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Game #147 Preview: Chacin vs Buchholz

Red Sox (76-70) vs Blue Jays (57-89)

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

The Blue Jays are surprisingly looking for the sweep of the Red Sox this evening, trying to wrap up a successful opening series back home after getting swept on the road. Tune in tonight starting at 7:07 ET to see if they can pull it off.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Veteran starter Clay Buchholz will make his 9th start as a Blue Jay, and the first of his career against the team that made him a first round draft pick 14 years ago. In his first 8 starts for the Jays, Buchholz has thrown 42.1 innings, compiling a 1-4 record with a 5.31 ERA. His numbers in three starts since his return have been a bit better than that, tossing two quality starts and coming an out short of one in the other. He struck out just 3 in each of those starts, a surprisingly low number even for him, and it’s actually something he hasn’t been able to do all year. His season high in strikeouts is 4, and that happened only once. Right now he is averaging just under a strikeout every other inning, which isn’t a way to find to success in today’s MLB.

Red Sox’ Starter

The Red Sox will start the game with Jhoulys Chacin on the mound, although it seems that he will serve in more of an opener role as opposed to the traditional starter role he has done 221 times before at the MLB level. Part of it I am sure has to do with the struggles that he faced in Milwaukee earlier this year before being released, and it probably also has to do with the large bullpen of the expanded rosters making cutting his start short desirable.

In 91.2 innings split between the Brewers and Red Sox, Chacin is 3-10 with a 5.60 ERA and a 5.51 FIP. His home run rate is double this year compared to last year, which seems to be the huge stumbling block for the veteran righty. His strikeout and walk rates are pretty normal for him, but he is allowing more fly balls, and far more are leaving the ballpark, which is why he found himself being released by Milwaukee a couple weeks ago.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Anthony Alford found some playing time between the white lines, but the Blue Jays made all but made sure that he wouldn’t be able to bat, coming in as a defensive replacement in the top of the 8th up 8 and his spot due up 8th in the bottom half of the inning. It’s hard to see any future in this organization for Alford at this point, and it really boggles the mind to come up with a reason as to why.

Justin Smoak seems to be on an on-again, off-again relationship with the lineup, and since he was off yesterday, I think there’s a chance he’s back in the lineup today. Rowdy Tellez has been getting more starts at first recently, even when Smoak is in the lineup, and I have to say, he is looking better defensively than he has previously. He no longer looks like a liability defensively, which is a huge growth even since April.

Red Sox’ Lineup

The Red Sox bats can probably be put into the category of slumping, having scored 0 or 1 runs in 4 of their last 7 games, going 1-6 in the last week. They have collected just 41 hits in that span, striking out 55 times against just 18 walks.

The one player not struggling in that timeframe is Mookie Betts, who is hitting .318/.423/.773 over that stretch, also hitting 3 of the team’s 6 home runs. Those numbers are just a continuation of the excellent second half he has put up, as his wRC+ is 152 since the All Star Break, up from the 123 that he put up prior to it. After getting the day off yesterday, look for him to be back out there today.

I’m guessing that today will be an off day for Rafael Devers, as the Red Sox seem to be trying to give everyone a rest day in Toronto. The Red Sox strangely have tomorrow night off though, so a day off today means a bit more of an extended break.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Jorge Soler went 4-5 last night, hitting a pair of home runs, a double and a single to earn the Monster Bat award. The home runs now have him 2 back of AL leader Mike Trout, as he continues to establish a new Royals’ high. The Royals did end up winning their game as well, 8-6 over the White Sox.

Mike Moustakas hit a pair of home runs, both giving the Brewers a lead, in order to pick up the WPA King title. The first one came in the 3rd inning, while the second was the top of the 9th, which gave the Brewers the 7-5 lead which was the final margin of victory over the Marlins. Moose’s WPA on the day was a very impressive .863.

Chris Paddack made it through 6 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and walking 1 to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He struck out 7 on his way to helping his Padres take down the Cubs 4-0.

Find the Link

Find the link between Chacin and the player that has 1 single, 1 double and 1 triple against him, but no home run.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs