The Blue Jays will try to salvage this short 2 game series at home in Nationals Park against the Nationals. It has been a confusing week, but at least everyone gets tomorrow off. Today’s game is a bit earlier than even the last few, with gametime set for 4:05 EDT.
Blue Jays’ Starter
After watching their emerging ace yesterday, the Jays go with their current ace Hyun-Jin Ryu, making his second start as a Blue Jay. Ryu had a bit of a rough outing his first time around, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and a home run, while walking an extremely uncharacteristic 4 batters over just 4.2 innings. The Jays were able to hang on for the win, but I think we were all hoping for a better and longer start from Ryu, but I have no doubt they’ll come.
Ryu built his career in Korea and Los Angeles by keeping free runners off bases. He walked 2.7 batters per 9 innings in Korea, and cut that down to 2.0 as a Dodger, with a low point of just 1.18 last year. That 1.18 wasn’t only the best mark among qualified pitchers in baseball, it was the lowest mark among qualified pitchers since Josh Tomlin put up a 1.03 in 2016. So Ryu walking 4 batters in a game is not something to get used to.
I thought this was going to be Stephen Strasburg, and in no way is this meant as a knock against him, but thankfully it’s Erick Fedde instead. Strasburg remains sidelined by a nerve issue in his right hand, so the Jays won’t get completely pummeled in this series having to face two of the best pitchers in baseball.
Fedde has garnered about a year’s worth of stats at the Major League level over the past 3 seasons, and has been pretty mediocre so far. In 147.2 innings stretched across 27 starts and 9 relief appearances, Fedde is 6-7 with a 5.30 ERA and equally rough 5.33 FIP. He doesn’t rack up the strikeouts like his teammates, registering a 6.40 K/9 stat. He isn’t super great at limiting walks, giving up 3.90 per 9 innings. And he has a tough time keeping the ball in the yard, allowing them at a 1.52 per 9 inning rate (NL average over the last 3 years has been about 1.23). That all being said, it’s the Blue Jays, and stranger things have happened than a pitcher with rough peripherals dominating them.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
Bo Bichette and Randal Grichuk are still sitting on the outside looking in with their respective injuries. Bo was clearly itching to get in there yesterday, and he did spend some time in the field pre-game, but I wouldn’t really expect either to be out there today.
Despite the 4 strikeouts he has already, I’ve been impressed by Derek Fisher so far in 2020. He looked good in Summer Camp, and has had some pretty good plate appearances so far this year. As a 4th outfielder/occasional starter, I think he’s a pretty good choice. I’m still holding out hope that he’ll start to tap into that good speed a bit more too.
The word on Juan Soto is that he has been cleared by MLB to return, and is now waiting for approval from the City of Washington to be able to play. With the Nationals now not playing at all this weekend, it might be the prudent move to keep him out and be 100% sure he’s clear.
Howie Kendrick was a late scratch yesterday with a stiff back, and with 3 off days ahead, one has to wonder if he’ll have today off to get it back to 100%.
I apologize for mentioning the stolen base stat in yesterday’s preview. It was quite fitting that Adam Eaton abruptly picked up their first steal of the season in the top of 1st. So that’s on me.
Zach Plesac, because he is a starter for Cleveland, went 8 shutout innings yesterday to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. Plesac struck out 11 and walked none, while giving up 3 hits. He’s the 6th different Cleveland starter to go 6+ innings while allowing 2 or fewer runs. They’ve only played 6 games, so that’s a pretty good stat. Somehow they still lost though, as the White Sox put up a 4 spot in the top of the 9th to win 4-0. But 8 shutout innings in a scoreless game will also get you a lot of WPA, and Plesac is our WPA King as well with a .597 mark on the day.
Find the Link
Find the link between Adam Eaton and Mike Squires.