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Game #28 Preview: Hart vs Anderson

Red Sox (9-20) vs Blue Jays (14-13)

MLB: AUG 24 Blue Jays at Rays Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Blue Jays return to their “home” in Buffalo today to begin a 7 game homestand, starting with a 3 game series against the Red Sox. Today’s game gets underway at 6:37 EDT.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Chase Anderson will make his 4th start of the season, looking to pitch deeper into the game as he ramps up his workload after starting the season on the Injured List. His pitch counts per start have steadily increased from 45 to 59 to 78 his last time out, which to me means he should be able to get above 90 pitches today if things are going well for him.

Anderson has thrown just 9.2 innings in his 3 starts, but has managed to avoid a lot of danger that he has been putting himself in. He has allowed just 3 total runs, 1 per start, but has done so on 10 hits, 3 walks and 2 home runs, so he’s fairly fortunate on that account.

Anderson faced the Red Sox in his first start of the season back on August 8, a game the Jays won 2-1. Anderson held the Red Sox to just a ground ball single by Christian Vazquez, which drove in the only run on the only hit he allowed that day.

Red Sox’ Starter

Rookie left hander Kyle Hart will be making the 3rd start of his young career this evening, being forced into action in a depleted Red Sox rotation. Through 5.2 innings so far this year, Hart has allowed 9 runs (7 earned) on 9 hits, 7 walks and 2 home runs, although he has managed to achieve 9 of his 17 outs via the strikeout.

Breaking down his starts individually, he wasn’t too bad his last time out. He made it 3.2 innings against the Phillies, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits with 5 strikeouts, but it was 4 walks that look bad in that start. His first career start is where the real damage occured, as the Rays really worked him over in his big league debut.

Hart is another soft tossing lefty that the Jays have been fairly familiar with over the last couple weeks. His fastball averages about 89 that he’ll throw with a bit of sink to it, while he mixes in a slider and changeup with the very occasional curveball. The slider has seen the best results so far, accounting for 6 of the 9 punchouts, while his fastball has been hit the hardest.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

After hitting the huge home run that gave the Jays the lead yesterday, Randal Grichuk was removed from the game with some lower back tightness. Given that this was close to injury that kept him out of a few games earlier in the season, I think there’s a chance they’re related, and I also think there’s a chance he’ll miss a few days. If that’s the case, look for Jonathan Davis to be added to the roster from the Alternate Site.

I haven’t heard anything about the timeline for Daniel Vogelbach to be making it to Buffalo, but I would imagine that even if he was there, he’s not starting the game. He seems to be most likely brought in as a bench bat, and when a lefty starts, we can very comfortably say that he’s not starting.

Brandon Drury surprisingly didn’t play yesterday, with Joe Panik getting the start against the lefty instead. If that happens again today, I would expect we’ll be seeing some information about a Drury injury or demotion or something along those lines. There is absolutely no reason Panik should be starting against a lefty, although I’m still not sure why I’m happy to see Drury draw the start instead.

Red Sox’ Lineup

Mitch Moreland is carrying the offense on this team, at least against right handers. On the season, Moreland is hitting .340/.444/.792 over 63 PA, good enough for a 220 wRC+ which places him behind only Juan Soto as the best mark in baseball among players with at least even 30 PA. Luckily for the Jays, Anderson might be the only righty starter the Jays send to the mound in this series.

Outside of Moreland, Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo and Kevin Pillar are the only hitters on the team currently hitting at an above league average clip, with surprising names like J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers currently hitting as shells of their former selves.

Andrew Benintendi, of whom there have been the beginnings of trade rumblings ahead of next Mondays deadline, has been sidelined with a strained rib cage for the last 2 weeks. If the Red Sox are hoping to trade him, he’ll need to get healthy, and it doesn’t seem too likely that will happen in the next week.

Yesterday’s Heroes

Javy Baez went 3-5, knocking out 2 home runs and driving in 3 to pick up the Monster Bat award. He led his Cubs to the 9-3 win over the host Tigers.

Randal Grichuk’s big 3 run home run helped earn him the WPA King title in yesterday’s win over the Rays. His total for the game was .467 WPA.

It was a rough day for starting pitchers yesterday, with nobody going more than 5 innings with fewer than 2 runs, and that’s not usually deserving of a Pitcher of the Day award. So I’ll give the award to Jack Flaherty, who threw 5 shutout innings on just 1 hit and no walks in the Cardinals 9-3 win over the Royals.

Find the Link

Find the link between Mitch Moreland and Josh Hader.