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Game #16 Preview: Richards vs Roark

Rays (12-8) vs Blue Jays (6-9)

MLB: AUG 12 Marlins at Blue Jays Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Blue Jays continue their homestand this evening, welcoming the Rays into town for a weekend series. Gametime today is set for 6:37 EDT.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Tanner Roark will be making his third start as a Blue Jay, trying to look more like the pitcher who won his first start back on July 28 as opposed to the guy who looked completely helpless 11 days later. I’m sure that layoff didn’t do him any favours, so hopefully we won’t see another 3 inning start featuring 5 walks and a pair of home runs. His first start was definitely enjoyable though, as over 5 innings he allowed just 1 run on 3 hits without a walk or home run allowed.

Besides the obvious struggles in command in his last start, he was also down a couple mph of velocity on his pitches. His four seamer, which he recorded 3 of his strikeouts and allowed no hits on in his first start, was the pitch that was sent over wall both times against the Red Sox. Seeing how his fastball does out of the gate might be a key indicator to how his night will go.

Rays’ Starter

The Rays have seen both Yonny Chirinos and Charlie Morton head to the IL, necessitating the need to move Trevor Richards to the rotation. I’m not sure if Richards is outright starting this one or if he’s going to follow an Opener, but either way it seems as though he is set to get the bulk of the early innings in this one.

Richards has thrown 9.1 innings so far this year, and thanks to the Blue Jays, his stat line does not look good. Overall, he has allowed 8 runs (6 earned) on 14 hits and 3 walks, striking out 8. The Jays touched him up for 4 runs on 6 hits back on July 26, as he opened the 6th inning by allowing the first 4 of the Jays’ 6 consecutive hits. His first time through the order against the Jays was a lot more dominating though, and I could see him having a short leash if things start to get rough for him the second time through the order.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

It was nice to see some offence from the team, especially Bo Bichette, who went 5-5 with a walk, home run and a pair of steals on Wednesday. The 11 runs overall were easily the highest output of the season, as were the very impressive 18 hits. If we ignore the poor baserunning decisions, terrible fielding and pitching, the team looked pretty good.

Richards is a righty, the 7th or 8th straight righty we’ve faced, so we’ll probably see the normal lineup out there again. Danny Jansen seems to be catching two games to Reese McGuire’s one, and Jansen has just come off two in a row, so I’d expect to see Reese out there tonight.

Rays’ Lineup

The Rays seem to have a full and healthy contingent of position players, most notably Austin Meadows, who was on the IL when the Jays were down in Tampa a few weeks ago. I’m sure he’s ready and excited to be able to play the Jays again, a team that he has a 1.222 OPS against in 104 career PA.

Roark has historically been much worse against lefties (career .330 wOBA against a .281 mark for righties), and he’s probably going to get to face 7 lefties today. I would guess that Willy Adames and Yandy Diaz will be the only righties in the lineup today.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Mookie Betts cranked out 3 home runs, tying him for a Major League record 6 times of doing that in his career. He also picks up the Monster Bat award with his 4-4 showing, helping his Dodgers to the 11-2 win over the Padres.

Yu Darvish carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning, before Justin Smoak broke it up with a solo home run. But Darvish still gets the Pitcher of the Day honours with 7 innings of 1-hit ball while striking out 11 batters. He helped his Cubs to the 4-2 win over the Brewers, and because it was a close game, Darvish also gets the WPA King title with a .342 mark.

Find the Link

Find the link between Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier (and don’t be boring with it).