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Game #132 Preview: Font (o) vs Hernandez

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Blue Jays (52-79) vs Mariners (55-74)

Toronto Blue Jays v Seattle Mariners Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

After a miserable loss last night, the Blue Jays will try to pick things up and do better this evening for the thousands of fans that drove down to Seattle to cheer against the Mariners. Tonight’s game is an hour earlier this time at 9:10 ET (6:10 local time).

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays will open the game with Wilmer Font (“Fonky”, because why go with something fun playing off his last name), making his 7th straight appearance in an opener role. He has been doing quite well since he transitioned there, pitching 12.1 innings while allowing 1 run on 7 hits and 4 walks. He has struck out an impressive 19 as well, really giving the Jays a good reason to keep turning to him as an opener.

Following the opener will likely be Brock Stewart (“Beef Stew”) in the bulk guy role, who has to be added to the roster before the game. Given the mess that was the bullpen last night, I’m sure it won’t be too hard to pick a Neil Ramirez out of the bullpen and send him down. Stewart himself hasn’t pitched the greatest in his 2 outings with the Jays, but he has at least danced around some danger in his 9.1 innings in Blue Jays blinding white (or at least today he’ll be in that, save for a random black hat). In Stewart’s 2 appearances, serving as the bulk guy in both, he picked up the win by allowing a total of 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, serving up 3 solo home runs to account for all the damage. That gives him a 2.89 ERA, but 7.87 FIP.

Mariners’ Starter

This has been billed as potentially Felix Hernandez’s (unsurprisingly “King Felix”) final start for the Mariners in Seattle. Pitching now in his 15th season as a Mariner, the once dominant Ace is no longer anything like the pitcher he once was. He has struggled badly for now the 3rd straight season with a FIP above 5.00, while also struggling with a lat injury this year, of which he’ll be activated from before this start. So there is definitely a prevailing thought that he may not make another start once September callups start coming in, and this is the final year of his contract.

On the season, King Felix has started just 8 games, pitching to a 1-4 record with a 6.52 ERA and a 5.41 FIP. The home run revolution is really what bit him the hardest, as he has allowed 9 already in just 38.2 innings. He’s otherwise seen a bit of an uptick in strikeouts this year compared to last, and his walk rate is one of the best he’s ever had, although it is a small sample thus far.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Reese McGuire (“Pieces”) picked up a single and scored a run against his hometown team and in front of a lot of family and friends. He is expected to be back out there again today.

Yesterday’s birthday boy Billy McKinney (who I can’t find info about his name) didn’t play yesterday, but I would imagine he’ll get the start tonight.

Rowdy Tellez (“Big Rowdy”) will also likely be back in the lineup today, perhaps taking over DH as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (“El K”) moves back to 3B and Brandon Drury (“B Dru”) heads to the bench.

Mariners’ Lineup

Their speed was definitely in play last night, as Dee Gordon (“⚡️”) and Mallex Smith (“Water”) seemed to be on base all the time, running wild and distracting pitchers. Hopefully the Jays can contain the AL’s most dynamic duo of baserunners.

Daniel Vogelbach (“The Babe”) had a rough night at the plate, going 0-5 with a pair of strikeouts. He left 8 runners on base in his 5 outs. But he wasn’t even the worst culprit for leaving runners on base, as Jake Fraley (“Fraley”), despite collecting his first big league hit, stranded 9 runners, including a very impressive 5 in scoring position with 2 outs.

J.P. Crawford (“Crawdaddy”) and Omar Narvaez (“Narvy”) took Thornton deep last night, so hopefully the Jays will be better prepared to keep them in the park tonight.

Yesterday’s Heroes

J.D. Martinez (“Flaco”) went 3-4 with a 2 home runs, a single, walk and 7 runs driven in to earn the Monster Bat award. He helped carry the Red Sox to an 11-0 win over the hometown Padres. Ouch.

Ronny Rodriguez (“El Felino”) hit a big 6th inning grand slam, giving his Tigers the 5-3 lead in a game that the Twins were looking pretty comfortable in. That home run was worth .386 WPA, a good portion of his WPA King total of .411 in the Tigers 9-6 win over the Twins.

Anibal Sanchez (“Aleho”) made it through 8 shutout innings on 1 hit, before coming back out for the 9th up 9-0. He started the inning with a walk before getting soft groundout, followed by a throwing error by the third baseman that allowed the run to score. With just 1 out in the 9th instead of 2, he was removed, and the next batter promptly hit a double. Aleho’s final line on the day was 8.1 innings, 2 runs (1 earned) on 1 hit and 2 walks with 6 strikeouts, good enough for the Pitcher of the Day award. If it wasn’t for the error, there is a very real chance he throws a 1 hit shutout, but the Nationals still won 9-3 over the Cubs, so I’m sure no one really cares.

Find the Link

Find the link between King Felix and Helly.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs