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Game #135 Preview: Foltynewicz vs Waguespack

Braves (80-54) vs Blue Jays (54-80)

Toronto Blue Jays Vs Atlanta Braves Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Blue Jays will look to take the sweep of this mini 2 game series against the Braves, with the first pitch set for 7:07 ET tonight. We’re in for a letter salad on the mound as well, so that’s always fun.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Jacob Waguespack will look to keep confounding hitters and try to earn a spot in next year’s wide open rotation. Waguespack is now 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA through 52 innings, today making his 8th start and 11th appearance overall. He is doing a great job limiting walks and home runs, the former at a rate better than what he did in the Minors, and the latter better than he should be based on his fly ball rate. If he is going to have success going forward, he is going to need to continue to find success masking his pitches and getting soft contact, while I’m sure getting more strikeouts would help too.

Braves’ Starter

The Braves will turn to last year’s breakout starter Mike Foltynewicz, who is having a completely different experience this year. After powering through 31 starts last year and coming out with a 13-10 record, 2.85 ERA and a 3.37 FIP, he has taken a big step back this year. He pitched poorly enough that the Braves optioned him to AAA for 10 starts, as when he has been in the Majors, the results are not good. He is currently 4-5 with a 5.68 ERA and a matching 5.65 FIP. The home runs have been the biggest culprit, currently sitting at a 2.19 per 9 inning rate.

He has done a bit better since coming back from AAA at least. In his 4 starts since then, he has a 3.91 ERA and a 4.38 FIP in 23 innings. The strikeouts are up and the home runs are down, so that’s naturally going to be an improvement for anyone. It all came together for him in his last start against the Mets too, where he went 7 innings, allowing just a run on 2 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts over 7 innings, giving up a solo home run.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Danny Jansen didn’t get the start last night, making him the only position player to sit back to back games since Smoak a week ago. I would imagine this will be a trend that continues, so look for Brandon Drury and Teoscar Hernandez to be back in the lineup tonight, with likely Justin Smoak and maybe Cavan Biggio drawing the short straws, despite their success last night. Also expect Jansen to be back in there.

Braves’ Lineup

With so many good hitters, I didn’t get a chance to touch on Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson or Ozzie Albies in yesterday’s preview. Freeman is having another typical Freeman type season, currently sitting with a .296/.389/.562 (140 wRC+) line and 35 home runs. Swanson, who returned from the Injured List on Monday, isn’t having that nice of a season, but he has seen his offensive production take another leap forward this year as it is now approximating league average. He was once touted as a great hitting SS, but his first full year resulted in a 64 wRC+, which he bumped to a playable 80 wRC+ last season, and now he’s up to a near league average 98. At this rate of improvement, he should be an All Star next season. Albies has continued right where he left off last year, now with a 108 wRC+ and still very solid defense. The Atlanta infield is definitely among the best in the game this year.

Matt Joyce got the DH duties yesterday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do it again today, although they may go to an infielder while old friend Adeiny Hechavarria backfills the spot.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Yadier Molina went 3-3 with a pair of home runs and a double, helping the future Hall of Famer pick up the Monster Bat award. His Cardinals beat the Brewers 6-3, helping hold their 3 game lead over the Cubs. Molina’s heroics weren’t just garbage time runs either, as in total he had a .506 WPA, good enough for the WPA King title as well.

Masahiro Tanaka fired 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and a walk while striking out 7. The Yankees won their second in a row in Seattle, taking down the Mariners 7-0. As much as they hated having the Jays’ fans overrun the stadium, the Mariners and their fans probably would rather the Jays back in town.

Find the Link

Find the link between Folty and Jose Bautista.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs