The Blue Jays will bid adieu to Tropicana Field this afternoon, as the play their final game against the Rays in 2020 this afternoon (at least regular season anyway). The Blue Jays will look to come out of this series with a split and prevent their overall record from dipping back below .500. Gametime is set for 3:10 EDT, so don’t forget to set your alarm to remind you to get away from work.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Tanner Roark will bring his 2-1 record and 4.76 ERA into his 5th start of the season. Through his first 4, he has thrown just 17 innings, and the Blue Jays need to get some more length out of him in order help the bullpen, and the first step towards that is limiting the walks. He has so far walked 10 batters in his 17 innings, a rate that is over twice as high as his career mark. Typically Roark is better than league average at preventing walks, so to say he is struggling in this regard to start the season would be very accurate.
Roark has one start against the Rays, coming 10 days ago. In that one, he lasted just 4 innings, where he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks, striking out 4. He ended up allowing a home run to Brandon Lowe, although a lot of people have had that problem this year.
The Rays will counter with 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. On the surface, Snell’s numbers are starting to look like that Cy Young season, as he is currently sitting with a 2-0 record and a 3.00 ERA over his 5 starts. However, he has thrown just 18 innings, as he was slowly ramped up in his first few starts, and has reached 5 innings in each of his last 2 starts, throwing 70 pitches and up to 93 his last time out.
Snell faced the Jays in his first start of the season, making it through the order once, plus a batter. He ended up allowing 5 baserunners (3 hits and 2 walks) in 2 innings, but stranded the bases loaded in the first and a couple runners in scoring position in the second.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
The Blue Jays traded for Dan Vogelbach last night, but I’m sure he won’t be ready for today’s game, and even if he was, he wouldn’t be starting against the lefty. I would imagine he’ll just meet the team in Buffalo ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Red Sox.
I would imagine the lineup will look quite similar to yesterday, although there will probably be some arrangement tweaks just to get some sort of advantage somewhere. But at least against a lefty I’m fairly confident our only shortstop in Santiago Espinal will be at shortstop.
The Rays will once again load the lineup full of left handed batters for Roark to enjoy, likely sending out 6 or 7 lefties. If Michael Perez started behind the plate yesterday, but if I was the Rays, I’d get him back out there against some with such drastic career splits as Roark.
It was interesting to note yesterday that Ji-Man Choi hit from the left side of the plate against Anthony Kay. If you remember, a few weeks ago Choi hit from the right side for the first time in his career about a month ago, striking out in his first at bat against Kay but taking him deep the second time around. However, he went 1-8 since then with 6 strikeouts, so it seems he was persuaded to stop trying and he’s now officially a left handed only batter.
Mookie Betts went 3-5, knocking out 2 home runs and a single to pick up the Monster Bat award. He also managed a pair of stolen bases, and really helped carry his Dodgers to the 11-3 win over the Rockies.
Gregory Polanco hit a huge 2 run home run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th inning, a shot that was worth .611 WPA and giving him the WPA King title. It proved to be the winning run in the Pirates’ 5-4 win over the Brewers.
Justin Dunn threw 6 shutout innings, allowing just a single hit and a walk, which is good enough to pick up the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the regular win in the Mariners 4-1 win over the Rangers.
Find the Link
Find the link between Ji-Man Choi and Boog Powell.