfaro. But he didn’t walk anyone and struck out 5 over 9 innings, so that gets him the Pitcher of the Day award.

Find the Link

Find the link between Bauer and the last player to have a blown save against the Jays.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs