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Games #22 and #23 Preview

Phillies (9-10) vs Blue Jays (10-11)

MLB: AUG 19 Blue Jays at Orioles Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Blue Jays are making a brief layover in Buffalo today to make up a pair of games against the Phillies that they missed a few weeks ago. They’ll play two 7 inning games, with the first set for 1:07 EDT and the second to follow half an hour after the first one concludes.

Blue Jays’ Starters

Set to get the ball in the first game is Chase Anderson. Anderson will be making his third start, after a pair of starts where he allowed 1 run in 3 innings. He threw 45 pitches the first time, then 59 the second, so I could see him getting into the 70s today. Hopefully that means more than 3 innings for him this time around.

Game 2 belongs to Trent Thornton, coming off the Injured List just in time to make this start. Thornton has only started once so far this year, a 4 inning start against the Nationals back on July 27. In that start, he allowed 1 run on 8 hits and 2 walks, dancing around danger with just 3 strikeouts, but overall coming out fairly unscathed. He’s not likely going to be able to give the Jays much depth either, so the bullpen will get a good workout today, but at least the games are only 7 innings I suppose.

Phillies’ Starters

Young righty Spencer Howard will make his third start of the year and of his career in the first game. So far this year Howard is 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA. Over 8 innings, he has allowed 7 runs on 14 hits and 3 walks, surrendering 4 home runs while striking out 6. Howard entered the year as the Phillies’ top prospect, and brings a good mid-90s fastball coupled with a curveball, changeup and slider, all projected to eventually become at least league average, with some pretty good upside too.

Veteran righty Vince Velasquez will get the ball in game 2, making his 3rd start and 4th appearances overall. Through 8 innings, he has allowed 7 runs on 8 hits and 6 walks, surrendering 2 home runs while striking out 11. His first two appearances this season were starts, very spread out, and his last appearance was a 1 inning relief stint a week ago.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

With a pair of 7 inning games against a couple of righties, the Blue Jays should be able to roll with a similar lineup in both.

Reese McGuire is likely to catch one game and Danny Jansen the other.

Rowdy Tellez, who should be back in the lineup today after taking a blow to his head on Monday, will probably play one game at DH and one at first base, swapping with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Of course, Joe Panik will find his way into the lineup at some point today.

Phillies’ Lineup

The Phillies are boasting a fairly healthy contingent of position players with outfielder Adam Haseley currently the only one on the Injured List.

Bryce Harper is off to a great start to his season thus far, batting a ridiculous .349/.474/.667, good enough for a 204 wRC+ over his 79 plate appearances.

Elsewhere around the diamond, JT Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, Didi Gregorius, Jean Segura and even Jay Bruce (he’s still playing) are having strong starts to the season as well. Andrew McCutchen and Scott Kingery are off to rough starts, but possess enough talent to turn it around quite quickly.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Kyle Tucker went 4-5 with a home run and a pair of triples yesterday, opting for the more valuable cycle miss by running past his double twice. The Monster Bat winner drove in 4 as his Astros beat the Rockies 13-6.

While Manny Machado hit a walkoff grand slam in game 3 of the best series of 2020, it was Michael Conforto who picks up the WPA King title. Conforto hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 9th to give the Mets the 5-3 lead, and that was enough for the Mets’ bullpen to hang on to. Conforto was worth .415 WPA, narrowly edging out Machado’s .414.

Aaron Civale came in 3rd place in the WPA King race with a .403 mark, but he still gets to bring home some hardware, as he pitched a complete game. He allowed 1 run on 5 hits over 9 innings, walking none and striking out 6. He picked up the win in Cleveland’s 6-1 win over the Pirates.

Find the Link

Find the link between Jay Bruce and John Buck.