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Game #125 Preview: Tuivailala (o,?) vs Waguespack

Mariners (50-72) vs Blue Jays (51-73)

Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Blue Jays wrap up their 10 game homestand with a 3 game set against the Mariners before heading out west next week. Today’s game is set for the standard 7:07 ET start.

Blue Jays’ Starter

While they may opt to go with an opener like they did the last time Jacob Waguespack was scheduled, Waguespack will at minimum be the bulk guy if not the starter today. Waguespack will bring his 4.31 ERA through 39.2 innings into this game, looking to bring it back down after a bit of a rough outing against the Yankees his last time out. In that one, he made it just 3.2 innings in his shortest outing of the year. If he can get back to what he was the previous 2 starts, where he went 6 innings both times, allowing a total of 7 hits and 3 walks while striking out 6 and allowing just a single run to score, that would obviously be much better. Considering it’s the Mariners and not the Yankees, there is at least somewhat of a chance for that too.

Mariners’ Starter

The thought right now at least is that Sam Tuivailala will open the game for the Mariners, He has opened 2 games for the Mariners this season, and also pitched in 7 more in relief. In 9.1 total innings this year, he has allowed 2 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 12. It is probably the best he has looked throughout his sporadic Major League career spread out over the last 6 years.

Following Tuivailala will likely be lefty Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc began the year in the Mariners’ rotation, but has since transitioned to a bulk guy role, having made just 2 starts since the beginning of June. He is certainly getting mixed results this season, as of his 19 appearances, he has allowed at least 6 runs in 4 of them, but 2 or fewer runs in 4.2+ innings in 11 others. In total, that gives him a 6-6 record with a 5.14 ERA, although he frequently has been much more dominant than his ERA shows.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I’m hoping that we see a consistent outfield of Derek Fisher, Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk going forward, but Billy McKinney does seem to sneak in some playing time as well. I’d rather see McKinney’s playing time come with starts at 1B, as I really can’t see his long term chances of staying with the club lying in the outfield. He’s fine as a backup at the moment, but with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. eventually coming back (of which he’s eligible this weekend) and McKinney’s prospects of staying in the Jays’ outfield thanks to the depth and McKinney’s poor defense, it doesn’t seem likely to me he’s a factor out there in the future. Let him give first base a bit of an attempt and let him focus on the development of his bat.

I would guess that Justin Smoak gets the start today. There seemed to be a bit of contention when Charlie Montoyo mentioned Smoak would see reduced playing time going forward, and to make amends, I would imagine Smoak will get into this one before Rowdy Tellez makes a couple starts over the weekend. Resting Tellez against LeBlanc isn’t a terrible idea anyway.

Mariners’ Lineup

Given GM Jerry DiPoto’s love of the trade (he recently made his 100th trade since becoming Mariner’s GM in September 2015) there are a few “he’s a Mariner?” moments with this team. Chief among them is shortstop J.P. Crawford. I thought Crawford was the future of the Shortstop position in Philadelphia. Crawford has a 95 wRC+ with the Mariners, albeit in less playing time, while Jean Segura, who went the other way to play SS for the Phillies, has a 96 wRC+. So at least they’re close on that.

Getting the majority of starts at 1B is Austin Nola, brother of Phillies’ Ace Aaron Nola. Fun fact about the Nola brothers - the Blue Jays drafted both, but didn’t sign either, in the latter rounds of the 2011 draft (I know you know this Matt). Nola is doing quite well, as through his first 42 games, he is hitting .303/.350/.486 (123 wRC+).

Other Mariners still on the club doing well are Daniel Vogelbach (124 wRC+) catcher Omar Narvaez (126 wRC+) and right fielder Domingo Santana (111 wRC+).

Also of note in the lineup, former Jays’ farmhand (who came over from the Mariners and is now back with the Mariners) Tim Lopes has been getting a lot of starts in LF recently. His brother Christian Lopes is now in the Rangers organization, after spending 6 seasons in the Jays’ organization.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Peter Alonso went 5-5 with a home run and a walk, driving in 6 runs to earn the Monster Bat award. His output made a winner out of Marcus Stroman for the first time, even if the Mets’ bullpen tried to blow a huge lead. The Mets ultimately won it 10-8 over the Braves.

Bryce Harper hit a walkoff grand slam, stunning the Cubs and leading his Philies to the 7-5 win. The grand slam itself came with 1 out and was worth .677 WPA, accounting for more than all of his WPA King total of .653.

Prior to Harper’s heroics, the Phillies were held down by Yu Darvish. It was Darvish’s best game of the year, as he earns the Pitcher of the Day award. He threw 7 shutout innings, allowing just 4 hits and no walks while striking out 10.

Find the Link

Find the link between Tuivailala and Alberto Tirado.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs