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Game #119 Preview: Happ vs Reid-Foley

Yankees (76-39) vs Blue Jays (47-71)

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will look to shake off the blow out defeat last night and get right back at it tonight against the Yankees and even the series up. Gametime is set for 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

The Jays will go with young right hander Sean Reid-Foley. SR-F entered the season as the #6 ranked Jays’ prospect as per Fangraphs, but has since graduated from consideration. He’s off to a decent start this year, sitting at a 1-2 record and a shiny 2.49 ERA. But it hasn’t been as pretty of a process that has gotten him there, as he has an 18:14 K:BB ratio in his 21.2 innings. He at least hasn’t been prone to the home run, but with the Yankees in town that is subject to change.

SR-F faced the Yankees once this year, a 2 inning relief appearance back at the end of June. He held the Yankees off the board, but allowed a pair of hits and 3 walks, dancing around trouble with a pair of strikeouts.

Yankees’ Starter

The Yankees are going with old friend J.A. Happ. Happ has not been making a lot of fans in the New York fanbase this season after re-signing on a 2 year, $34m deal this past winter. Through 22 starts, Happ is 9-6 with a 5.24 ERA, happily pitching for one of the best offenses in baseball. His strikeout rate is one of the lowest in his career, and if you consider it relative to league average, it would likely be the worst of his career by a long shot. His other problem this season is the barrage of home runs hit against him, as he is now up to 26 allowed in 115 innings. His rate of 2.03 per 9 innings is the 3rd worst among the 96 pitchers with at least 100 innings.

This will be Happ’s 3rd start against his former team, and the first 2 went pretty well. He pitched a 7 inning gem at Rogers’ Centre back at the beginning of June, and a still fairly good 5.1 innings a month later in the Bronx. In total, he has thrown 12.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits, walking just 1 and striking out 9. Current Ray Eric Sogard touched him up for a home run.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Bo Bichette keeps hitting, and hitting incredibly well. He is now up to 13 extra base hits in his first 11 games, and while this hot streak will eventually end, the skill that has brought it will excitingly still be there.

On the less exciting side of thing, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went down with some quad discomfort after coming up lame while beating out an infield single last night. He appeared in a lot of pain at first, but eventually walked off the field not looking too bad. Still, a quad strain is not a good thing, and there should be no question that the Jays will take advantage of the short 10 day IL and get him 100% healthy. There is absolutely zero reason to push him. Especially with all of the other Major League ready outfielders pushing for time.

I expect the Jays to have Billy McKinney back with the team for gametime, but I would be a lot more interested in seeing Anthony Alford come up and make most of the starts for the next couple weeks. Alford is finally back and healthy, hitting a home run in his return to Buffalo yesterday, a return to action more than a month in the making.

Even though Reese McGuire went 4-4 yesterday, I expect him to sit in lieu of Danny Jansen, as Reese has caught back to back games and 4 of 6. But maybe Jansen is nursing something, so as long as Reese is doing well (which his defense definitely seems to be), they’ll give him more of the load for a bit.

Yankees’ Lineup

Gleyber Torres, the only projected regular at the beginning of the season to not spend time on the IL this year, has missed the last couple days with core issues. But it doesn’t seem likely he’s headed for the IL at this point, and could very well be back in the lineup tonight.

DJ LeMahieu continues to rake from the top of the order, as he’s now hitting .338/.386/.534 (142 wRC+) after another good day yesterday. That 142 wRC+ is a career high for the 31 year old, as he only has one other year with a wRC+ over 100 in his 9 year career, an outlier 2016 season in which he took home the NL Batting Title.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Nicholas Castellanos, who is apparently with the Cubs now, went 3-4 with a pair of home runs and a walk, good enough for the Monster Bat award. He helped the Chicago to the 12-5 win over the Reds.

Chris Sale had a vintage Sale night last night, holding the Angels down on just a pair of hits and no walks, striking out 13 over 8 shutout innings. He earned the win, the Pitcher of the Day award, and the WPA King, as his WPA for the day was .436.

Find the Link

Find the link between J.A. Happ and A.J. Burnett

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs